We’ve all heard the common adage that “It is what it is,” telling us that whatever is happening is simply the reality of the current experience. But that’s not the whole truth. The Now Effect adds, “It is what it is, while it is.” This speaks to a larger reality that whatever is here is also impermanent. This saying can enrich our lives, helping us move through the difficult times with more grace and also illuminating what’s precious in life before we miss it.
If there are two things we can count on in life besides death and taxes, it’s stress and pain. Stress and pain often manifest as difficult emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, shame, and guilt, among others. When these emotions come up the brain says, “Yikes, how do we fix this” and looks to the past to anticipate the future. Jerry Duvinsky, Ph.D is a Psychologist who wrote a recent book called How To Lose Control And Gain Emotional Freedom: Embracing the “Dark” Emotions Through Integrative Mindful Exposure, based on how to work with these challenging feelings that visit us day in and day out.
In the book he says:
Many of us grew up reading Dr. Seuss. If you have kids, you’ve likely relived your childhood reading over his books only to find, “Wow, there’s some real wisdom in these books.” One book that has grown on me over time as an adult is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It brings you through all the experiences in life: the triumphs, the doubts, the confusions, the depressions, the fearful moments and the moments you stare your difficulties in the face and overcome them.
There are also several other notable books: Yertle the Turtle, Horton Hears a Who, The Lorax. The list is endless.
Here are 7 Life Lessons from Dr. Seuss:
It may be the single most beneficial thing for your brain in terms of learning, mood and memory says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. I’m talking about exercise. But we also know that compassion, the act of which is altruism, are adaptive in terms of stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction, and great predictors of health and well-being. So why not marry the two?
The Dalai Lama, having had a life of reflection, comes up with some fairly wise quotes. One of them is:
“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”
It helps to have that reflective time, but as you well know in today’s day and age, that reflective time is shrinking. We used to have reflective time while waiting in line, traveling home from work, waiting for the airplane to board, waiting for the fish to bite, or even taking our private time in the bathroom.
But now there’s always something to fill our time, any chance we get where there’s a space of waiting, we whip out our digital devices and check.
Even if we read a wise quote from someone like the Dalai Lama, odds are another notification is quick to follow so the process of self-reflection doesn’t last very long. In the past we wrote letters to one another where we had to take time and reflect or even when we read the letters we would stop and reflect on them. Nowadays with the quick texts, chats, and emails we hardly have time for the same reflection. This is the argument of Sherry Turkle, professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT and the founder
Did you know that Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. at earlier points in their lives attempted suicide? How can it be that two of the most compassionate people on the planet endured such suffering in their lives? One answer has to be that perhaps there is actually an upside to suffering.
A good friend recently told me an equation that went like this:
Pain + Mindfulness = Compassion
What does this mean? When we intentionally bring a warm awareness to our pain and put aside our lenses of judgment that the pain itself is bad, alchemy occurs that turns the experience into something entirely different. It is the experience of belonging, being cared for, of being loved. This is self-compassion.
Today the Daily Now Moment I received was titled “Compausion”& said:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Dalai Lama
Compassion is being able to step into someone else’s shoes and inclining the mind toward wanting to help. Try bringing compassion to yourself or to another today, or revisit the week of compassion in earlier Daily Now Moments.
Bring this into your life and see what you notice.
“Compausion” is a play on words to describe the process of developing compassion. It involves first pausing and then inclining our hearts either toward ourselves or another. This is an essential approach to healing whether the struggle is with stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, trauma, addiction, parenting, grief, or simply to be a better human being.
Science and the wisdom of the ages both agree that one of the keys to being happy is to keep things fresh in life to get in touch with novelty. For a long time I’ve been a morning cup of coffee kind of guy, but to shake things up a bit I decided to switch to tea. On a recent walk, I passed by a café that I’ve stopped into in the past for a cup of coffee and in that moment I learned a valuable lesson that unveiled a key to kicking bad habits.