Episode 144: Resisting Your RealityFeb 03, 2022
Byron Katie says that the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. All the stress that we feel is caused by arguing with what is.
In today’s episode, you’ll hear how my brain was making a lot of negative emotion by arguing that this one particular thing shouldn’t have happened.
And yet it did.
And while there is negative emotion associated with that reality, there is so much more of it when I’m holding tight to the thought that reality shouldn’t be the way that it is.
The whole reason I’m telling you about this is to invite you to look at where you’re adding to your pain, adding to your negative emotion by continuing to believe things shouldn’t be the way they are. By resisting what is.
And resistance adds to our pain and adds to our exhaustion.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t work to change things. It’s not a resigned acceptance that it can’t be any different. It means being empowered by not arguing with what is, not wasting energy and time arguing with reality, but using that energy to decide what you will do next.
I want to share 2 skills to help you deal with a reality your brain wants to argue with:
- Get closer - be the explorer. Experience it physically instead of being in the story of it.
- Get farther - be the observer. Watch yourself without trying to change it. Watch yourself be a human in difficulty.
It’s about opening our eyes to the extra pain, exhaustion, and resistance we add when our eyes are screwed up tight and saying what we’re witnessing is wrong. And when we can finally do that and accept what is, we can use our agency to choose differently.
Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.
Hello, podcast universe! Welcome to episode 144 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price. I am so happy to be here with you today, I have so much on my mind and so many things I want to tell you. Lately, I feel like you kind of go through these periods where you just, like, have so many ideas and so many thoughts and so many things that you want to share. And like the struggle, is trying to figure out like what will be most valuable to you right now.
That brings us to today's episode, and today's episode really was born out of like kind of a humbling, painful experience that I had this week. I sort of do feel vulnerable talking about it. It like it was very recent and it was very humbling. But there was also like so much awareness and learning that happened for me and going through it, I kind of tried to talk myself out of sharing this. But I think like like, I know that if I have experienced it and if it's happening in my life, I know that like, it's happening for all of us. I know that my brain is not unique in the things that it tells me that all of our brains work the same way and trying to, like, find what's wrong with us and create pain and suffering for us. And so, my thought is that if there are lessons here for me, they might be useful to you as well.
So, my daughter, as you know, is on a mission. She gets home in like four days. We're like, we're counting down, she's almost home. And earlier this week, I was standing in the shower and I was like, oh my gosh, I probably need to pay tuition for her, right? So, last fall, I had registered her for classes because she's going to start classes up at BYU second term. And so, I had gotten her registered for those classes and then totally forgot about it, like got her registered, and then moved on with my life. So, I'm standing in the shower and I'm like, oh, I probably need to pay tuition. So, I get online and I'm like going through her account and trying to figure out, like, where do I pay and how much do I owe, and all that. And all of a sudden, like I find like this slew of emails, many of them marked urgent, okay? And they're like, hey, tuition deadline is approaching, tuition deadline is approaching urgent. Your tuition is late. We're going to drop you from these classes. Urgent, urgent, urgent. It's like going back a few weeks now, right?
And the subject line for the most recent one was your classes have been dropped. And I'm sitting at my computer like, oh, no. Right? Like, oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, right? Like, my brain is like processing what is happening, and I'm just like resisting it. I'm like, no, this is not happening. And what ensued then was a lot of negative emotion. Like, I was completely sick. I was just so sick about what had happened, and the fact that it shouldn't have happened, and like my brain was just losing it. Now, it might be helpful here to give you a little background, like when your child goes on a mission, as a parent, there really isn't that much for you to do, but the jobs that you do have are critical, okay? And so, one of these jobs is to make sure that they have a life to come home to that, like things are set up in their life, that they're ready to step into that life when they get home. Because while they are on their mission, they don't have access to the internet, or their old emails, or their campus messages, or like she can't even register for her own classes, or log on to the internet, or check her accounts or deadlines, or like all of that.
All of that is out of the scope of her. Like, very specific, like delineated daily activities, right? And so, as the mom, this was my job, right? And in addition to that, the fact is like she's leaving the very structured environment of a mission where you have, like, very purposeful, meaningful, specific work that you do every day and you're coming home to an environment that at first is like, very like open. Like, there isn't a lot to do. There's not a lot of structure. There's a million choices of what you could do with your day, and none of them seem very important, or very desirable, right? And then, you have to decide, and figure out what you're going to do with your time, and how to create like meaning in this new life. And it's stressful.
And it's like she's already confided in me that like, you know, this creates a lot of like turmoil and anxiety when we leave that, that place where we felt so like purposeful, and good at our job, and we're entering into like the unknown, right? And so, if some of these things are set up ahead of time, like, okay I don't know everything, but I do know I have classes, and I do know I'm going do these things. It can make it a little bit easier, right? to know I have some classes, I have an apartment. Like, everything is kind of set up, we can step into some sort of structure, okay?
So, this is where I was, right? My daughter is going to have a difficult enough transition anyway, and I had one job, right? I had one job to make sure that, like they would like, ease the transition just a bit, right? I had one job and I had failed at it. And I know we're only like, you know, three weeks into the year, but I was like, okay for sure, this is the worst day of the year. And I spent that day trying to solve the problem, trying to like, fill out petitions and talk to people, and beg for mercy and help, and a way out. All the time feeling incredibly bad. Incredibly bad, right? Like weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, kind of bad, okay? And I had pretty much like a full day of intense negative emotion. There was shame. There was a lot of shame. There was anxiety. There was fear, right? She's going to come home and I'm like, Welcome home, guess what? There was a whole lot of like anger. Anger at myself. Anger that like, I'm the one, and why? Why can't David help me with this, right? Like, there's surely somebody to blame here? There was a ton of guilt. Like, just like sadness, disappointment. Like so much negative emotion, right?
And as the day went on, and I tried to like, work through the problem and try and solve for it and do all the things that I needed to do, I was just having this really intense, negative emotional experience. And at one point, I sort of like saw myself from a distance like sort of like dropped into that like sort of watcher role. And I noticed that nothing bad was currently happening, like, not technically, right? Like, yes, the classes had been dropped. That has already happened, okay? But nothing currently was actually painful, right? Like, my daughter didn't even know about it. My husband didn't know about it. I was the only one who knew about it. And like so far, her life had not been negatively impacted, which meant that, like so far, neither had mine, right? Like, like on the surface.
Honestly, all of the negative emotion was created because of like thoughts I was having about what had happened, and was going to happen because all being created there in my mind. Nothing bad had actually happened yet. And even more importantly, what I really want you to see for the purposes of this podcast, what you really want to see is that it wasn't the mistake or the negligence and that oversight that was causing all my pain. It was the thought that the mistake shouldn't have happened, right? My brain was standing there arguing with the fact that this terrible thing had happened and it shouldn't have, right?
So, just notice my brain said, listen, if you were a better mother, this wouldn't have happened, right? Like it shouldn't have happened and it did, because you're a terrible mother, right? It told me if you were more on top of things, and less distracted and less selfish and you were paying attention to the things that are most important, this wouldn't have happened right? If David was more aware and he was more helpful and he was more invested in what was happening in our home life. This wouldn't have happened, right? My daughter is going to suffer and she shouldn't have done. None of this should have happened. And she's going to be disappointed. And she wouldn't be if I hadn't let this thing happen. And like these next three months are going to be so much harder than they needed to be so much harder than they should be, right? Like they were already going to be hard and they shouldn't need to be harder. And none of this should have happened, okay?
And what I want you to see is that my brain was making all ton of negative emotion by arguing that what had happened shouldn't have. And yet it had is already done. Like, I know this is not a laughing matter, please don't think I'm taking it lightly, right? But. It's just so interesting to notice that my brain just kept like telling me it shouldn't have happened when it had. And. You know, while there is negative emotion associated with the mistake and with this, my new reality. It's so much worse when I'm arguing that it shouldn't be the way that it is.
And the whole reason I'm telling you this story is to invite you to look at where you are doing the same thing in your life, where you are creating pain and adding to your pain. Adding to your negative emotion by continuing to believe that things shouldn't be the way that they are. By resisting what is by thinking it shouldn't have happened, I am powerless, but when I recognized like this did happen, now what? Right then I am able to step into a place where I can use my agency, where I can make some choices, where I can do some things.
Okay, so Byron Katie talks about this a lot and she talks about how, like the only time that we suffer in our lives really is when we're believing a thought that argues with what is right, when we have a thought about how things should be. And our reality is different. That right, there is what creates our suffering and all of our peace is in the place where we're like, we can accept and agree with what is happening, right? She says that like all the stress we ever feel is caused by arguing with what is by resisting the reality that is in front of us.
Okay so, I want you to think about this in your own life. I want you to notice where you feel the most pain and suffering right now. Where you like feel the most anxiety or stress and ask yourself, where am I resisting? What is where am I saying like this shouldn't be the way that it is? Right, resistance not only adds to our pain and our suffering as Byron Katie says, it also adds to our exhaustion. Like, I've seen this so much lately coming up on social media where people are like, okay, like enough already I am done with this COVID thing, right? Like, like, okay, fine, the last 18 months I've dealt with it or, you know, really, actually the last two years I've dealt with it. But I'm done now, right? I just can't do it anymore like enough. I'm just so tired, right? But what we're really tired of is arguing with the reality. We're tired of arguing and and resisting the fact that our world has changed, that our life has changed, that things have been altered, right?
And arguing that it shouldn't have been that way, whether you know, it's by policy or by dislike the fact that the virus even exists or like we just have like so much resistance to the fact that it's still here and still a problem, okay? And so. We are tired and we are exhausted when we are constantly comparing our reality. You know what actually is to our expectation in the way we think they're supposed to be, right? And what I want to offer you is that your reality is never wrong, right? Like when I open that computer and it said your classes are dropped.
That isn't wrong. our pretend like this is all wrong. Hey, it's exactly right. It is what it is. And when we think that reality should be different, we create pain and frustration and suffering for ourselves. okay, now. I'm not saying that that doesn't mean you can't work to change things. It doesn't mean like we just like, okay, it is what it is and we just like, resign ourselves to what is. This is not about like a resigned acceptance of like my powerlessness.
It's actually totally different. It's stepping into my power by accepting that this is the way that it is. Now what am I going to do? What am I going to think? What am I going to feel? What am I going to do right? It means being empowered by not using my energy to argue with what is and like regret and like if only's right don't spend any time there, but instead using my energy to decide, OK, given this, what is my next choice? What am I going to do next? What am I going to think? What am I going to feel? What am I
going to do?
Okay, now I understand that many of you are facing much more difficult circumstances than like your daughter's classes being dropped, right? Like, like, Oh, what a tragedy, right? But like and you might be tempted to say, like, April, you just don't understand. You just don't know. Like, I just can't be positive about this terrible thing. And I want to offer you that it is not about being positive and like looking for the silver lining and using rose colored glasses, right? All it is about is opening our eyes. To what is and seeing the extra pain we cause ourselves when we argue with that, when we resist that, when like I'm not talking about just putting on rose colored glasses, I'm just asking you to open your eyes.
Hey, and relax into this is what it is now. What do I want to do right? Instead of just like saying everything that you're looking at is wrong, your reality is always right. OK? And so when we accept what is? We aren't in denial that it's hard. We are in denial that it's, you know, difficult and going to be challenging. Like, we're not pretending that it's all amazing, right? We're not denying our our negative experience. What we're doing actually isn't denial. It's allowing. It's accepting. It's acknowledging. It's the opposite of denial when we say it should be different, that's denial, right? So when we accept what is, it's not ignoring of the negative, it's just dropping into the place where you have some power, where you have some choices, where you can use your agency, when we're in resistance to what is like.
There's so few choices we have except saying like this shouldn't be the way that it is. So I think resistance is sort of like a natural response when we're in pain, right? As soon as we're in pain or grief or suffering or late, we have that negative emotion immediately. We want to step into that resistance and push it away and say it shouldn't be this way and like, want to change it? Right? And so I want to give you an example of resistance of pain in a slightly different way so that you can see it like in terms of your emotional pain as well. And like, maybe the the metaphor was sort of like show you where where your power is in your emotional pain. Okay, so right now I'm working on this goal where I'm trying to increase the amount of time that I can walk and climb on a treadmill, 21 percent incline, right? So I'm trying to work my way up to an hour. And then from there I'm going to increase the inclined to like 24 and then 27 percent and then 30 percent. So I'm trying to get stronger by walking for a longer distance at a higher incline.
Now, as I'm doing this, like there is physical pain, right? My legs are burning. I'm out of breath. My back hurts right? And my brain as I'm experiencing that pain. My brain is like sending these alarm bells like something has gone seriously wrong. We shouldn't be in pain, right? And it's like firing and like offering me thoughts that are creating resistance to this pain. My my brain is trying to like, avoid the discomfort, and it's resisting the experience by saying, like by negotiating its way off saying, like, Oh, we should just stop. That's good enough for today, right? It's telling me like, Oh, you're never going to make it anyway, right?
Like, you're just you're not strong enough to be able to do this. It's always encouraging me to, like, slow down or or hold on to the bars or, you know, decrease the incline is always trying to like, talk me out of it because it's in resistance to the pain. It's in resistance to that physical discomfort that I'm feeling. The brain's like, No, no, no, we shouldn't be this uncomfortable. Let's change something, right? And essentially, my brain is saying, like, I reject what life is presenting to me right now.
Hey, it shouldn't be this way. And recently I was listening to somebody who has trained for the same event that I'm working on. And he was saying, like, he just made a little mental switch inside his mind, and every time he has pain instead of like resisting it instead, he says to himself, Oh, where have you been? Right? It's about time you showed up. So, instead of being in resistance to the pain, he welcomes the pain. He acknowledges the pain, he accepts the pain. And he's like, Where have you been?
It's about time, right? And this thought really changed my experience on the treadmill, right? Instead of like resisting the experience I was having. What I tried to do was lean in and welcome it, right? Instead of arguing that I shouldn't be in pain, I decided to explore the pain. What exactly does it feel like? Where is it burning? Like how long, you know, like really getting closer to it? Like isolating it, finding it, noticing this muscle, noticing that muscle.
And just like, notice it's not a denial of the pain, the pain is still there, but instead of like thinking it shouldn't be and resisting it, I'm moving towards it mentally. I'm accepting it, I'm welcoming it almost right. It's like saying, okay, yes, this is hard, and that's okay, right? It hurts. And it's supposed to is so different. Then it hurts. And it shouldn't. And this is like so important to recognize you are going to have so many experiences in your life that are painful and they should be. It's our resistance to that experience that doubles our pain increases. Our pain increases are suffering. You are a human being. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to like, have oversight, right? And other people are going to make mistakes. And that's going to make your life, you know, a little worse, right? And life is painful.
But we make it so much more painful when we think it shouldn't be, when we think it should be different than it is, when we think the experience should be different than it is, right, like Eckhart Tolle. He's always saying, like, how would this be different if I wanted it to be this way? And this question is just like the other day, like I said, when I was having this experience, when I was like, I found out this mistake, I was just like, Well, I don't want it to be this way, right? But I noticed when I asked the question that, like all of my pain was wrapped in not wanting it to be. And it was. It just was a reality, right? And if I wanted it to be that way, I'd be a total peace. And that doesn't mean I have to be, but it means that my pain is caused by my resistance and it's just so good to know the true source of your pain. The true source is your resistance to what is okay.
And I just want you to notice immediately like how much pain relief we get when we don't want it to be different. Like when I'm on the treadmill and it hurts and I don't want it to be different. There's an immediate like mental relief from that. So, I just want to give you here at the end to skills that I think will really help you when your brain wants to argue with your reality. Again, I'm not saying your reality isn't hard, I'm not saying it doesn't create pain. What I'm saying is we increase that pain when we're in resistance to it.
And so, I want to give you a couple of tools that will increase your acceptance and decrease your resistance to it so that you can have less pain in the things that you cannot change, okay? So, the two things that I want to share are going to sound like opposites, but they're both so effective. So, the first thing I already mentioned is to get closer. So, when I say get closer, what I mean is to like, go internally, go to the physical experience as close as possible to the actual physical experience and move away from the mental one, right? So, like when I'm on the treadmill, I go in and try to identify the specific muscles, get close to it, describe it and get close to it physically. Same thing applies to your negative emotion. Like in that moment when I'm feeling shame and anxiousness and fear and all of that like, it's a completely different experience. If I get in my body and experience it physically, I start to notice like, actually, it's not that bad. Physically, it's all happening in my head.
And that like change in perspective can help you accept what is a little bit easier, all right? So, that's the first thing is like, get closer. And by that, I mean, like, make it a physical experience instead of like being up in your head and arguing with it and like catastrophizing it and saying, like how terrible it's going to be, like all of those thoughts that you have. You want to get in physically and recognize, like, right now, I'm fine right now. I'm actually in no physical pain right now. Nothing bad has actually happened, right? Like, it's just good to like, move in close and have it like, get out of your head and get into your body.
The second thing is the opposite, which is get farther and by that, I mean. Instead of being inside your head, I want you to step outside of your head and be the observer of yourself to watch yourself, have the experience of shame without like needing to change it without trying to, like fix it, right? You're just watching yourself. Be a human. Have a difficult human experience. When you step into the watcher role, you again recognize like I am still okay, yes? Like, it's hard to be a human, but I'm still here and I'm still okay. And both by getting closer and by getting farther, this is what you come to, you start to recognize like, okay this is my reality, and it's okay. This is my reality, and I'm okay, right?
And when we truly like can see that perspective, like it's easier to drop into, okay, this is now what I want to do, what do I want to think moving forward? I can't change what is. But I do get to change my experience of it. Do I want to think about it and feel about it differently? Now, I'm not saying that you have to do any of this. You can live with any expectation you want, but I believe that the skill of being able to accept what is love, what is a vital part of our growth, and change while we are here on the Earth while we are alive, right? Like Victor Frankl, who was put in a Nazi concentration camp, he famously said "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." And there are just so many circumstances that we cannot change. Some of them are mistakes that we make, right? Some of them are mistakes that other people make. Some of them are just the result of living in a fallen world where there are accidents and death and disease. But regardless, there are circumstances we cannot change so that we have the challenge of changing ourselves.
And when we recognize that truly, when we are willing to allow what is, then our real choices become available. And the change that we need to make inside reveals itself to us. Wanting things to be different leaves you so powerless because you're trying to make choices in a fantasy world, right? In a world that doesn't exist, you're trying to make choices in a made up world. And in that in that make believe you have no power, you have no agency. And therefore there's also no growth. When we accept what is when we accept our reality, our real choices, the choices we have inside become available. That simply means like I get to decide what I am going to think, what I am going to feel, what I'm going to do. And when you argue with that, when you argue with what is, you're trying to use choices that aren't actually there, that aren't available, that aren't in your sphere of control, they don't exist.
And that's why it feels so terrifying and vulnerable and powerless like I felt this week. Agency isn't doing whatever you want in a perfect world, in a made up world, in a world that meets your expectation, agency is choosing who you are going to be, how you are going to feel, what you are going to do within this reality. And the beautiful thing is that when you accept what is your real choices become apparent, your real power, your real ability to choose your life and your experience becomes apparent. And that is where all the growth happens. I think for, like most of us, honestly, when we think about how our life is supposed to be, how it should be and we look around our reality, like most of us have a lot of reason to be upset.
Okay, because our expectation and our ideas about how it should be like they're not lining up with how life is, how it turns out what our reality is. But listen, you came for the experience of what is not of what should be. You can't possibly know what should be what is is always what we need. And so you can just be so powerful to recognize like I've been arguing with this and saying that like it, it should be different and the different would be better. But how can I possibly know that this life was designed for me? These experiences were designed for me. And what are these experiences here to show me? What is life trying to show me? What is this mistake trying to show me? What is this pain trying to show me? And I think it's always trying to show us our opportunity and power to choose our agency, that's what it always comes down to is our ability to choose our experience. And over and over again, our life is presenting that choice in front of us.
And I just want you to know that I don't tell you this because I don't think it's painful, right? I tell you all of this because I know it is, but it is made more painful when we argue with what is. And there is a certain measure of relief in the thought that things are always the way they're supposed to be. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening, and I'll see you next week.
Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. If you want to take the things I've talked about and apply them in your life so that you can love your Earth life experience. Sign up for a free coaching session at Aprilpricecoaching.com. This is where the real magic happens and your life starts to change forever as your coach. I'll show you that believing your life is 100% awesome is totally available to every one of us. The way things are is not the way things have to stay. And that, my friends is 100% awesome!
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