I once attended a personal growth seminar where we did an exercise. Everyone was seated on the floor with eyes closed and hands moving together and then apart. Back and forth, back and forth. Hands together, hands apart. Pretty soon, people started making up stories in their heads about what the exercise was supposed to be about and started trying to control the experience, perhaps taking someone else's hand or singing a song. The facilitators would quiet any noise but otherwise let the exercise go on. Eventually, they started tapping people on the shoulder and leading them to the edge of the room where the seats were. The exercise lasted for probably an hour before the facilitators stopped it and then started a discussion about what had happened, what each person's experience was, what we might have learned.
The basic point was surrender. The people who surrendered - didn't try to control, accepted a hand but didn't reach out a hand - were the ones who were taken to the outside of the room.
Surrender is not about allowing others to run us down or giving in when we may be in danger. Surrender is about accepting what is. We can only control our own thoughts, words and actions. We cannot control those of another person, nor can we control things like the weather. How often have you planned to do something and someone or something got in the way of your plans? Did you get frustrated or just accept the change with grace?
I believe this is a life long lesson. We can get better at accepting the present but there will likely always be days we lose our patience. I have found the more I allow life to be what it is and accept the flow, the more peaceful I feel.
I work from home. My schedule is my own. It is both a freedom and a burden. It is very easy to let things slide and do only those things I have to. I have often gotten frustrated with myself for my lack of progress on goals. Recently I started putting some structure into my day. Its fluid, but its a basic outline so I accomplish those things that are important to me. Today was off on every count. Somehow, time just slipped away. There were lots of unexpected interruptions. I had to change in the moment. And, I thought of that exercise. Hands together, hands apart, surrender to what is.
Yesterday, I wasn't so graceful. I was mumbling and swearing under my breath when life "got in the way" of what I was doing. It took me about 30 minutes to realize I was creating my own bad day by my own thinking. It really is an inside job. We can choose. Choose whether to get frustrated or whether to stop, breath and think about how we want to react to what is in front of us.
If you find you are frustrated a lot of the time, I encourage you to consider what the frustration is about. Is it frustration with yourself or with the world around you? If its with yourself, what changes do you need to make? If it's not something you can directly impact, try taking a deep breath and just surrender. How can you adjust your own thoughts, words or actions to what is happening and create a positive outcome. Its work, but its worth it.