I see people looking at the state of their life, or the state of “the world” and I see how easily they become overwhelmed or frustrated or hopeless or withdrawn or disenchanted or enraged by what they see. They carry chips, or blocks, or mountains on their shoulders and whether they know it or not, I see how it weighs on them, grips them, sometimes crushes them.
I used to feel crushed too, by what felt like a lot of things. And then I saw something else, and it was like taking off a winter coat three sizes too small because I realized it was summer and the coat didn’t fit any way. That is to say that to stop worrying was just the obvious thing to do.
I want to share with you how it is that I no longer carry worry, in hopes that you see something for yourself.
I’ll start by saying that I see plenty of things in my life and in the world that I don’t like to varying degrees, from mild bother to gut wrenched, but I also see something entirely different now about where solutions come from. At it's core, it's so incredibly simple, that the hope it brings me lifts the worry and reveals opportunities and possibility, and a front row seat to watch evolution unfold. Allow me to explain.
Sometimes I know a thing looks broken purely because of the way I am seeing it, and so I have an opportunity to see it new, fresh. And once I do – it’s no longer broken. The added bonus is that through the process I evolve into something a little or a lot more than I was before.
As an example, my mother’s Alzheimers comes to mind. Once, the disease made her look broken, which broke my heart with it. My mind was focused on the woman I knew before, or the woman I thought she could have been, and I would compare her to the woman I see now. The comparison hurt (and still does when my mind wonders off to make it).
With fresh eyes though, I see the most important part of her will always remain, and instead of seeing that the disease is taking her away, I see it as giving me a new person to learn about, to discover, to love, to care for. While I would absolutely choose something different for her if I could, I know I can’t. But she no longer looks broken to me, and through this I have learned of a more profound love and acceptance.
Not everything is fixed with a perspective change however. Sometimes it seems to me that something looks broken because its time has come, and the problems are life’s way of letting us know that it will no longer support it, it is time to adjust. (Much like my old Macbook laptop. After many years, it just wore out and all the upgrades, updates and work arounds in the world couldn't make it useful.) When faced with this, we have the opportunity to bring something brand new into the world, to evolve our own systems and styles and lives (personal or global).
Too often however, we keep our focus on the broken thing. Complaining about it, cursing it, blaming it for all our problems. We either resort to giving it the finger and giving up on it entirely, or we try to fix it with Band-Aids or patches or stitches or fresh coats of paint. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, discussing and arguing over the right or wrong fixes, making the work slow and painful, or stalled entirely.
What we miss is that if you spend all of your time and energy looking at the broken thing, the broken thing is all you will see. Not only will that begin to weigh heavily on you, there will be no room left to see something new, which could make the broken thing obsolete. Evolution only ever comes about when something new is realized and life says, “ah yes, this is better.” That’s hard to come by if we do not let the new thing through.
My health care comes to mind. I no longer have health insurance. The health insurance industry looks all kinds of complicated and broken to me and the idea of fixing it seemed daunting at best, and more like hopeless.
And so I joined a health share. A group of people stopped looking at the health insurance industry entirely and created something else instead. In essence, a large group of us pool our money, and if one of us has medical needs, the group pays directly. Simple as that. I love it and it has worked wonderfully for me. I have no idea if this is the solution for everyone, but I do know that this is what happens when you stop focusing on what does not work, and instead look for something new - new solutions and options will arise.
The thing about we humans, that we often forget, is that we have the ability to come up with infinite new ideas. If we let ourselves be, we are literal idea factories. If one idea doesn’t work, hell, if 100 don’t work, out of infinite, that’s kind of irrelevant.
This is why I spend relatively little time in worry, stress or strain about my life, or the world around me. I know as clear as day that a fresh perspective and/or a new idea can solve literally anything, and those things come as quickly as thought changes – which I’ve never measured, but I’m pretty sure is really, super fast.
Understanding this has given me a different kind of leverage on life. And this is the leverage I seek to give my clients - to help them see problems as fluid, rather than solid, for their own benefit, and the world’s.
It seems to me that problems only ever exist at the edge of our own ability to see something new, but our capacity for newness is infinite. Helping people understand what that edge is, and what moves us past it into the new, is where all the solutions reside. Which leaves an interesting thing to ponder... if you know where all the solutions live, are problems ever really problematic?