Six years ago I was sitting at work feeling quite disillusioned by everything. I’d only worked at the company for 2 months and in that time, my boss, and his boss had both quit. Then that morning they announced that the Director of Sales & Marketing was being made redundant and that they would begin a re-structure of the whole company over the next 6 months.
My heart sank. I had a feeling of emptiness within.
And I remember distinctly having this feeling of apathy.
This was the third time I’d been in this situation over the past 5 years.
I began to question everything.
The situation felt pointless, and I felt like I was wasting my valuable life, sitting around waiting for decisions to be made.
And truly, I had also lost the passion for the work. Not only was what I was spending most of my days doing not connected to my values, it was quite frankly jarring directly against them.
I felt sick in the stomach.
As I was sitting in this place of self pity, mixed with shock, numbness & disillusionment, a colleague saw me and said ‘Just go with the flow Claire, just ride the wave’.
Straight away I felt irritated. I had all the ‘poor me’, victim stories swimming around in my head.
But then, in that moment I felt some ‘space’ around my reaction.
This struck me as a piece of wisdom worth listening to.
It sounded like a nice feeling – to just let go and allow whatever was happening around me to occur, without my commentary or judgement or labelling around it.
So in that moment I decided to give it a go. I allowed the situation to happen without trying to resist it, fight it, argue against it.
I watched it unfold without emotion,
Because ultimately, what was that stressful thought doing? Making me tense, frustrated and unhappy and I couldn’t change it anyway.
So I stopped and asked myself if I wanted to feel this way?
And you bet, I didn’t.
I realised that if I changed my state, then I’d be a lot more relaxed and happy.
I realised in that moment that I had the ability to control how I felt.
This epiphany changed everything for me while I was in that contract role. I was no longer attached, I was no longer caught up in the drama. I felt free.
But I also wasn’t feeling apathy or laziness in the situation. I did my work and then just allowed the external drama to wash over me. I was no longer affected by it.
In the yoga sutras (yogic philosophy text) Patanjali discusses aparigraha – non-attachment and santosha –contentment, and in the 10 tenets of mindfulness Jon Kabat Zinn talks to acceptanceand letting go as ways to bring more peace to the mind.
I’ve delved into these teachings over the past 5 years and they have profoundly impacted the way that I live today. By becoming more mindful and aware of my tendencies to judge, to resist circumstances, negative thoughts and my need to control, has not only been enlightening, it has also enabled me to gain clarity over what’s most important.
And to me inner peace and calm is high on the priority list of my top values. If I can continue to return to this place within, then I know that life flows much more smoothly.
And, I think that if we get completely honest with ourselves, we all crave more of that. Being content with how things are, not trying to change or control them, but finding a sense of happiness and joy within, no matter what is happening around us.
So what are you fighting against in your life? What are you judging?
If we can be really honest with ourselves about the things that bring us stress and bring awareness to them, with a lens of kindness and gentleness, then we can begin to make some changes that serve us better and the people around us. Whilst it’s not an overnight fix, it is completely achievable.
This is when transformation happens. It’s an inside job.
I believe that by continuing to understand ourselves, our reactions and the associated outcomes to certain situations, then we will be in a position to begin to change our role in them.
This is something I work with my clients on, helping them to establish this way of being in their own lives, so that they have more time and energy for things that they most care about.
If you want to know more about 1:1 coaching, or upcoming events, then head to www.claire-bradshaw.com