The Best Surprise Isn’t What You Think (or Maybe It Is)


Day 12: #Trust30 Project

I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s hard for me to surprise myself. I know all my tricks so well. Many areas of life are patterned on the behavior of playing some form of a mind game, like “I’m better than you because [fill in the blank]” or “I’ll pretend to be the person I think you want me to be” or “If this wasn’t happening right now, then I would be okay.” Whatever the game, the basic premise is founded on the idea that you can’t lose if you don’t play, but you can’t win either, so you might as well play. Life isn’t really about winning or losing, it’s about being. Sometimes everything seems wonderful, when suddenly your cat dies, you get sick, your wife cheats and you get laid off. What really matters is how you handle these situations when they come up for you. If you spend your energy focusing on resisting every “bad” thing going on in your life, you’re creating the circumstances for that situation to get bigger and bigger, until it’s so unavoidable you will be forced to deal with it. Which is a pretty dramatic and exhausting way to live.

I choose acceptance. By accepting my circumstances exactly as they are right now, I create the possibility for an outcome I could not have imagined otherwise. In a former life I performed quite a bit of improv and sketch comedy, there were a few fundamentals to building the foundation of a successful scene between two or more people. The first rule is to say “Yes, and…” to the circumstances presented to you. So, if my partner says, “Ride your horse to the sheriff and get help for Dusty Bottoms,” I know I’m riding a horse, not sitting on a chair or sweeping the floor. If I’m really paying attention, I know my partner is a fan of Three Amigos, so now I’m free to add a few movie references to heighten the scene like introducing their famous hip-slapping, head-turning, pelvic-thrusting calling card before jumping on my horse and going for the sheriff. But if I say, “That’s not a horse, it’s my pet aardvark,” not only am I killing the momentum of the scene, I’m being weird for the sake of being weird. But this is exactly what people do in their lives all the time. Life isn’t just happening to you, it changes based on how you choose to be with the situations that arise. That doesn’t mean only good things will happen, but you will be inclined to handle whatever it is with a lot less drama, if you accept that it’s happening in the first place. And that’s the best surprise of all.

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