Mastering What Is

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I was a bit of a prankster in college. Okay, I was big prankster in college.

One of my favorite tricks was to cram pennies into the doorjamb of my friends’ rooms while they were inside. The pressure created by the pennies prevented the door from being opened, locking my victims, I mean my friends, inside their own rooms. It was hilarious! I’m still laughing just thinking about it…

But there is a universal truth on display in that prank. Pressure holds things in place, rendering them unmovable. Think of a tension rod or Roman arches. Or pennies in a doorjamb. And what is true in the material world is true in the immaterial world. Psychiatrist Carl Jung insightfully concluded, “What we resist persists.”  It is the resistance to particular things in our lives that actually keeps them in place.

Accepting what is gives us access to create what isn’t.

“What Is” in our lives is simply what’s happening or not happening, what’s there or not there; results of our choices or things outside our control.  We experience what is either through acceptance or resistance.  It’s pretty normal to easily accept what we like and fiercely resist what we don’t like.  But it’s in resisting what we don’t like that we actively keep it right where we don’t want it.  Consider this paradox:

  • Accepting what is gives us access to the needed power and space to create what isn’t. Resisting what is blocks that access and keeps us powerless to create anything new because we’re tied to the old.
  • Accepting what is frees us to create something else. Resisting what is has us bound to keep creating what we already have.
  • Acceptance directs our energy into leveraging a situation. Resistance delivers our energy over to it.
  • Acceptance gives us mastery and authority over what is. Resistance makes us a slave to it.
  • Acceptance opens up room to work the situation to our advantage. Resistance keeps us stuck and working for the situation.

You can leverage “what is” instead of resisting it and so gain the advantage.

The art of Judo is an awesome example of the advantage in acceptance. In Judo, when your opponent pushes, you are instructed to pull. And when your opponent pulls, you should push. In this way, you leverage “what is” instead of resisting it and so gain the advantage. Try this push/pull with someone, but don’t tell them what you’re doing; it’s pretty fun to experience what happens.

That unexpected, unfair, sucky layoff was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I had a very personal lesson in this when I was abruptly and unexpectedly laid off several years back. I was shocked. It sucked. It was unfair. But with the guidance of a wise friend, I decided to move with it instead of against it. And like the Israelites pillaging the Egyptians on their way out of town, I asked my employer for WAY more than they were legally required to offer me. They said yes; maybe it was out of guilt but I really didn’t care.

I was able to go to school full-time as well as support myself while I looked for a new work that I would love. I was able to slow down and listen to God in a whole new way that healed areas of my life I’d been too busy to notice were still hurting.  And with the new job came the support and connections I would later need to work internationally—support and connections that I didn’t have with the job I was laid off from. That unexpected, unfair, sucky layoff was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And by accepting it, I was freed up to recognize and experience the opportunities it presented.

It’s just our story about what’s happening that we’re resisting anyway.

I have found that many of us are living in continual resistance to what is happening in our lives. Here’s the thing, we don’t have to like it or agree with it in order to accept it. And really, it’s just our story about what’s happening that we’re resisting anyway. Through accepting the reality in front of us, we can give up our story about what is, and about what isn’t, and access real freedom to choose what we will create from there.

So I invite you to identify a place in your life where you are locked in resistance.  Something unfair, unlikable and/or uncontrollable.  How would that situation in your work, marriage, health, friendships, or finances look through the lens of acceptance instead?  I’m not saying you should accept it, just asking you to consider what could be possible if you did.  What new possibility opens up from that perspective?  What do you see?

Be Great!


Becky Henderson
Becky Henderson
I am a catalyst to uncover the blocks and barriers getting in your way of creating the life you desire. Together we can transform the obstacles into opportunities. I listen to what you say…and what you do not say. Similar to a mirror, I show you what you cannot see on your own right now, and tell you what is necessary to create the results you are looking for. I value who you are and where you want to go in life.
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