Path of Least Resistance

There are a myriad of different ways to go about doing anything, but we tend to choose the path that feels the most comfortable. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! In the same way that water finds its own level, I guess we all have our own unique styles of figuring out ways to achieve our goals.

In my case, my kids helped me to see that there isn’t just one prescribed way of accomplishing anything. As a new mother I’d happily assumed that I knew better what was good for them, simply because I had more life experience than they did. I also believed I could see further down the track than they were capable of doing. (I dare say most mothers are guilty of exactly the same thing.)

But that was before I even realized what the path of least resistance was all about.

As a lot of parents do by default, I simply assumed that my kids needed to follow my path of least resistance and not their own path! When they were little, I insisted on a bed time of 8 o’clock. This was pretty much non-negotiable because I truly believed that rest was important and I was keen on them developing good habits. My own childhood had been a little chaotic, with no fun bedtime routines and no enforced bedtime either. I would often end up sleeping later than I probably ought to have and seldom woke up fully refreshed. My path of least resistance therefore, was to chalk out a better routine for my children and guide them to follow it.

They however resisted my carefully structured routine to different degrees. My older son insisted he couldn’t get sleep and I was powerless to dispute that. I slowly began to relax into allowing them some degree of autonomy over the years, rather than insist on them doing something I was convinced was ‘good’ for them. I began to sense that any resistance on their part would most certainly negate any good habits I might’ve been forcibly trying to heap on them.

Needless to say, I now see things a lot differently. I believe there is a River of Life that exists for all of us, that we can choose to go with—or not. I now understand that we go with the flow when we’re satisfied— and we move against the current when we’re not.  There will always be people around us on similar journeys (but of course not at exactly the same point) who will give us a friendly tip or two. It is up to each one of us to consider carefully any advice that comes our way and see if it will serve us, either at that moment or sometime in the future.

While children may often seem uninterested in the things that seem important to us, they really are carving out a path for themselves which to them, is easier and far more satisfying. While it may not yield the results their parents were hoping for in the short term, they are indeed having a more scenic and fulfilled ride.  And as they course down their own path of least resistance they often make a definite contribution to the whole, as in with new inventions or a new way of doing things.

Many of the older generation believe that kids spend too much of time on their devices. I don’t disagree at all with that observation. But I would argue that even whilst they do so, they are in fact picking up valuable skills that can enable them to navigate easily and confidently through a rapidly evolving technological world. Isn’t that simply their path of least resistance—as they move from one satisfied moment to the next?

There is a certain degree of incongruence in expecting children to blindly follow their parents’ ways without question. If that were the case, then nothing would’ve moved past the Stone Age where people rubbed rocks together to light a fire!

Many of our beliefs hinder our journey in the same way that rocks or fallen tree stumps force a river to alter its course. Thoughts of unworthiness, guilt or even a perceived misconception that we may not be good enough, can block the flow for a while.

But in my understanding of how the Universe works (with Law of Attraction as the engine that drives it along) there will always be a path of lesser resistance that opens up to create a manifestation. What I mean is that we, (as consciousness personified) actually attract to ourselves, experiences and rendezvous that move us along the River of Life. While illness, accidents and ‘disasters’ of any kind are definitely the most undesirable of all manifestations they also hold the potential for immense spiritual growth.

With the benefit of hindsight I can now see how my journey through illness was the path of least resistance for me. I attracted a medical condition that was not absolutely life threatening, but was serious enough that I had to stop and take stock of my life and everything that was important to me.  I had always had an insatiable thirst to know more about the purpose of life and how everything fits together. But my curiosity always seemed to take a backseat to my role as a mother, which I took very seriously.  And through a somewhat convoluted path, I managed to find answers to many of the questions I had asked. My new found ‘clarity’ may be old news to many people, but it’s huge for me. And now that I get it, it all seems so simple…

I know my viewpoint will seem incredulous if not outrageous to a lot of people and I certainly don’t expect everyone to buy into my philosophy. But l do feel inspired to share my insights because there may be someone on a journey close enough to mine who can hear what I have to say, use it if it resonates, or store it for later.

I’m okay with that … because after all, there isn’t only one prescribed way of doing anything. At the end of the day all of us get to choose which path we take.

 

© 2018 G.A.I.L

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Bending Reality

I’ve been brought up to tell the truth and I dare say I’ve always done a fantastic job. But now that I think of it, the ‘truth’ could always do with a little bit of whitewashing now and then.

People call this a white lie and any self-righteous person will recoil at the very idea of making peace with something so horribly taboo.

I’m beginning to think there are occasions when reality can be bent just a little bit, especially when the situation demands it. It’s easy to overlook the incredible power that a simple stroke of whitewash can give, in mitigating a bad situation and soothing it into a better place. What’s even better is that it accomplishes far more than a bucket load of explanation!

One perfect example of this is when I was a little kid—probably around five years old or so. I can’t remember exactly how, but I’d just come upon the realization that death was inevitable.

I was totally shocked to know that I too was doomed to die some day and I simply could not bear the thought.

I can still recall that feeling of panic rising in me as I confronted my mother about this.

“You mean all of us die?” I asked, quite horrified.

“Yes,” she replied, taking the time to sit me down and explain quite seriously that that was just how it was.

“But I don’t want to die,” I whimpered desperately.

Young as I was, I was fully aware of the concern in my mother’s eyes as she seemed to understand my fear, yet felt justifiably bound by parental responsibility.

“But we all have to die,” she explained patiently, watching with a tinge of sadness as I crumbled before her very eyes.

There and then you see, my world was shattered!

Up till then I’d been pretty sure that my mum could fix any problem—and here she was, admitting that she was powerless to save my life!

Most sensible people will agree that my mum’s response was very reasonable indeed.

I on the other hand, believe that a ‘white lie’ here would’ve been totally justified.

In my opinion it would’ve been that soft cushion of hope that had the power to soothe a childhood fear and pave the way to accepting the inevitable at a more suitable time.

My own response as a mother would’ve been totally different. (In fact I’d been waiting patiently all these years for my own kids to come along and ask me the same question, but unfortunately they never did, lol.)

I’d have said, “Yes I too have heard that we all die, but I’m not sure that has to be the case for everyone.”

I’d wait for that to sink in before I continued quite matter-of-factly, “I’ll just tell God that you don’t want to die …and you won’t have to, alright?”

I’m sure any mother could’ve gotten away with this, because especially at the age of five, mothers mean the world to their kids—mine certainly did! Of course everything changes with the onset of the teen years, when almost anything a parent says seems downright ridiculous—but that’s a different story.

People make too much of a deal about ‘always speaking the truth’.  Because when you think about it, the story of Santa Claus is the jolliest white lie ever told!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Missed Interpretation

I was off to visit a friend with my sister-in-law, and asked my older son (who was around three at the time), if he’d like to come along.

‘I’m going to see Myrtle,’ I said. ‘Would you like to come?’ He had no idea who this person was and my invitation was very casual. He’d been busy playing with his favourite uncle and I seriously didn’t think he’d want to interrupt that, for a visit with one of my friends. But he came along very readily which surprised me, and I couldn’t help feeling a little pleased that he chose me over his fun uncle.

When we reached, Myrtle was pleased to see us and ushered us in.

My son however was rooted at the doorway, staring down at a spot on the floor, a look of expectation on his face. ‘Where’s Myrtle?’ he asked looking around hopefully.

‘Here,’ I said, indicating Myrtle, who was amused because she guessed he was confused since he hadn’t met her before.

The look of hope on his face was being replaced quickly by disappointment and suddenly I had a flash of insight that made me chuckle.

He had interpreted Myrtle as ‘turtle‘ and was expecting to see one he could actually play with! (We had been to the aquarium a few times before and had seen plenty of turtles there.)

Fortunately for us, he handled his disappointment well and I didn’t have to confess this innocent misunderstanding to Myrtle. But I did explain it to him on the way home and he seemed to understand the subtle difference in sound that had made such a big difference to him.

I think of this incident often when I realise that people often hear one thing and interpret it as something quite different, based on what is currently active in their lives at the time.

I guess all of us can see only through the lens of our own perspective. That’s the same reason why eyewitness accounts are similar, but never exactly the same. Everyone reports a different aspect of the same situation. We choose to see different aspects according to what’s going on vibrationally within us.

For example if we’re feeling vulnerable for whatever reason, any idle comment can very easily be perceived as something totally different from what may have been intended.

Law of Attraction which is always operating in the background tends to offer thoughts of similar vibrational frequency, which only adds momentum to a thought.

Very soon a small little negative thought can end up into a deep rooted belief that actually creates a totally different point of attraction.

I think it’s always a good idea to take sticky subjects with a ‘pinch of salt’ so to speak and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. This can prevent a situation from getting into a potentially negative spiral which can often spin out of control.

I used to get pretty bummed out when people did not respond to any well meaning overture of mine – be it a mail, a message or anything in between. I’d often interpret this as them not ‘caring’.

I finally had to invest in that proverbial ‘pinch of salt’ and convince myself that everyone’s outlook (or interests) are not always the same as mine and don’t have to be.

I’ve given myself permission to be who I ‘be ‘ and let them be who they ‘be’.

And the best part is that I don’t ever need to tell them that Myrtle never really was a turtle! 😉

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Finding Resonance

I have no quarrel with people who think blogging about philosophy is a waste of time. After all, why waste time ‘thinking’ when you could just as easily live life and enjoy every moment for what it’s worth?

I agree completely.

But what about people like me who actually thrive on figuring out the pieces to the puzzle? Philosophy like everything else need not be everybody’s cup of tea. But it certainly is mine 😉

I guess I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity to know how life works. I honestly get a thrill every time I resonate with a thought or an idea someone else may have figured out before I did.

Dr. Wayne Dyer is one person whose philosophy has always struck a chord with me. He has shaped my thinking over the years with his various books and really expanded my understanding. One of his favorite quotes was “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”. What an interesting concept, that has the potential to yield such amazing results!

Perhaps each philosophy I resonate with is something I may have subconsciously suspected, which suddenly makes total sense when I came across it and makes me feel connected in a way I cannot explain.

Sometimes I’m faced with a question to which I have no immediate answer. For instance, the other day a good friend asked me what might be the end result I hoped to achieve by starting this blog. Besides my hope of finding resonance with other people who are reaching for the same understanding as I am, I could think of nothing.

And while this question was still brewing in my mind I came upon a quote by Maya Angelou (literally within a few hours) which left me quite startled.

Her words were, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” This was a perfectly accurate description of how I see myself, yet her words said it far more succinctly than I could at the time. My blog is simply a reflection of that feeling.

I’m a great example of someone who’s not perfect, but who thinks that life is! We get to enjoy the perfection of this universe any way we choose.

Far from feeling cheated about my illness, I found that my innate desire to know about life sent me on a journey of self-discovery. My illness was simply the catalyst that propelled me forward.

I stumbled upon something I never even knew existed until then—i.e. Law of Attraction, which I’m discovering is very real and very consistent. I also realized that I was never going to be content with just surviving, but actually thriving!

I thought it was a remarkable coincidence to come upon Maya Angelou’s quote at that time.
Coincidences as we see them are incidents that come together, in a seemingly random fashion. But are they really all that random?

I truly believe in the theory that every thought that has ever been thought still exists in a cyberspace of sorts. Law of Attraction simply organizes the rendezvous with these thoughts when our asking is strong and we have no resistance to receiving the answer.

My unspoken question (to the Universe) about my purpose in blogging attracted to me an answer that filled in the blank for me.

I do not consciously intend filling in anyone’s blanks for them. I’d rather just put my thoughts out there for anyone to use when the moment is right. And I don’t have to be the one to choose that moment for them. Law of Attraction will take care of that!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Empathy and beyond

Many years ago when my older son was around four, we happened to be at a ferry crossing in India. As we stood in line with the other passengers, waiting to go down the ramp into the ferry boat, I noticed a disabled man on a little cart almost at floor level.

His legs may have been paralyzed and I felt sorry that he must not have been able up afford a proper wheelchair. The gadget he was using was simple yet functional (much like a skateboard) enabling him to move, as he used his palms against the ground to propel himself forward.

While I felt sorry that he was forced to commute like this I could not help but admire his resilience in seeking to be independent in his own way.

I am usually hesitant to give alms to just any beggar on the street because there are many who pretend to be disabled when they really are not. But there was no doubt in my mind that this person was definitely genuine. I hurriedly fished in my purse for any change I could find.

Probably thinking this was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate empathy in action, I handed the coins to my son and asked him to give them to the man, explaining that we’d be helping him.

As we approached the man and my son reached out to give him the coins, I caught the man’s eye and for a split second I was confused. He looked at me with utmost kindness and shook his head ever so slightly.

In that moment I realized something that simply hadn’t occurred to me before – and I kicked myself that it had not struck me earlier. He was disabled for sure, but certainly not needy!

Because he was on a rundown looking cart and dressed in humble clothes I had assumed he was a beggar. I had incorrectly surmised that he could not afford a wheelchair. After all, who would choose to brush their palms against the ground when they could move in the comfort of a properly designed mobility device?

In that brief unspoken moment when our eyes met, something indefinable happened. I found myself humbled by the fact that he understood my intentions, yet held no grudge that he had been so completely misunderstood.

I think of this incident often these days when I am in the midst of doing something very ably with my left hand. Then someone will come along and offer to complete my chore, obviously assuming they can do it better because unlike me they have the use of both hands.

I try not to feel irked because I’d rather they appreciate my ‘ability’ rather than assume that my apparent disability is somehow limiting. But then part of me understands that they are coming from a place of caring – even though they are probably just as clueless as I was then.

I guess we all live and learn … and grow, through every little experience.

© 2018 G.A.I.L

A Matter of Perspective

A matter of perspective

I’ve always been fascinated with how different people see things so differently.

I used to think there was one absolute ‘Right’ or one absolute ‘Wrong’ for everything. I probably had been conditioned into believing that there was some kind of straight and narrow path that I needed to tread, if I were to live a satisfactory life. And religion certainly had reinforced that need for compliance.

Something never quite added up for me, though. I often noticed that in any argument I ever witnessed (small or large), both parties usually seemed to have a valid point that I could understand clearly, and empathize with as well.

Well-meaning as I often was, I would eagerly try to explain to each one why the other may have chosen to act the way they did. It seemed crystal clear to me, but my explanations did nothing to convince anyone of anything.

And slowly something began to dawn on me that I later realized, was quite important. While I certainly understood ‘perspective’ I had not factored in something else. It was simply, the right to ‘perspective’ that each of us has.

People are generally pretty much convinced they are right – and of course they always are, from their own perspective. I could soothe, pacify or try to explain as much as I could, but my explanations would always be doomed to fall on deaf ears. That’s when I realized it would probably be better for me to stop advising anyone of anything and allow them to tune in to their own perspective —or not!

Don’t we all have a choice in every moment? We can be content in our perspective—or we can whip up a flurry of angst, trying to convince everyone else of our point of view.

Of course there will be plenty who claim the other does not have an open mind. But aren’t those the same people desperately breaking all boundaries just to make everyone agree with their perspective? And often, they’re the most unhappy ones.

As for me, I have come into my own understanding that suits me just fine. I choose to ‘be happy’, rather than ‘be right’—which often means taking into consideration what the other is saying, and then working that into my own comfort zone.

And the virtuous ones will condemn me. And of course they’ll be ‘right’ in their perspective. But the question is: Will they be happy?

I suspect not, because condemnation and true happiness can never truly co-exist.

 

© 2018 G.A.I.L