The year 2020 has been filled with terror and heartbreak. It's been wild because it appears that almost everyone is constantly surrounded by it in some form or another. It's not even just the select few. It's everywhere. I know people that have been struggling to pay their rent; lost their jobs; been hospitalized with COVID. They're feeling paralyzed because of the resistance they're experiencing.
This temporary paralysis is normal. It's a reaction to fear and confusion. When things go wrong, resistance will automatically pop up. Eckhart Tolle stated simply that "Resistance is the mind." The mind has a tendency to identify with the thing that went wrong. If we lose a job, it tells us that we "are" jobless. If it causes us to deplete our savings account or charge up a credit card, it says that we "are" broke.
Stop the Racing Mind
The first step is to stop and recognize the racing mind. Watch it. It's very difficult for the mind to keep going if you call attention to what it's doing.
Accept the Moment
Despite what rhetoric your mind is feeding you, you are not a broken person. You may not like the current state of your credit card debt. You might not like the size of your bank account. You might have been furloughed or even lost your job entirely. This situation is temporary. It's like wearing a sweater. At this moment you are wearing a sweater. The sweater is not your identity. If you can somehow manage to accept that this situation is a momentary blip within the span of your life you can accomplish something powerful. You can disassociate from it; remove it from your identity. Some people spend their whole lives identifying as "poor" or "broke" or "indebted." The moment you separate these things from your identity is the moment you regain your power.
In The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle uses an example about a person being stuck in the mud. He goes on to point out that you wouldn't just resign yourself to being stuck in the mud. Now what you would do, is recognize that you are temporarily stuck in the mud. You would also probably recognize that you don't really want to be there. Where are you now? Are you somewhere that you'd rather not be? Have you found yourself running from a mountain of debt? Working in job that you don't like? Just recognize that you are in this place at this moment in time. Don't judge it. If you judge it you create resistance. It is only from accepting the fact that you are in this place can you make a plan to get out of it.
Once you recognize where you are currently; accept that it is your temporary truth, and cease to judge it, you should feel much freer. Once this feeling of liberation comes, it will open the door of inspiration. You likely will find yourself have little ideas coming into your mind; little inspirations if you will. They will poke at you and prod you until you find yourself compelled to act on them. It won't even really feel like hard work because you will really want to be doing the action. There will be something that inspires you to do it. This is inspired action.
I have historically had a tumultuous relationship with full-time employment. Until the age of 28, I had only had part-time positions. I would have multiple jobs at once, but none of them were full time. I loved the variety and freedom. At the age of 28, I became inspired to apply for (and accept) a full-time job. Literally one month later, in 2008, the stock market crashed. I was so grateful to myself because I listened to this little voice that inspired me to become employed on a full-time basis. In fact, while I've changed companies, states, and positions, I have worked full time pretty much ever since. In recent years, I've really started longing for the freedom I felt when I worked on a more part-time basis. When you notice these kinds of feelings, you are standing at a fork in the road. One path leads to misery. That is the path of judgment and identification with the situation. The other path is the one I choose. I watch the feeling. By recognizing it, I stop the mind from racing. I accept that in this season of life, this is what I am doing. It is not who I am. It is my current circumstance, and it is what is happening now. In doing this, I have already set myself free. I can literally enjoy every day because I know that I am here temporarily. It's like my life is a cruise vacation. I am at this port for a time, and then I will float on. How wonderful is that? Once, I moved myself into this mental space, such wonderful things started to happen for me.
I have been finding myself inspired to take a number of actions over the past few years. I felt inspired to use the Roth 401K plan offered by my employer. Every few months, I felt inspired to inch up my contribution rate. I started at 5% and have wiggled it up to 20%. I felt inspired to save money. That one was so simple, but I just liked transferring money into our joint savings account as well as my solo account. So, we keep doing that. Now, we're prepared to go shopping for a Condo/Coop whenever we feel inspired to do so (haven't felt that quite yet, but we're prepared for it). I felt inspired to create a plan to pay off our rental, and start my own business. Both of these plans are underway.
When I step back and look at what my inspired actions have lead to, I realize that they lead me to hitting my CoastFI number in just over two years. At that point, if I want to work part-time only again, I will. What's even more beautiful is that I really love my life, even the parts that are difficult because I recognize that they are all temporary components. Eckhart Tolle spoke about realizing that you're stuck in the mud. I can't help but wonder if we might really come to appreciate the mud once we realize that it's only temporary.
The real question is: Where are you right now? Can you work through this process to find your ultimate freedom?