Don’t Force It

By Ken Wells - 10/19/2021


Series Two Blog Seventy-three

You just have to take a deep breath, relax and let the game come to you”. – A.J. Green

Embracing average means you have cultivated the capacity to allow life to flow to you rather than going after it and forcing things to happen. When I notice myself trying to force things to happen, I know I’m not embracing the wisdom that average spaces in life can bring. While there are times when it is important to make things happen, pushing toward an end result is usually not sustainable. For example, forcing a romantic encounter usually will blow up in your face. Trying too hard to get a job can be a form of self-sabotage.

When we take the time to find meaningfulness in our average experiences, we are usually pulled toward a higher standard of performance and excellence in behavior. We gain clarity on why we do what we do in the average place. When my action is pure and selfless, then things begin to settle into their perfect place, and the energies of life pull me into a passion for everyday living.

There is a phenomenon that happens when I keep pushing for more and more. I never get enough.  When I try to fill the empty hole in my soul by pushing for more accomplishment and attainment, I become like a child who cannot get enough sugar. The achievement is never deeply satisfying unless I embrace the journey along the way. It’s the journey of the common, mundane everyday experience that creates fulfillment and happiness. Many have embraced a popular mantra about there being no way to happiness because happiness is the way. Embracing happiness includes all the average life experiences that have accumulated along the way.  If I don’t embrace this understanding, then when I achieve the spectacular, it will not be enough or fulfilling.

So many have sighed with dissatisfaction, “Is this all there is?” When I accomplish a goal and do not embrace meaningfulness in the process, then I don’t repeat the success or inspire new visions for future goals.  It’s all contingent on finding happiness and fulfillment in the average everyday pursuit of life.  Those who wake up every morning ready to seize the day knowing why they should value the everyday moments are the people who pull through struggle and the disappointment of failure.

Letting life come to you is a Zen mentality necessary to experiencing value in the ordinary, average space of life. The goal is to eliminate the need for striving. When I find myself striving, I’m clutching and grasping for that which I do not have. While I have seen this approach yield positive result in the short term, it is not sustainable for the long term.  It’s like the little boy who loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Each day he would go to the kitchen and get his jar of jelly and peanut butter and make his favorite sandwich.  When he could see daylight at the bottom of his peanut butter jar, he would chuck the jar in the trash and reach for a new jar from the pantry.  However, one day when he reached for a new jar, there was no jar. Disappointed, he walked away knowing he would not have his favorite sandwich.

His father notice what had just occurred, stopped the little boy, and brought him back into the kitchen. He took the jar out of the trash, wiped it off, removed the lid, and scraped the sides of the jar so that the little boy now had one-half inch of peanut butter rather than his usual one-inch thickness.  He then slapped the bread with jelly and the little boy had his favorite sandwich. His father said, “Hey, you were ready to walk away without anything. If you just would have taken the extra time to scrape out the jar you would have had enough for a sandwich.”

I think of this little boy often.  So many people become disgruntled with the average mundane experience of life that they throw away its value.  They want the full jar of peanut butter. They try winning the lottery, fantasize about the rich and the famous, or daydream about being somewhere, anywhere other than where they are at. If we embrace the average everyday struggle, take what is, and spread it around, we will make it more. Happiness is not found in the spectacular. It’s in how we work with average circumstances.

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