I have been meaning to write this blog post for many weeks now. Somehow, LIFE happened and I struggled to sit and actually put down into words exactly what I wanted to say. Very strange, since my chosen word for the year 2019 is AMOR FATI.. meaning Love Your Fate.
I have enrolled in a year long art course focusing on well being, reflection, meditation and allowing it all to flow through art. Below is my very first watercolor art. She is my art angel that will be my guide through 2019. She represents my strength, acceptance, gratitude, power and Amor Fati...Loving my Fate.
It's not an easy message to convey, nor is it an easy phrase to live by. Not everyone will "get it", not everyone will agree with it. But, let's give this a a go, with an open mind and a whole lot of understanding.
Life...it can be hard sometimes. I mean not just hard, but REALLY HARD.. even crappy, right? Reality is what it is. We can't change that. We think we are so bold that we can bend and shape things the way we want it to be. It just doesn't work that way.
We can not fight reality. So what's the answer? Acceptance! Acceptance is really the only option we have. Otherwise, we are opposing everything that happens in life. If you fight reality, then you live a life of opposition, hatred and true unhappiness. That is not a very good option, now is it?
We need to learn that things happen - sometimes good - sometimes bad - sometimes devastatingly bad. We don't always get it our way. Unless, just maybe....
Suppose for a moment you consider this..whatever way it is, is our way. That's where we choose Amor Fati - to love everything that happens, to simply love our fate. Then it is always our way.
Let's face it, the way it is, IS the way it is. We can't change it. It sucks, right? You're thinking you have no say in your own life at all. But you are mistaken. Your actions towards it... to accept it...to love it...is where your power is to shape it your way.
Stoics adopted this philosophy centuries ago. There's a metaphor of Dogs leashed to a moving cart. The wise man is like a dog leashed to a moving cart, running joyfully alongside and smoothly keeping pace with it, whereas a foolish man is like a dog that grumbly struggles against the leash but finds himself dragged alongside the cart anyway.
The moving cart is your life and everything that happens. The dog is us. Either we enjoy the ride and make the best of our journey, or we fight against everything that happens and get dragged along anyway. We can fight as hard as we want to, but guess what? The cart continues to move and it moves in whatever direction it chooses to - up, down, through deep waters and sometimes on even ground.
When things happen in life, whether good or bad, we can not change them. Once it's happened it is reality. Just like the cart going through deep waters. It can be painful, that feeling of drowning and going under, just waiting to catch your breath. It can really suck! Like, Fa Real ! But, try as we might, we can not change the situation itself, we don't carry a powerful stick to part the waters. But, we can change what we make of it. Don't get pulled under by your cart. Don't fight against something you can not beat...Fate. No one wants to really get drug around day after day by the crazy cart driver, right? Be the dog that doesn't fight the leash. Be the dog that knows he should not fight against something he can not beat, which is fate. Both dogs are the same in the cart scenario. One just enjoys it more because he doesn't fight it, doesn't oppose it..He accepts it for what it is and makes the most of it. This does not mean just accept everything and resign to doing nothing.
It takes great strength, humility and a strong will to accept. It's actually quite easy to be grouchy and complain about the way things are. Even though we can not decide what events are going to happen in our lives, we have all the power to determine what the outcome will be by our actions. It is our actions today that will make up our tomorrows.
Amor Fati does not mean you approve of or even condone what is happening. It just means that we come to the understanding that we can not change it. So what's our best option? To accept it and try to make the best of it with our actions towards it.
No one wants a sick child or the loss of a loved one or car accident. A missed flight, a tragic illness...It can be truly tragic at times, but we can't fight the situation. Many things happen that are just not our business. Our only business is what we make of it. Byron Katie explains it best in her book "Loving What is"
"I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God's. (For me, the word 'God' means 'Reality'. Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that's out of my control, your control and everyone else's control - I call that God's business.)"
She goes on to explain, "Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, 'You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,' then I am in your business. When I am worried about earthquakes, floods, war, of when I will die, I am in God's business."
Living in someone else's or in God's business results in tension, anxiety and frustrations. We have no control over these businesses. The only thing we can do is to accept(or love) them and focus on our own business. That is all we have control over.
So often we suffer because we want reality to be different from what it is, we argue with what is happening, which leads to our pain. Our pain, whether it be fear, frustration or anger, comes from resenting reality. Things like, "my husband should compliment me more often." "My children should appreciate me more." "My neighbor needs to clean up his yard." "My flight should not be delayed." "The weather needs to clear up." ALL ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. It leads to a LOT of stress! If fighting reality leaves us in so much pain, wouldn't the clear option be to not to fight reality? Whether we like it or not, acceptance is the solution. Amor Fati - Love what happens. It's not what happened that is so painful, it's our belief that is should be different that's causing all the pain. As horrible as things can be, we can not change them. We can only change the way we deal with them.
Life happens hard, really hard, at times. We get this feeling that all is lost, all is over now. We end up in pity and misery and sadness - struggling against something that has already happened. We don't know what the future brings. We have no idea what's coming up next. It could be worse things or this could be the darkness before the dawn. How should we know? We don't ! All we do know is that they've happened. But, it's already happened, it's not going to change.
"Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your life." - Eckhart Tolle
Learn to accept your fate...then learn to love it.
Don't try to fight reality. It's a game we can not win. Whatever happens, happens specifically for us, even if it does not seem so at the time.
Here's to a great acceptance of 2019 and all it holds in store