The Good Life Project

In Search of The Bona Vita


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Flowing water

Here is another of my favorite quotes that has been in my life for at least 25 years. It comes from the I Ching which is one of the oldest classic Chinese texts. To me it speaks of patience and getting ready for change:

When flowing water…. meets with obstacles on its path,
a blockage in its journey,
it pauses.
It increases in volume and strength,
filling up in front of the obstacle and eventually spilling past it….

Do not turn and run,
for there is nowhere worthwhile for you to go.
Do not attempt to push ahead into the danger…
emulate the example of the water:
Pause and build up your strength
until the obstacle no longer represents a blockage

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PAR…?? What’s that?

One of my patients sent me this clipping a few weeks back and I thought it was worth sharing:

“Today’s thought from Hazelden is: The reasonable man encounters circumstances and adapts himself to them. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt circumstances to himself. All progress depends upon the unreasonable man.–George Bernard Shaw

….Everyone has a dream. Everyone has a purpose or mission, something specific he or she is called to do. You are on this earth for a reason. Although you can temporarily hide from yourself, you can never lose your connection to your purpose. It is always with you, beckoning to be uncovered. You just need to listen and let it speak to you. When you do decide to follow your dream, be prepared for resistance. The old beliefs and messages from the past that say it cannot be done will come rushing to the surface. How will you respond to these voices of fear and doubt? Will you allow them to immobilize you? Or will you tell them who is in charge and move forward in spite of your fears? …”

Great questions. Not so easy answers. This reminds me of an important concept that some call Progressive Abreactive Reaction. PAR describes the phenomena that unfold whenever we take the next step in committing to our vision (someone or something). Let’s take the example of the process of buying a house. We look and look and finally put in a bid. When the bid is accepted we are elated or relieved. Then, out of nowhere, our doubts pop up, “Is this the right house?”, “Can I really afford it?”, “Am I moving too fast?” “What about….”etc. Another classical example is the couple that is living together for years with a great relationship that decides to finally legalize their bond and get married. POOF!!! Up come the doubts, “I hate how he eats!” “Her laugh is too loud.”, they begin fighting more and having less sex. Why is that? When we move to the next level, our “stuff” comes to the surface. Sometimes we can work it through and sometimes it makes us step back. The problem is that we can’t always trust what we “feel” in that moment because it is a fear reaction. Here is where the work begins. How do we tell the difference between a fear reaction as part of PAR and one that is based on a real internal danger alarm? Comments?