it is what it is …
‘It is what it is’ — one of my mantras to help me cope with life’s challenges. It’s something I say to myself when I encounter something distasteful, painful or difficult. Rather than immediately jump to evaluation,
make a quick conclusion or assumption about a situation, I pause. I describe as best I can using nonjudgmental language about the situation at hand. I use the mantra to help me blow away life’s fluff and distracting details to merely reveal the bare bones of the situation.
it is what it is
blowing away the fluff of life
Blowing away the fluff of life is to see what is really there and to say ‘yes’ to it as pure fact, like it or not. This is mindfulness, an unconditional yes to the present without desire to change or control its direction. Once I have stripped reality bare of evaluation, judgment, projection, fear or unhappiness. I then have the space to reflect on what would be an effective plan for change that I find acceptable, within my field of values. And then I make a plan for action. For change.
the lens of mindfulness replaces blindness to reality
When I view life through the lens of mindfulness I replace an unconscious blindness about reality with conscious understanding. Mindfulness is not meant to make us feel something differently, just to feel whatever it is without fear or attachment to an particular idea of how something could or should be. A creative gap opens when I stop responding with habit and established patterns. Predicaments, situations, problems experienced this way are so much more manageable and they reveal how much of so called ‘reality’ is ‘fluff’.
what’s that look like in my life?
I live in London. It rains here. A lot. My preferred way to get around in this city of expensive, crowded and unreliable public transport is bicycle. I know a few people who don’t mind cycling in the rain. Personally I prefer not to get wet to the bone when going to work, running errands or moving about to
meetings or visiting friends. So I have a choice most days. I can respond with habit and instinct and be grumpy and disheartened every time it rains, or I can merely discribe the situation, wear my waterproof cycling gear, and get on with my journey.
moving with the flow of life towards change
Relaxing, moving with the flow of life and blowing away life’s fluff (whether that’s the climate or an issue at work, or … whatever!) helps me to focus on what is. If it starts to pour rain just before I start out on a long journey, why be miserable? Maybe I would perfer it not so, but my attitude is ‘why make myself unhappy?’
Plus it helps that the British make really good waterproof cycling gear!