One of the joys of having movie channels on pay TV is that you get to watch, re-watch and watch again, some of your favourite movies. This week I got to see Pleasantville, a movie about repeating the same thing over and over again. In Pleasantville, everybody does exactly the same thing at the same time and with the same people without question. It's safe, there is no uncertainty and the boredom of repetition is ignored because the fear of the unknown is removed. Only when the concept of doing things differently is introduced do things go from black and white to colour. Black and white represents clarity and certainty and colour represents a world of infinite possibilities.
I was speaking to Bronnie Ware about this very subject and the importance of flexibility, and she offered to contribute a little piece.
I'd like to leave you with this thought. I'm not sure who first said it, but it's definitely worth pondering...
"Don't think outside the box. Think like there is no box."
Hi, it's Bronnie. I am delighted to be a part of this week's newsletter.
Learning to embrace flexibility has truly blessed my life. So I share with you here an excerpt from my book, Your Year for Change, on the importance of being flexible. I hope you enjoy it.
It's not unusual to get stuck in routines. Sometimes routines serve you well, but sometimes they don't. At times you don't even know what you are yearning for; all you know is that it is not the life you are living. Then the routines that served you well for years, those that kept equanimity in your lifestyle, no longer work.
Many people are stuck in routines without even knowing why. A man-made clock determines meal times, not the body's clock saying that it is hungry. Morning tea must be at 10 a.m. Lunch is at midday on the dot or heaven forbid. If the 7:36 train is five minutes late, the whole day is out of whack. Saturday mornings are for cleaning house or grocery shopping. Annual leave is at the same time each year.
Things change, though, as do you. So rather than resisting the changes, try to go with them. Be flexible, as the same routine that once served you well may also possibly become the routine that leaves you feeling trapped and unfulfilled.
It is about letting go of the need for total control. I mean, do you really ever have complete control of your life anyway? No. No one does. You may think you do, and then life will throw you a challenge out of the blue that knocks you completely off balance. And you're suddenly looking for a new solution to an unforeseen predicament.
Focus is great, sure. But just as the seasons are changing and cannot be counted on to remain the same, so too is life. No outcome the world over is ever guaranteed, except for death and change.
So while routine and focus may serve you well in some capacities, so does flexibility. Loosening restrictions opens you to the more natural flow of life and goodness.
Having a day off midweek, or catching up with friends for breakfast instead of dinner, or letting your children pick their own clothes to wear regardless of how much you struggle with their creative choice are all forms of letting go and being flexible.
Flexibility brings surprises and pleasures that can only come about by not being so rigid. So if you are planning on doing your usual thing over the next couple of days, see if you can loosen things up a bit. Ask yourself when else you can do it, and then choose something different to do instead. Or don't choose anything. Just go walking and see how your time unfolds without routine, control, and rigidity.
Daring to step out of self-imposed conformity always brings pleasure and rewards. But until you try it, how will you ever know what those pleasures and rewards are?
With loving kindness,