Paying Your Emotional Allowance

Allow me to stray from the topic of snowbird RV wanderlust for a moment here once again to share some more of that open source enlightenment.

Book Cliffs over Green River Canyon UtahWhen shit happens – and it undoubtedly will – we must deal with it, that’s a fact. How we cope with emotionally difficult situations depends on how we choose to feel. Allow yourself to feel frustration, angst, embarrassment or whatever else ails you, and you’ll certainly be dealt a bad hand.

Choose to reframe outcomes in your favor, and you can be free of pain and stress. Easier said than done, right?

Right. I have always asked myself just that. How? Exactly how does one correct their own reaction when in the moment of distress? Mindfulness teacher and meditation guru Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests by befriending your breath and dancing with the acuality of the event. Other ennlightened individuals will suggest by being – with all your heart and soul – in that very present moment, for that is when you have the choice to better your environment. Believe it, and this is easier done than said.

Capitol Reef, UT Highway SignsImmersing yourself in the present moment feels fantastic, and comes naturally when remaining calm in a peaceful environment. Simply being becomes much more difficult when spontaneity brings misfortune and distress. So again, how does one follow through after making the choice to feel good while the fan is praying shit everywhere? Just flip a switch in the brain? Yes. Turn off the fan.

My good friend NLP Dave explained an understanding of his that may help. I’ve been mulling over his allowance theory since our walk along the Eureka waterfront a few weeks back. From what I gathered – or if I recall correctly – negativity is a basically the resistance of positive thinking. The opposite of that resistance would be allowance. So, one must accept outcomes at face value and allow the silver lining of even the darkest clouds to shine through.

“Above every dark cloud, the sun is always shining bright. Except at night.”
— me

Recent events and resulting anguish provided the opportunity for putting this precept to the test. After putting a major gouge in the side of our truck while attempting to fit in a tight spot where I had easily parked just days before, with fellow campers waiting to pull by, I wasn’t exactly feeling quite chipper or acting very calm.

Book Cliffs over Green River Canyon Utah

Quick coincidental digression: I recently read an article about EFT which Dave showed me can be a powerful self therapeutic tool. Practicing a quick touch sequence while focussing to let go of the pain, anger, embarrassment and distress I was feeling allowed me to clear my mind enough to accept what happened, and realize that how I was acting was making me feel so shitty. Being in the present at that time meant understanding the damage was done, and how I fealt about it was up to me.

I allowed myself to welcome a positive vibe about our new spot – in the campground that is, not on our fender.

Big Rock Truck Crunch

As much as we shouldn’t compare – nor should on ourselves – the whole scene could have been much worse. The scrape is purely cosmetic, any damage to the trailer would have likely been functional. We finally had a nice wide open good level spot, with a more beautiful view of the river and cliffs. Satellite connectivity was quick and cell phone reception was better. We now had plenty of water, produce and provisions. We ran all our necessary errands and had a spot available at the small riverside campground before the busy Easter weekend.

There is a moral or two to this story. There is a great free campground about 9 miles outside Green River on Hastings road. If headed before a busy weekend fill the fridge at the market in town and top off with water at the truck stop. That way you won’t have to park again after rushing to town. Pay attention and never feel rushed when parking your rig. Just because you fit easily in a tight spot before, don’t assume fitting again will be just as easy. Always have your navigator keep on eye on the trailer and the truck.

And if you happen add another battle scar to your trailer or tow vehicle, understand that freaking out won’t fix it. In fact, it only makes matters worse.

Life Is Give And Take

You see, I have always looked at life like this. It’s all about give and take. Life, that is. It’s about giving what you’re willing to lose to get whatever it is you want to take. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes being put to the test to find that perfect spot.And you must be willing to pay the price for living life to the fullest and loving every minute of it.

In other words – if you’ll pardon my French one more time – sometimes ya just gotta say shit without letting it hit the fan. Because if you let it build up, life gets pretty stinky.

Epilogue: In nealry four years on the road we are fortunate and grateful to have experienced no major catastrophe. Perhaps positively dealing with the number of smaller mishaps that do occur will ensure we never do. After all, it is these dark moments that remind us to slow down and allow those silver linings to shine through.

Recommended Reading

FREE EBOOK: The Benefits of Mystical Oneness by Wayne (Wirs)

 

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing

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13 Responses to “Paying Your Emotional Allowance”

  1. Eric Auckerman May 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm Reply

    Wow, this post is just chock full of reflection, where are you staying these days, at a “muse-ment park”? Hah!

    Team Jimbo and Reno, if you’re especially keen on “Desert Solitaire” then you should read “One Life at a Time Please”, “Resist Much Obey Little”, and “Down The River” all by Abby. I’d also suggest reading anything by Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut as well.

    What’s the ‘ole saying, “we read to know that others are out there?”, something like that, but it’s true. Abby was keen to point out that “industrial tourism” would create dysfunction for both consumer and provider alike insofar as the true transformative powers of travel are concerned. Case in point, you wouldn’t visit Japan to play at Disneyland would you? But stay at a Zen temple for a week or eat noodles in Hokkaido with the locals and viola, you get the transformative experience. You can still visit Disneyland and have a transformative experience but it probably won’t be that much different than here in the U.S. (save for the noodles of which I hear your supposed to slurp with verve and gusto).

    The transformative travel experience is still out there but it’s getting harder to preserve and protect, not find, but preserve and protect, such is the price of our collective affluence and cheap flights. The doors to all worlds seem to be wide open and that’s a good thing but the downside is the industrial tourism that will ultimately rear it’s ugly plastic little head made by small hands in China.

    Personally I’ve almost given up on destination travel and have taken up bicycling. I’ll be riding from Astoria, OR, to Arcata, CA, in August. Not unlike you folks who are floating across our countries intra-national tarmac, the bicycle rider is also given to reflective conversation about our lives at large. Most of the riders are 50 and older so it’s very much a “been there done that” kind of group, but the ride and the comradery seems to give everyone a youthful charge of fresh giddiness. Then there’s the pace of travel, you don’t miss much when pedaling 10 to 15 MPH.

    Good honest travel can definitely help beat that enemy known as routine, and I get Abby’s message about folks hiding from nature rather than exploring their familial connections with it, but it’s a greatly populated world these days and things have changed much since “Desert Solitaire”. Another book worth reading is the fictional “The Drifters” by James Michener. I only believe so because I read this fine novel when I was 12-years-old during a bike trip through France with my mother back in 1972. Back when the dollar was strong and there were fewer of us.

    Regardless, this is a great time however to travel the U.S., think about it, you get 100 cents to the dollar here!

    Enrico strikes again…

    • As they say, not all who wander are lost… except maybe those who end up in Arcata. Sounds like a sweet ride, enjoy!

  2. I struggle with the positive/negative dichotomy. I want to be a better influence on my son and prove to him that being a positive person is helpful. Today he said, “Everytime you’re positive about something, that thing goes bad.” Too bad he’s so observant. : )

    I told him that’s not all the time and that we tend to remember the bad over the good, unfortunately.

    • Such is the duality of man, the yin and the yang. All of everything is made up of energy, which is by nature either positive or negative. The choice to channel one or the other lies within. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Another lovely post that led to lots of discussion between hubby and myself (working on happiness is a big goal in my life). I really like your idea of “the resistance of positive thinking”. I’m tempted to take it one step further and say that “happiness is an active state of being”. For me, at least, happiness is something I need to work at everyday the same way that I work out my muscles by exercising. It’s a mental exercise and every obstable you come across in life is a stressing of that mental exercise. That’s not to say that grief, anger and dissapointment are wrong or never happen. They do and they are natural emotions. It’s just that you do not allow them to overwhelm and swallow you up. That’s where the “mental muscle” comes into it and you work your way out.

    Just some random thoughts…at some point we’ve got to discuss this over a pinot noir 🙂
    Nina

  4. my remedy – 2 buck chuck & some of humboldt county`s best grifa !

  5. Hi Jim,

    I have a saying, “The less there is of you, the more there is of Her” (and I’m not talking about Rene). “Her” as in what the religious call God or the spiritual call the Universe. All that anger and resistance and tension is the “You” and, when you let go, surrender to the moment and feel that peace, well, that’s the “Her.”

    I tend to look at “troubles” as practice. Not self-criticism but an opportunity (real troubles don’t come by too often) to get some genuine practice in. Anyone can read a book, but it’s in the doing where the truth is revealed.

    For my part, I’d leave the dent in the truck as a reminder to stay present.

    Great post!

    Wayne

    • “For my part, I’d leave the dent in the truck as a reminder to stay present.”

      Oy vey, I’m just not there yet. I hate looking at it!

    • Thanks for the comment Wayne! I’ve updated the recommended reading list with your Benefits of Mystical Oneness e-book for those needing a nudge in the right direction to welcome her in times of distress. She had been coming around much easier for me lately, but this incident served as a stark reminder to not shut the door in her face.

  6. Another great piece, Jim. I’m so impressed with your “open source enlightenment,” and particularly the presence demonstrated by your reframing.
    I also really like how you conjugated allow to “allowance,” which I had never considered. Actually, what I shared with you on our recent walk was my interpretation of a Law of Attraction concept and now your readers see your interpretation, and it is all good!

    For me, I sense that any good feeling is a form of allowing, and any undesirable feeling equates to resistance. What you resist, persists. If I keep my attention on an undesirable feeling I’ll get more of it and plenty to support and justify staying in that state. With the understanding that I’m meant to feel good, and attract good things by keeping my attention on what I want, I let go of resistance by choosing a better feeling thought. This replaces the resistance with allowing, or as you say, allowance, and then I can receive the benefits of my new focus.

    You also linked to my piece about outcomes. Just to clarify, that is about a set of criteria used in NLP for knowing when both goals and strategies to achieve them are well chosen. These criteria are amazingly congruent with, though broader than, what I had independently suggested for years prior to studying NLP when I was frequently writing about and testing theories for social change. Now I help people apply these “conditions of a well-formed outcome” in private coaching sessions and apparently informally on walks about town 😉 It is so gratifying to see ordinary conversations with friends result in such insightful sharing as this post. Thank you and kudos!

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