The invisible undercurrent, undertow of self-made rules… Or if you prefer, the invisible strings that move the puppet…
What they talk about when they say ‘there are known knowns… etc.’
Donald Rumsfeld stated:
Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.
He definitely said that differently than how we mean it, and yet he worded in a way that makes sense to most people, so I am quoting him.
So what unknown unknowns are we talking about?
Imagine living a thousand years ago, when everyone in the Western world thought that the world was flat… In other cultures they thought that the world was sitting on the back of a giant turtle.
Both world views said: there is an edge from which you can fall into the void.
So unless you stayed away from the edge… you risked falling into the abyss.
Hear the rule? Unless you do this… you will get that.
There are a few rules that we have unearthed that we can track the formulation of the rule. This is one possible formulation…
If this then that…
The important thing is to get the formula.
And then find the individual application.
For example: if I am not independent then I am going to be abused, or let down, or left in a lurch, or taken advantage of… lots of bad consequences…
- If I am not arguing, not justifying then I am going to be crushed… or something like that.
- If I am not right then I am nothing
- or: If I am not smart then I should not do anything because I will fail anyway
- If I am afraid then I should… this one has a lot of rules.
- If I can think it, then it should happen right away without effort
- or If I do something, I should do it with effort, or it won’t count
Most or maybe even all of these rules were invented in childhood, in response to some adversity, trauma, parent’s treatment of you, etc.
One of these rules is so strong, it is an anchor. To misery. I can pull it like an attachment.
I pulled mine… and it seems to be completely gone, I can’t even remember what it was, but I have changed.
A leash will allow you some freedom, but not much. And without freedom you are not able to grow. Without freedom you will never feel like you can be happy.
So ferreting out these rules, one by one, and devising ways to neutralize them, through words, is your number one job if you want to grow.
Why use words to neutralize the rules? Because you created the rules with words… so words are the most useful and effective weapons against it.
They say: don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!
It is not easy to find the rules, and it is not easy to neutralize them.
In the 67 step coaching, you have triggers, insights, and the opportunity to work with me to get them into the open and neutralize them. It takes time, but it is worth it.
My father was a holocaust survivor. His most important attitude was: when confronted, move sideways. 1
Now, if you read carefully… the author is suggesting another rule, a different rule.
So it seems that humans tend to think in rules… because the desire for certainty is paramount… after all that is why humanity invented gods…
Every and any rule is a restriction.
Sometimes cracking someone across the face is what you should do. Other times turn the other cheek. And yet other times: walk away, but stay alert…
The horizontal plane is full of rules, the vertical has NO RULES.
The vertical is so unpopulated because it has no certainty other than what you are willing to bring to it.
I am certain because… belongs to the horizontal plane.
I have ‘certainty for no reason’ is an attitude of someone living in the vertical plane. Nothing is ‘because’… everything is ‘be cause’. Be cause of your own attitude. Don’t get triggered, don’t divert responsibility.
My father who survived and thrived, said something to me: don’t resist. You’ll get free that much faster.
He was actually teaching me half of Aikido… I learned the second half much much later.
The result was: I did not become adversarial, I did not become argumentative.
Had he warned me that I also needed to let go of hate and contemplating vengeance, I probably would have become happy a lot sooner.
I still have a rule to think that for me to thrive ‘they’ have to die… the ‘they’ are the people who won’t let me…
I catch it, and let it go, but even that minute while that rule is active, I am miserable. Luckily it is just a minute, but it is not gone. Yet.
I seem to have a rule that if something seemingly bad happens, it means that it is the worst… the end of life as I know it.
Now, what keeps these rules stay in place? You acting on them.
I had this three bad things in a day happen to me recently. I did not act on any of it. It was hard. I was afraid. but I just kept telling myself: maybe… maybe not. It ain’t necessarily so. There is no hurry on the creative plane.
All three bad things disappeared without a trace.
I am thinking of doing workshops to reveal these invisible to us rules… and help you create strategies against them using your life. If you think it would be useful to you, please let me know.
Here is one workshop just to do that…
When Life Hands You Crap Don’t Negotiate — Navigate
Life is bound to hand you crap, it’s inevitable, accept it. Life will not negotiate with you, either— because it’s not designed to and it doesn’t have to?—?nothing personal
There’s an old saying which advises us to ‘live life on life’s terms’. In so many words, it promises if we ‘go with the flow’ we’ll be happier, or, at least, we’ll get a little less beaten up when life goes off script.
I’m sure there’s probably a hundred more axioms for this pivotal gem of wisdom but they’ll all dump us somewhere in the vicinity of the same pool of a contented, reasonably happy existence, if we can simply stop grasping at what we think ‘should be’ and let life direct us to the isle of accepting ‘what is’. It’s not something one learns without swallowing a lot of river water.
I’m reminded of Captain Jean Luc Picard’s (whom I’ve harbored a hero-crush on for years) ominous advice after being handily abducted from the bridge of his ship by the Borg. Having been made the Borg’s man-bitch by Locutus, Picard delivers the bad news to ?.
‘Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over…’
Who could hear that without clenching their butt cheeks, eh? However, Riker gives a slight toss of his chin in response, as if to say, we’ll see… Borg, we’ll see…
I’m with Will Riker, I’m bound to put up a fight but alas, I don’t live on the USS Enterprise, this is not Hollywood and every time I resist the flow of life I get my butt kicked but good!
Unfortunately for me, instead of going with the flow, when life gets hard I’m more inclined to demand and direct it in a futile attempt to control what cannot be so addressed.
It’s a knee jerk and instinctual set point…
…and one day I’d like to be able to dispense with these optional beatings and simply surrender to life on life’s terms.
Resistance wears me out. By five or six o’clock in the evening I start daydreaming about bedtime and the effervescent moment of relief due me when I fall into the bed, pull the covers over my head and tumble into a dreamless sleep.
Don’t put on your pity party hat for me just yet
Somewhere along the way I usually wake up to my folly. Outgrowing my childish expectations that life should always be easy and I should be happy every day of mine, as if I’m a forest faery riding a unicorn through a secret passage to and from Nirvana. Adopting an attitude of accepting ‘what is’ has helped me to understand when and where I need to row my ass off and when I need to surrender, let go and ride the currents.
Life is designed to move, with or without us
When we remove ourselves from the flow by digging into our resistance, in this way we opt to stand still. In the river of life we’ll become like the bedrock gouged, smoothed and finally hollowed by the ever-flowing current moving over and around us. It might seem tempting to become a beautifully carved fixture but we will also become stagnate, moss-covered artifacts left behind, even to ourselves.
Negotiating or bargaining with life is like kidnapping happiness then handing life a ransom note detailing a list of our demands. Remember, life doesn’t negotiate, so odds are it’s not going to end well for us or happiness, I guarantee it.
I’ve often asked myself, ‘Why not simply let go and see where the currents will take me?’ I’m sort of an adrenalin hound so, maybe it’ll be like riding a barrel over a waterfall. If I can manage my fear of the unknown and find a way to trust life then I’m bound to be well-engaged and enthralled by its unfolding, even when the ride gets rough. However, so often our first inclination is to hold fast to the edge of what we know or think we can control. The status quo, as it turns out, is highly overrated.
Bottom line? Better to navigate when you’re in a storm
Negotiating with life is a lot like confronting the little man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. Life has a way of both showing us what we’re made of and what we’re lacking. A heart? A brain? Courage? Flexibility?Ultimately, the Wizard didn’t give these characters anything they didn’t already possess the potential for having, all because they had already navigated their way through the wicked twists and turns the old witch, i.e. life, could throw at them. Unbeknownst to them, they were actually building character simply by navigating instead of negotiating and demanding things go their way.
I used to think there was a place for negotiating…but there really isn’t any middle ground when we’re talking about acceptance, we either accept what is or we don’t. If we accept what is, we are free to adapt and navigate within the current, be it a tiny squall or a sh*t storm. But, if we decide to resist what life hands us, we must be prepared to accept responsibility for our resistance and grab our rowing paddles because we’ll be pushing against a stronger current as life floods in with the lessons we’ve been calling forth, anyway.
I’ll leave you with this parting thought: The shortest distance between me and a bad attitude is to drive an expectation to the party.
Copyright S Lynn Knight, 2017