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Greener Pastures

by Ariel & Shya Kane

Once we saw a goat who was put out to graze in a lush field. The grass was high and feeding was plentiful. But he wasn't satisfied. He made a funny picture as he strained toward the field next door. His front legs were suspended mid-air, dangling over the fence as he vainly reached for a tempting bit of green, just out of reach. Of course the grass wasn't any richer or higher or more succulent in the next pasture but try telling that to the goat.

What pastures are you straining after? Most people are strenuously efforting toward what they think will make them happy or satisfied, straining toward something more, better or different. The problem with this philosophy of life is that there is always something else that needs to be bought or produced in order for you to be happy or satisfied. Truthfully, in this moment, you can only have what you have and anything you yearn for robs you of the possibility of reveling in the richness of your life.

People are so busy worrying about what they don't have or how it is going to turn out in the future, they rarely allow themselves to really relish and enjoy the way things are right now. Life becomes a worry about what isn't, rather than a celebration of what is. For if we, like the goat, invest our energy only in wanting what we don’t have and lusting after tantalizing goals currently out of reach, satisfaction is set aside for a mythical someday that never comes.

In this article, we will define three common impediments to moment-to-moment satisfaction that, when over looked, can encroach upon your experience of living and make even the brightest of days dim.

We have arbitrarily separated these topics so that we may more effectively talk about them, but actually they are interwoven like fabric. Our hope is that by simply seeing mechanical ways of relating to your life, it pulls a thread, unraveling the veil that exists between you and having a magical, satisfying and productive life.

Envy: Webster's defines envy as "a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another's advantages, possessions, etc.; resentful dislike of another who has something that one desires." What most of us don't realize is that when we are envious of another person's position or possessions we are at the same time denying the possibility of attaining for ourselves the very position or possessions of which we are envious. If you feel misgivings toward another for having what you say you want, you will ultimately deny those things to yourself. The reason for this is simple. By envying another you think of them negatively. You mentally hold them as bad, wrong, or undeserving for having some attribute which you desire. Here is the catch. In your heart-of-hearts, you know you are not a bad person and you do not want to be thought of negatively. Because this is so, you will automatically keep yourself from being like the person you are resentful toward. Unwittingly you will deny those things you want, in order to be a “good” person.

Old Hidden Agendas - Webster's defines an agenda as "a program of things to be done." This in itself seems quite innocuous. However, some of our agendas or goals are hidden from us. They came from decisions we made, at some point, early in our lives when we were less aware and a less expanded version of ourselves. Ideas we had of what was necessary for our satisfaction may no longer be applicable to our current circumstances and our continued striving for them may in fact diminish the quality of our lives. Here is a simplified version of how it works: Say your father or mother asked you to mow the lawn and you did. However, from your parent's point of view, you did a sloppy job. So your he or she said, "Forget it, I'll do it myself." Now comes the decision that runs forward to the present -- You could have said to yourself, "I am no good at this kind of thing. I am inept." If you are still proving your ineptitude, that hidden agenda will keep you repeatedly failing in life. Another possible reaction might have been, "I'll show them. I can too do it well!" You might think that this is the better decision because it will drive you to achieve results. Yet no amount of proving yourself by producing results engenders true and lasting satisfaction. The drive to prove one's worth adds a great amount of stress to one's life.

Disagreeing With What Is: Whenever you compare your current circumstances to how you would prefer your life to show up, the result is always the same: Dissatisfaction. People haven't realized that what is going on in their life in any given moment of now really, truly is the only way their life could be showing up. We may have preferences but it is rare that our preferences are congruent with our current experience. In other words, if you are comparing how it is to how you would prefer it, you rob yourself of any possibility of satisfaction. It is kind of like wishing your Volkswagen would sprout wings and fly you to Europe for a vacation. That is not the design function of an automobile. And wishing it won't make it so.

When you engage in your life as if the circumstances are “perfect” you will be empowered to experience well-being even when things are truly challenging. Here is a rather remarkable example of how being where you are, regardless of the circumstances, can be a profound experience. We have a friend who discovered that both he and his son have cancer -- our friend prostate cancer and his son an inoperable brain tumor. This news was a devastating blow. Certainly everyone wishes it weren't so. Cancer is not a preference when contemplating life's options. And yet both our friend and his son are more happy, loving and satisfied than they were before the news. Without the illusion of life continuing indefinitely, they have gotten down to living now, in this moment, including the circumstances exactly the way they are. The actions and treatments they are undertaking are an exciting adventure rather than a trial to be endured.

You don’t need to contract a life threatening disease in order to engage in your life. As you discover the ability to live in the moment, you will be self-empowered to step into opportunities as they present themselves. Your world view will expand to include the wealth of your life, rather than focusing on a series of goals forever out of reach.

Ariel and Shya Kane lead evening and weekend groups in Manhattan dedicated to supporting people in living in the moment and having extraordinary, fulfilling lives. For more information, including dates and location, call 908-479-6034, or visit their website: www.ask-inc.com. The Kanes are internationally acclaimed seminar leaders and business consultants whose revolutionary approach, Instantaneous Transformation, has helped thousands of individuals and companies worldwide. Their books and audios are available at local and online bookstores and via their website.

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