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SOS: 5 Lifelines for Getting Back on Track

10/02/2013 06:32 pm ET | Updated Dec 02, 2013

"Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings."

~Arthur Rubinstein

If it happens to me, I'm sure it happens to you. Before I knew it, I found myself caught in my to-do list and unable to make decisions. My mind was flooded with "should's," and I felt like I was slogging through quicksand.

Clarity and ease seemed a million miles away. Sound familiar?

Even in the midst of the fog, I never forgot this essential truth: It is always possible to find your way home to peace.

It is abundantly clear to me how little control we have. Thoughts show up, feelings appear, circumstances arise. We're sailing along just fine, until all of a sudden we're not.

But, as the saying goes, life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you. This means that you are not a victim of life. In fact, every experience is tailored for your awakening. Every experience holds the possibility of freedom from it.

  • Being stuck is a short step from being unstuck.
  • Unhappiness holds the key to happiness.
  • Discontent is barely a breath away from contentment and ease.

It all depends on what you do with what you get.

If you're off track, out of sorts, alienated or just plain stuck, know that peace is possible. Apply these lifelines, then celebrate your arrival home to clear seeing, to sanity, to the fullness of being alive.

Accept Things as They Are

As much as you want to change things to relieve your discomfort, what will help is just the opposite. Instead of trying to make your feelings go away, allow them to be.

Stop resisting and simply feel whatever you feel, even if it is painful or uncomfortable.

The end of trying to change what is is the beginning of peace.

Be Respectful, Not Harsh

Rejecting or ignoring your experience is a kind of violence. It's like slamming the door in the face of a new friend. When you push away feelings, you are divided against yourself. This is the cause of confusion and disconnection.

Instead of wishing for a different reality than what you are actually experiencing, meet yourself as-is with an open heart. Lean into the difficult energies and emotions.

I know it can be challenging, and you are likely to resist. But take the plunge anyway. Breathe into the hardest places. Your loving attention is what will make them soften.

Let Go of Goals and Plans

When you have lost your way, goals and plans can take you deeper into darkness and frustration. Plans come from the mind, and letting them go brings you closer to being in touch with what is really true for you.

Set aside some unstructured time for being rather than doing. Ignore the whirlwind of thoughts in your mind and the pressure to accomplish. The trajectory of your plans and goals can wait.

What you need is to stop and be quiet.

Keep It Simple

When confusion is in charge, keep it simple. Let the should's and demands fall by the wayside, and don't try to figure it all out. Simply bring your attention to your inner core. Listen with an open mind and see what you are guided to do in the moment.

Abandon expectations so you can hear clearly, as you may be surprised by what is offered.

Relax

Relax away from the agitation, the uncomfortable feelings, the mental noise. It will all run its course without you feeding it with criticism or panic. If you investigate your inner workings with precision, you will see that when you relax with what is, when you let all the drama go, there is peace.

Let yourself relax. Be patient and kind. Move with rather than against. And here is what will happen. What seems like a problem becomes an opportunity. Resistance turns into inner transformation.

Over and over, your struggles will guide you back to yourself, your essence, your true home.

Trouble getting back on track? What do you do when you are lost? I'd love to hear...

This post originally appeared on A Flourishing Life.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.