Life has a way of pushing us past our comfort zone. When this happens to me, I often use one of my favorite mantras, “Let it in.” I find these three little words so powerful. It is all about letting life in—to be present for this living moment—both the easy and the difficult. Usually we are some place else, caught in our minds, wanting life to differ from what it is rather than being here for it.
Life gave me an opportunity to use this mantra during an appointment with my eye doctor last week.
After checking in, I closed my eyes and settled into this moment while waiting to be called back. I have come to really appreciate waiting rooms. They give me time to just sit, be, and let life in. I brought my attention fully into my body, delighting in the feeling of aliveness there. Then I paid attention to all the comings and goings around me. Being present for life means to rediscover the preciousness of every moment and the joy of being alive.
As I was resting, a man was called back. He had checked in for an appointment with the same doctor 20 minutes after I checked in. My mind started reacting and I could feel my belly tightening, because this stretched me past my comfort zone. I went up to the receptionist to ask her about it and she said he was having some eye tests before he saw the doctor. A few minutes later, an employee came into the waiting room after getting the idea that I was upset (which I wasn’t).
Confrontation is outside my comfort zone
She stood right in front of me, saying in a not-so-friendly voice, “I hear you are upset about not being taken back to see the doctor.” She told me how busy they are and that they have a system for handling the volume of patients that come into the office. I simply said, “It was a little confusing to me.” I noticed that my ability to soften and calm myself down before answering her actually diffused her reaction. She nodded her head and as she walked away, I continued to breathe and said my mantra “Let it in” a few more times.
Finally, after waiting 45 minutes, the nurse brought me back into the exam room. There I sat, and I waited and waited some more. I had been waiting for almost an hour (59 minutes, to be exact). My mind was getting stirred up and my belly was tightening again as I needed to get home for an interview that afternoon.
When the doctor entered the room, she said, “Hello, Mary. How are you?” I responded in a slightly pissy tone, “Late.” My judger immediately kicked in saying that my response wasn’t okay, but as she was giving me the exam, I worked with it and it calmed down.
Getting pushed outside your comfort zone is… uncomfortable
When I got in my car after the appointment, my mind now wanted to be right. I couldn’t believe the doctor never apologized for being late. The employee in the waiting room also confronted me. “I should call the manager to report how these employees handled this situation,” said my mind. Instead, I softened my belly and took a couple of long slow out-breaths. This action allowed me a few moments to unhook from my mind and be present for life.
I said to this part of me that wanted to be right, “I see you. If you need to follow through on this, I will understand. However, please notice that this is causing a lot of inner turmoil. What would it be like if you let that go? I can just be here with you, acknowledging your frustration?” Immediately, my stomached muscles unclenched. My mind began to open again. I was so grateful that I didn’t need to follow the story line of being right.
So the next time life pushes you past your comfort zone, try using the mantra “Let it in” and acknowledge that you are uncomfortable.
As I drove home, I asked myself the question, “What is it I am ready to see here?” I have an older sister and we shared the same bedroom most of the time while growing up. Her survival system was being the dominant one, and I always felt that my needs and wants were ignored or judged repeatedly. So, when someone takes what I think is ‘my turn,’ it wakes up a very young and hurt part of me. As I was driving, I said my mantra “Let it in” a few more times and could let in this vulnerable part. The part of me who doesn’t feel like she matters. In that moment, she mattered to me and, as I gave her the attention she so desperately needed, she calmed down.
You will find these three little words will calm your mind. Take a few deep breaths and open yourself even more deeply to this present moment. Ask yourself why you feel this way, and if there is a lesson, you need to learn or something you need to acknowledge. That is the power of letting life in—all of it, including the parts that are harder to unravel.