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How to Remain Peaceful No Matter What - Find Your Strawberries!

podcast Aug 11, 2020

Hey Dethroners.  Today I want to talk about how to sustain a feeling of peace and clarity no matter what circumstances you are facing.  

The work of Dethroning Your Inner Critic is about just that--living a life of peace, joy, and contentment by learning HOW to think, which we are not taught to do. What knocks us out of peace, is what we perceive to be our problems. Now, what you perceive to be a problem- something that is supposed to be or should be different than exactly how it is right now. So to free yourself from all of your inner turmoil, you have to be able to spot what your automatic, Inner Critic mind is demanding.  

Whether that is something about you that should be different, something about someone else that should be different, or some circumstance that should be different, your Inner Critic is triggering very uncomfortable emotional responses when something in your world doesn’t fit the way your Inner Critic says it's supposed to. So when your Inner Critic’s desire isn’t fulfilled, your computer programming kicks in, and reacts automatically in the form of worry, anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, jealousy. This is what I call your Inner Critic addictions.  

Now, why do addictions destroy happiness? Because every time your Inner Critic demands something other than exactly what is, your automatic computer programming is running. And part of that program is to see other people through the lens of “Is this person going to support what I need, or are they going to threaten what I need?”  

We get caught in this endless struggle to make the outside world fit what our Inner Critic needs.  And it is always a struggle.  Because there will always be people or circumstances that will NOT give your Inner Critic what it needs. 


Always in life, you win some and you lose some. You will never get to a point in your life where your Inner Critic won’t be triggered when it doesn’t get what it needs. And even if your Inner Critic gets what it needs and you feel good, there will always be the next time lurking around the corner of your life, where your Inner Critic will not get what it needs.  In other words, you will NEVER find happiness by trying to manipulate the outside world around you to fit what you think you NEED.  

We all certainly have preferences.  We want to be loved or respected by other people, we want our children to be happy and feel good, we want to be healthy, we want to be prosperous and find abundance. And I encourage you to keep aligning your thoughts and actions with these preferences! But you don’t NEED any of these things to live a peaceful, joyous life and to love and value yourself.  

If you believe you need something to feel good and you don’t get it, you are unhappy. If you would prefer something and you don’t get it, you are able to remain more neutral.  You can keep striving for your preferences! But as you are striving for your preferences, you can actually feel content and peaceful with exactly what life is right now. 

To downgrade from an addiction to a preference, you have to rewire your mind. In other words, you have to rewire the part of your mind that makes you feel unsettled, uptight, and stirred up if you don’t have what your Inner Critic says it needs.  

Ok so let’s talk about how to rewire your mind. This is where the work comes into play. Is it work? YES. But in my opinion, there is nothing more important than doing the work to rewire your mind. It is the foundation for how the rest of your life will unfold.  

What you perceive as a problem in your life right now, whatever it is that is making you so unhappy, is your greatest tool. Remember earlier when I said that what you perceive to be a problem is something that is supposed to be or should be different than exactly how it is right now. In other words, you are letting your Inner Critic convince you that her attachments, expectations, ideas of how life should be--i.e her addictions--are making you dwell in the dead past or the imagined future. 

Waking up to your Inner Critic’s addictions is about moment to moment awareness of your automatic thoughts that are making you feel uncomfortable in some way. The work is about tuning into your minute to minute stream of thoughts so that you can discover the addictions that are making you worried, sad, angry, resentful, uptight. Every uncomfortable emotion is an opportunity to wake up to your old Inner Critic mind.  

And when you can clearly spot your Inner Critic mind, you can relocate to a different mind. That is the conscious rewiring. You will probably still feel the uncomfortable emotion! But you are doing the work to get to the root of all of your ups and downs, and highs and lows.  

You can begin to spot the brief bits of pleasure when your Inner Critic addiction is met and the chronic dissatisfaction when the addiction is not met. When you can remain centered no matter what someone else says or does, and no matter what circumstance life throws at you, that is when you are free. In other words, everything and everyone around you is your teacher.  

When you use your perceived problems as your opportunities for growth, you are more able to be in the here and now of your life. Because what you are perceiving as a problem is really just your Inner Critic’s judgment about what is occurring in the here and now. Your Inner Critic IS NEVER in the here and now.  It is always focused on either the dead past or the imagined future.  

Designing your future is really about aligning your mind with the here and now. You can’t generate the best future for yourself by being preoccupied with your Inner Critic thoughts about the future. If there is something that you need to do right here and now that is in alignment with the future you are designing, then get busy doing it. If you have done all that there is to do in the here and now, then there is no need to allow your Inner Critic to focus on the future. 

Instead of being consumed by how to get your Inner Critic addictions met, designing your future is about becoming fully tuned into the people and circumstances around you right now. If you aren’t enjoying the here and now moment in your life, it is because your Inner Critic has you focused on either the past or the future.  

Your experience at this very moment is created by your thoughts. When you are not identifying with your Inner Critic thoughts about the here and now and are able to remain centered and calm, this allows for the solutions to the “problems” in your life to intuitively come to you. You can tap into the insights that guide you towards what there is to do in order to flow with what is occurring in the here and now.  

You can only be here and now when you accept emotionally whatever happens in your life. If you want to change something, then do it but the change is going to come when you are grounded in right here and now, free from the emotional turmoil that your Inner Critic whips up.  

I always talk about life being a river--it flows where it flows. If we try to swim upstream from where it is flowing, we struggle. When you can flow with the river of life, you can learn to accept the unacceptable by not losing your inner peace and calm no matter what the circumstances are. Your Inner Peace is both the means and the end to effectively design your future.  

Instead of being swept away by your Inner Critic convincing you that you need something you don’t have or holding onto something that is no longer appropriate in the here and now, can you see that you already have what you need right now to be peaceful and content?  

Being in the here and now instead of pasting or futuring is the key.   

Parable of the magnificent strawberry:  A Buddhist Monk was walking through the mountains one day. Then, out of nowhere, a tiger appears, chasing the monk towards the edge of a cliff. The monk, in his quest to escape the tiger, runs to the edge of the cliff and climbs over the side, where he sees five other tigers 15 feet below him, waiting to eat him.

So the monk is just hanging there, holding on to a vine on the side of the cliff, waiting there for the little chance he has to escape or for his imminent demise. Then, as the monk hangs there, exploring his options, he turns to the left and sees a strawberry.

He smiles, “Wow what a magnificent strawberry!” he says to himself. So, he picks it and he eats it.

So what’s the point of this parable?  You are running around being chased by tigers by being consumed with Inner Critic thoughts of how it could be better, how you could be better if only things were different. You blame your unhappiness on somebody or something outside of yourself. That is only because you’re getting sucked into your Inner Critic’s addictions. You have been the one that has created the tigers chasing you!  

Rewiring your mind is about being responsible for your creation of the tigers.  If you’re living in fear, anger, blame, guilt, shame, resentment, or you are focusing on what should have been different in your past or what needs to be different in your future, you can’t see and experience the magnificence of your life that is right in front of you in each moment.

Your mind creates everything! A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Your way of being, your actions and reactions to the world around you all stem from your thoughts and create the reactions of the people around you. Dethroning your Inner Critic is about remaining loving and centered within yourself and towards yourself, no matter what drama is unfolding in your life. 

And this is how you can see your world as your mirror. If someone does something that hurts you, you can view this person as your greatest teacher who is helping you to clearly see your Inner Critic addictions that you need to surrender.  You are NOT your Inner Critic mind. The real you is the one who is able to observe your Inner Critic mind. 

There is magnificence in your life right now that is right in front of you. Are you going to focus on being the most fortunate and appreciative person in the world because of what already IS present in your life today, or are you consumed with fear, what you DON’T have in your life or what may possibly happen some time in the future?  

There are daily miracles in life that we often step over and don’t give the attention and value they deserve. And it’s these daily miracles that ultimately create the quality of life we live.

So, what magnificent strawberries do you have in your life? Stop, look around. There they are. Right in front of you. Your health, your family, your children, your job, a hobby, a sport, your natural gifts or talents, even the people in your life. Pick one today. Relish every bite. 

I hope you can experience a sense of gratitude for what is around you and a deeper appreciation for what is in your life today. Designing your future is a balancing act of being in the present moment today while managing your goals and dreams, without living in them, which then takes you into futuring. Find your strawberries, guys!

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