Ok, so you know that I love to call people on their shit. I like to think I do it lovingly and gently and often humorously, and really, I consider it a kind of public service. Making the world better one sarcastic verbal slapping at a time (this may be my site’s new slogan). Well, I was given another such opportunity just recently, while chatting with a friend, when he uttered a sentence that made my face go all scrunchy (some might call this a “constipated” look, but I prefer the term “adorable”). What was the offending, vibrationally unsound phrase? Well, I’ll tell you, but brace yourselves. If you are easily offended, you should look away now. Hide the children, cover the mirrors, crawl under the blankets and drink copious amounts of hot chocolate until the worst is over. Ready? Ok, he said: “It is what it is”. And then he sighed heavily, resigned to the idea that things simply are the way they are (mediocre), and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
It is, most decidedly NOT what it is, godammit. And yes, I’m on my soapbox. I know I usually warn you before I get on up here, but since Bullshit usually arrives unannounced, you sometimes just have to be ready for anything. Like an LOA Ninja.
After I peeled myself off the ceiling and calmed my nerves with a healthy swig of cinnamon tea (straight up, because I’m hardcore like that), I proceeded to explain to my friend why that phrase is just WRONG. And ok, to be fair, I have nothing against the actual words. They can be uttered in a completely different context and leave me entirely untouched. It’s the concept that I have little tolerance for: the idea that we are powerless. And, even worse, the idea that, having achieved mediocrity, it would be pointless to strive for more. After all, given the alternative (suffering, pain, despair), mediocrity really is about the best we can hope for and it would be ludicrous, not to mention greedy, to risk that achievement in order to get “more”, right?
It’s the resignation, the settling, the willingness to give up on one’s own magnificence that I can’t stomach.
What’s the goal?
The reason why this perspective gets my goat is because it creates so much unnecessary pain. The good news is that I’ve been inspired to dissect and dispel this belief about twenty times in the last month, so clearly, my audience is very, VERY ready to drop it, already. Yay!
Ok, so here’s the thing: when most people start studying LOA or any other kind of personal development techniques, they usually do so because there’s something “wrong” in their lives. They’re either missing something they want, or there’s something in their reality that they don’t like and which they can’t seem to get rid of. In other words, they wish to end the pain. And that’s all fine and good, but the problem arises when those same people think that the reduction of pain is the goal, keeping them from looking further.
A pain free life is wonderful and if you are in pain, it’s certainly going to be your top priority for now. But a pain free life is not the goal. It’s not that this is an impossible vision of perfection which is unachievable. It’s not because, as a goal, it’s too big. A pain free life is not the goal because it’s not big enough. In other words, this work isn’t JUST about reducing the pain, even though that’s what most people are focused upon.
Beyond the freedom from pain
What most people don’t realize, but what they are now waking up to, is that getting to a point where there is no pain is not the top of the scale. It’s just the middle. If you think of a spectrum of numbers representing our emotional state, with a 0 in the middle, and a positive progression of numbers shooting off to the right, from +1 to Infinity, and a negative progression of numbers shooting off to the left, from -1 to infinity, then 0, or neutral, would be the place where there is no pain.
Since most people are still living on the negative side of zero, where they are experiencing intense negative emotions, where they are suffering, it seems logical that they would make a pain free state, 0, their goal. And, while that sounds just peachy if you’re currently having a lot of difficulty (“I don’t ask for much, just make the pain go away…), what people don’t realize is that the state of “no pain”, also translates to “mediocrity”. In other words, the absence of suffering is not the same as the presence of joy. We forget about the positive side of the spectrum. We forget that there’s a life beyond zero.
You see, life, at least the way we’re meant to live it, isn’t just about pain minimization. It’s about joy maximization.
Life isn’t about pain minimization. It’s about joy maximization!
In other words, it’s about getting out of the negative side of the spectrum and into the positive side. We don’t have to stop at zero (unless it’s to take a little breather). Now, this might sound like a no brainer, but the shift in mindset required to start moving from 0 into the positive numbers when all you’ve ever known is the negative side, is profound and often difficult for people to make. When you’re stuck in suffering, you tend to fight. You have a lot of anger, resentment and possibly even rage. And that’s good. That anger will pull you out of powerlessness; it will help you get to zero. When you’re in pain, you tend to reach for relief. As you look at your options, you don’t reach for happiness, you just try to find a choice that doesn’t feel so bad, the lesser of two evils. You’re focused on reducing, minimizing and eliminating the pain.
When you’re on the positive side of the spectrum, however, actual pain isn’t really part of the game anymore. Sure, there’s still negative emotion, but it’s much milder. There’s annoyance and frustration and very short lived, tiny bursts of adorable anger (mini anger). That’s about as bad as it gets. When making decisions, you’re no longer looking for which option is less painful, but rather which choice ignites your passion more. Which option feels more awesome. Which one makes your heart sing more than the others. And just as it sometimes seems like all your options are equally bad on the negative side (“no matter what, we’re screwed”), it can often seem like all your options on the positive side are equally amazing (“I don’t know what to choose! I want to do them all!”). And that’s precisely the concept that most people who are making the shift across the zero threshold have such difficulty with.
Why is it so hard to reach for joy?
When you’re so used to avoiding pain all your life, you tend to look for pain (you know, so you can avoid it…). You’re pain-focused. You’re always looking over your shoulder, expecting things to go wrong, trying to prepare yourself for when they do and waiting for the other shoe to drop. You’re not going to get blindsided, no siree. The problem with being pain-focused is that it actually creates more pain; it literally attracts more painful experiences to you. Even if you’re only focusing on the pain in order to find the least painful choice, you’re still very pain-aware.
Once you cross the zero threshold, being pain-aware or pain-focused is really going to slow you down. You have to be joy-aware and joy-focused. Instead of looking for the option that sucks the least, you have to look for the option that feels the most awesome. And those two perspectives will feel very, very different. It can be easy to fall back on the practice that’s (seemingly) served you for so long – pain-awareness. But, when you consider that AT BEST, this kind of focus will get you to zero, to neutral, to mediocrity, and when you get it through your pretty little head that mediocrity is not a worthy goal for a kick ass creator like you, it may begin to dawn on you that focusing on the awesomeness is going to take you much, much further.
What does this mean in real world terms? It means: stop freaking settling. There’s no such thing as just “good enough”. There’s always a “better”. I don’t mean that you can’t be satisfied with where you are. You should always strive to make peace with the now. But you can love where you are and still be reaching for better.
For example, when you’re at an amusement park, you don’t sit on the rollercoaster lamenting the fact that you’d rather be on another ride. You enjoy the crap out that roller coaster while looking forward to the next ride and the one after that and the one after that. You don’t worry that the next ride might not be as good, or that they’ll run out of cotton candy, all the while ruining the experience you’re currently having. No, you assume that each subsequent activity is going to be awesome, too. You have an expectation of awesomeness.
What most people do, however, is go on a kiddie ride, not really exciting but safe, because even though they’d really rather be on the big, scary roller coaster, they don’t feel that it’s reachable for them somehow. Perhaps there are too many other people, or they don’t have enough tickets, or they’re afraid it might be just a touch too scary. For whatever reason, people talk themselves out of what they really want (or don’t even consider it as a real option in the first place), and settle for something less. They’d rather put up with mediocrity than risk going for something even better, because in their twisted logic, if they do reach for joy, they might end up with even less than what they currently have. It’s a bit like believing that if you’re riding a roller coaster, and you make the decision that you’d like to ride the even bigger roller coaster next, the dude running the machine hears you, feels insulted and proceeds to shut down the ride. That’s what you get for dreaming big, you greedy bastard.
Only, that’s not how amusement park rides work. They don’t discourage you from looking forward to the next experience. In fact, they promote it. “If you liked THAT one, wait till you see THIS one,” they’ll say. And the Universe is the same.
Reaching for a better experience will not cause you to lose out on the experiences you’ve already had. Think about it: if you have a crappy job and you decide you’ve finally had it, and you proceed to allow yourself to define and then visualize your dream career, it won’t cause you to somehow miss out on more crappy opportunities you didn’t want anyway. Sure, your job might go away to make room for a way better one, but how is that such a bad thing? After all, you have to get out of one roller coaster to walk to the next one, don’t you? For those of you who just went off on a tangent and thought “Yeah, but what if I don’t get a better job and all that fantasizing just sets me up for a huge disappointment, go read this blog post. Now. And then apply it.
You are a magnificent creative being, sent here to change the world in your own way. You were never meant to settle for mediocre. Every fiber of your being wants to reach for awesome, and when you don’t, you suffer. Stopping that suffering isn’t the name of the game, it’s just the beginning. Once you move out of pain, once you get to neutral, that’s when the real fun begins. Now you get to play. Now you get to start realizing Who You Really Are. Now you get to finally reach for and achieve all those big, lofty dreams you’ve always been so afraid to admit to.
No, it is decidedly not what it is. The physical reality around you is merely a manifestation of yesterday’s vibration. It reflects the choice you made before now. Just as the roller coaster you’re on is a result of the last choice you made. What is has nothing to do with what is yet to come, the choices that can be made and what can be created. It is not what it is. It is what it was. It is as good as you’ve allowed it to be thus far. Why not allow it to become even better?
I used to not see a way out but now being older, I think I just decided even while in the darkness that there is a way out. The pain got to be too much that my only option was to find it even through the dark. I just have never and still don’t feel suicide is an option. I guess I don’t resonate with that long term solution. I’ve finally achieved some light but it’s a work in progress.
I have to admit that I also started by minimizing pain. I guess that’s how we all start. But if you’re pain is that big and you managed to overcome it with LOA then you should realize that you have the ability for more by yourself.
After I overcome my troubles, I was like, “well, dang, what else can I do with this now?”
And that’s how it all started.
When I was in high school, I had this teacher who reminds the class almost everyday never to settle for mediocrity. She always said to us that we can always go farther than what we thought and how rewarding it is to go beyond the expectations.
when it comes to LOA the word to me is love for oneself, as the core feeling that can turn things around . When you know you can get what you want you just expect it , you do not need to fight and nor hope too much. I often realize how living my dreams would actually make me feel unconfortable somehow and the limiting belief is always related to generally not being able to deserve better. When you know you can have something meaning you konw you deserve it the next natural step for you is to get it. If I believe there are no opportunities around me that is a mere translation of me settling for a poor feeling indeed rather than something having to do with where I live. When I try to envision constructive confrontations instead of nasty ones am I actually trying to make my hopes stronger than how unconfident I feel about confrontation ..and eventually about myself ? do the most loved and respected people have a strong belief in armony or is a strong expectation of feeling loved and respected (plus the mere idea of putting up with shit just unconceivable to them) the secret of their success?. The risk when you get into the anger fase is to keep fighting against a pillow and not be able to be done with it anyway for a long time if you do not find a way of allowing yourself to go for something you know you really deserve. That is the core feeling I want to reach for..
THIS will be in my mind moving forward:
It is not what it is. It is what it was. It is as good as you’ve allowed it to be thus far. Why not allow it to become even better?
Thanks for this posting! Great reminder.
The only instance in which “it is what it is” is not horror-inducing is when Abe-hicks use it to convey the meaning of accepting what you created yesterday instead of resisting it in order to have a clean slate to create a better tomorrow. The phrases “there’s nothing you can do about it” and “you have no choice” are worse imho lol.
How can I settle for mediocrity when I have Melody Fletcher as my teacher? You’re kidding, right???!!!????? And those cats are AWESOME! You are EPICAWESOME, Melody!
OMG! I said this. I said the actual phrase “It is what it is” today – after reading this post last night! I don’t think I have ever said this before. I cannot believe I actually said it. I am going to go and sit on the naughty step for a while!! I just felt such a sense of defeat and that things won’t change because I just can’t sustain the higher vibration. It really is an awful phrase. I don’t want to say it again!
THANK YOU Melody!!! I have despised the phrase “It is what it is” since the first time I heard it. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me! And actually I haven’t even read the blog yet but I was so excited and had to comment as soon as I read what the phrase was, and thank you IN ADVANCE for what undoubtedly is a brilliant summation of why it sucks!
And just btw I think you are as awesome as you know you are. 🙂 Many of your blogs have really put some great perspective on things for me and as an avid studier of Abraham I always see how everything you say is always right on target. Keep on, sister! You are amazing!
What if settling means that the universe gave me the ESSENCE of what I wanted, but not EXACTLY what I wanted? Wouldn’t that be “settling” by definition?
Much like you are very fascinated with grey Lambhorghinis since childhood and have always pictured yourself with one but you are given a Ferrari instead.
Do you think we get EXACTLY what we want/visualize? Or do we have to “settle” for what the universe gives us, aka, it gives us the “essence”.
Both the Ferrari and the Lambo FEEL the same way..however I did not really want the Ferrari did I? hmmm!
I am very interested in what you have to say about this!
Thanks a lot Melody!
PS: I also believe a lot of your readers may have problems with this. I think it will help clarify a lot for them!
Also could you tell me how I would have theoretically manifested the Lambo instead of the Ferrari?
You don’t settle for stuff, you settle for a feeling. If a Ferrari and a Lamborghini feel the same way, then what does it matter which one you get? If it matters, they don’t feel the same way… Are you settling for feeling just ok, when you’d really like to feel amazing? That’s settling. When you try to define what would give you that feeling and you get really specific, you’re often going to be greatly limiting the flow of energy. How do you know that out of all the things in the Universe, this one THING would be the best representation of the feeling you want? You can’t know that. So, stay open to having the best possible experience, no matter how it comes. Perhaps, there’s an even better car out there for you, that you simply haven’t even heard of or considered, and the Universe knows that it will give you everything that you want, even better than the Ferrari. Only, in your insistence that it must be the Ferrari that makes you feel great, you don’t allow that in. And then, you might even get the Ferrari and you’ll wonder why it doesn’t feel as good as you’d hoped it would…
It’s all about the feeling. The stuff is secondary.
I hope that helps.
Whoa, the Might Melody Fletcher replied to me..I am the chosen one! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to reply! (Really, VERY appreciated.)
I initially wrote a long answer but erased everything when I chose to chew on what you said for a good 1 hour first and came to a conclusion about it. I think I get the gist of what you mean: even if feelings differ by VERY VERY VERY SLIGHTLY from a scenario compared to another one..then it means both scenarios are actually not the same thing. (I hope I’m right!)
Again, thanks a lot for what you do. You’re epic!
Deluxe and grande hugs to you!
Melody, you are a wee diamond.
Of all the languages I speak, English is decidedly my favourite. It has such wonderful colloquialisms such as “peeled myself off the ceiling” and “gets my goat”…hahaha! Don’t they paint such wonderfully vivid pictures when you read them? The other 2 languages that inspire similar vivid imagery for me are Japanese and Swahili – which funnily enough, are very similar. Speakers of one could easily grasp the other, even though the cultures are vastly different. This world inspires and amazes me no end.
What’s this got to do with Melody’s post? Two things:
1. I have a savagely infantile image of you peeling yourself off the ceiling Melody, while your goat gets got. On your soapbox.
Leave me alone.
2. This post and the last one (Are you in control of the Matrix or at the Mercy of it) come on the back of a deepening of understanding I’ve been having on an almost daily basis, which you have articulated on this blog many times over. A belief is nothing more than a conclusion I have arrived at and therefore, a choice. If I believe I can’t have wealth, then I am making the choice to be poor, whether or not I understand that I am. The reasons why I arrive at this conclusion are simply fuel for the original choice (however important they may seem to me). The most important word for me here is choice. We are making choices, over and over and over again with the beliefs we hold to be true for ourselves, even if WE DO NOT realize that we are. If you believe you can’t, then you (with your vibration) are making the choice NOT TO, regardless of the reasons why you believe you can’t.
THIS IS HUMONGOUS!!!!
I had an epic orgasm when this understanding truly hit me. The fact that I was making a choice with each belief, regardless of all the arguments (however valid for me) I was using to support it, floored me. People, this is EPIC! I’m not being facetious here – I am perfectly aware that beliefs have to be practiced into subconscious use and this takes time (not always though), not to mention those contradictory ones which first must be dismantled from our awareness…but if you believe something to be true for you and you acknowledge the choice you are making by deciding it is true for you, then regardless of your current reality(which arose by the same principle), the Law of Attraction(or God/Source/Universe/Nyanta-san/whatchamacallit) must bring to you that which is a match to your vibrational choice.
Everything is on the table with this! I am truly, truly not being facetious – I mentioned this on another comment but I have been having the most fun discovering synonyms of English words whose meaning has been diluted by their overuse into oblivion in our society. The day I substituted choice every time I thought of/affirmed a belief, I haven’t been able to say “I can’t or I can” without the understanding of what I was saying yes to and if this didn’t scramble your brains enough, notice how you are saying yes, IN BOTH INSTANCES!!!
This will probably sound like a joke of a question but I am serious. I have never liked roller coasters or any adrenaline producing rides. Does this mean that I am not enough of a risk taker to create? Does that mean I will always be mediocre? I have wondered about this lately. I do love the sorta scary feeling of performing in front of and audience. Will that substitute?
It’s only scary the first time. 😉
You are absolutely free to choose whatever is exciting to you. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t. You don’t have to answer to anyone except you. If it’s a good-feeling “risk” it will open you up to more good-feeling opportunities. It doesn’t make you mediocre if you don’t care to choose something like hurtling down a roller coaster track towards certain death. : ) It’s just that you’re not in the vibrational vicinity of doing that. Stick with what you love, including yourself, and you’ll always move forward and create more. I think Melody was talking more about taking the risk of knowing everything is possible.
Do not take this too literally. The roller coaster is only an example. I hate roller coasters too! And cotton candy! The roller coaster is a challenge, when you like that kind of thing. If you do not, then there are challenges in another field that you do like. You already give an example of that yourself. It is not a substitute. It is it! And that might scare the hell out of some of those roller coaster fans. I would say, go for it!
Haha. Thanks for explaining to me why I can’t stand that phrase. Not only do I dislike the phrase but I don’t use it either. It makes me nuts.
Oh my gosh I was thinking the same thing! The phrase never bothered me until my son’s dad dumped me and his mom and I were talking about it shortly and she said “it is what it is.” ???!! Then next thing I knew everyone was saying it (I probably just never noticed it before). Now after reading this post, instead of “it is what it is”, how about “it WAS what it WAS”, or better yet, “THAT IS THAT”!!
I had the same reaction to this phrase, too! It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard:
This post was so helpful; thank you Melody! I made the shift from “pain” to “no pain”, but I seem to have become comfortable in the neutral zone. As I continue to recognize what I’m really feeling, allow myself to feel whatever that is, and then reach for what feels better, I hope to shift out of neutral to full speed ahead!
Can a caterpillar have as much freedom and fun as a butterfly ?
Melody, I am grateful for the reminder
“If you liked THAT one, wait till you see THIS one.”
Love this. AH-HA moment for me for some reason.
Big thanks and bigger hugs… 🙂