How to avoid the Ups and Downs of life

Stuff happens in life. You’ve probably noticed. 

Stuff happens to you without your approval and beyond your control. That’s the way of it.

Yet, most of the people I talk with want the ups and downs to stop. They are searching for a way to keep life in the “up” territory to avoid the “downs”.

It happens all the time. A client is in a really high mood, tapped into his inner wisdom, riding the wave of life. …

…the following week he’s feeling much lower. His thinking shifted and he’s fighting it, wanting last week’s highs back.

It always reminds me of the Sports Illustrated curse. When a team or individual athlete is chosen to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, they inevitably take a turn for the worse.

Their performance suffers the following season, they get injured, or there is a scandal in their organization.

There are a lot of potential reasons this might happen. Maybe there is some pressure associated with making the cover that leads them to self-sabotage, or maybe there really is a curse.

But the most logical explanation to me is that life is full of ups and downs. When someone makes the cover of SI, they are obviously in an “up”. The next place to go is a little down, at least in the way our human minds define “up” and “down”.

It’s the way life works.

Managing the ups and downs

As far as I can tell, there are two ways to manage the ups and downs.

One is to stay in your house, or your little town, with your little family, doing the same things you do every day. Keep your world very small.

This helps you avoid the ups and downs because you’re living somewhere in the middle. When you have few “ups”, the waves aren’t going to look so dramatic. There’s not much to manage when you’re on the equivalent of a lazy river.

The other way to manage the ups and down is to realize they aren’t real.

“Up” and “down” are only labels you attach to otherwise harmless and subjective feelings or events.

The fear of up and down occurs when your thinking tricks you into feeling stuck in the feeling, as if it’s stable and may not change.

One feature of life is that it is made up of ups and downs—another is that it is always changing. Those “ups” are on their way out by the time you label them “up”s. So are the “downs”.

The less you cling for dear life to your concepts of how things “should” be, and accept and relax into what it, the more instantaneously the ups and downs do their thing.

The real “you”–the untouchable, clear, only-love part of you–isn’t upping and downing. She’s safe and sound, watching her personal identity go on a mini, virtual reality roller coaster ride.

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