Living Without a Parachute

The art of living without beliefs


Cedar wood two-story house with autumn leaves littering the lawn.
Accept what happens in life the same way you accept these autumn leaves falling at Evergreen. Accept - then act. Time to get out the rake!

There’s a book on my desk at the moment called Writing Without a Parachute, by Barbara Turner-Vesselago. Her premise is that writers are taught to think too much while they write. Her method helps writers surrender to the writing process. She tells them to write without a pre-determined outcome, and without revising. She suggests writers should write down the words that come, without judging them. They should get so immersed in the writing that they forget about all the beliefs they hold about writing. Just get on with it!


This is writing without a parachute.


But my question is, What would it be like living without a parachute?


What if we stopped thinking and believing and worrying so much and just got on with it?


What would happen if we let go of all the beliefs we hold about how life should be?


Common Beliefs - (Parachutes)


Here are some common beliefs (parachutes) humans hold tightly onto about life:


  • What’s happening right now shouldn’t be happening


  • Other people need to change


  • My situation would be better if I lived somewhere else


  • What’s happening right now shouldn’t be happening


  • I would be happier if I had more money


  • My religion is the true religion


  • If I ruled the world, it would be a better place


  • What’s happening right now shouldn’t be happening


As you can see, the most common belief is that what’s happening right now shouldn’t be happening! This implies that something else should be happening instead.


We believe it’s important to refuse to accept what the present moment is giving us. We believe that if we accept it – surrender to it – then life will only get worse. We have a deep-seated belief that it’s important for us to protest, to stir up emotions like anger and frustration, or to stand there and fume like a choked chimney. We believe that doing these things changes our life for the better, makes us into more righteous people, and turns the world into a nicer place. But do they?


A Split-Second Surrender Challenge


Just for a day (or an hour if you find this a difficult exercise), accept everything that happens. Don’t step into your usual reactions to events. Don’t slip into your familiar unconscious routines. Drop the tantrums. Shut your mouth. Ignore your thoughts.


In the split second that follows something “unacceptable” happening in your life, accept it.


That’s the first step.


Accept what has happened – then act.


Accept First – then Act


I could pack my working days with frustration about what happens, or about what doesn’t happen when it “should”.


Kangaroos leap across the road and give me a fright on my way to work; roadworks make me arrive late at the office; workers call in sick; clients cancel a service I’ve worked hard to implement; someone doesn’t respond to an important email; someone else borrows my office chair and I can’t figure out how to reset it so it conforms to my short body; phone calls I make go unanswered; I forget to bring my lunch; the coffee van lady takes a week off . . .


It only takes a split second of acceptance of these events to change my day from a record-breaking lava spill of emotions to one of acceptance followed by appropriate action.


Your Deepest State of Being


When you accept what is in the split second that it happens, you will notice a subtle shift in two things: how you feel; and what happens next. This is because you won’t be dragging in draining emotions to the moment, and then what you do decide to do about what has happened may be very different from what you’d usually choose. This is because you’ve opened yourself up to universal consciousness, where wisdom dwells.


When you surrender to what is, when you accept what has happened, you enter your deepest state of being.


You let go of your parachute of beliefs about life.


You stop thinking that what happens shouldn’t have happened.


Acceptance isn’t a state of mind. It’s a state of being.


The more you dwell there, the better your life will be.


With love, Marlane


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