5 Things We Cannot Change

I’m reading a great book right now – “The Five Things We Cannot Change” – By David Richo.
So here are the 5 things:
1.    Everything changes and ends.
2.    Things do not always go according to plan.
3.    Life is not always fair.
4.    Pain is a part of life.
5.    People are not loving and loyal all the time.
Wow! It really sums all of life up, doesn’t it?
What I really love is the subtitle – “The Happiness We Find by Embracing Them”. Because this is the real message. It’s not so much about what happens to us, it’s about how we react to it. It’s about whether or not we decide to go into resistance. Because it’s our resistance to what happens that creates all the trouble in our lives.
So let’s face it all —
1.     Everything changes and ends. That’s simply what life is about. Nothing stays the same, not moving, not growing is death. Even things that we consider “good” are going to be shifting and changing and going deeper. And actually don’t we want things to continue to change and shift? We don’t want things to stay completely the same, that would be so incredibly boring.
2.    Things do not always go according to plan. As the saying goes, “Man plans, God laughs”. We think we have control over things, the truth is we have no control over anything. Control is an illusion. The sooner we really realize that, and release the control we “think” we have, the better. There’s actually a kind of peaceful release that happens, because we spend so much time and energy trying to keep things “under control”.
I was laughing at myself at the Lima, Peru airport last week, because I was NOT remembering this. I usually have really good flight karma, but something happened on this trip. We all take different flights and meet in Lima. On my flight to Lima, we were supposed to arrive at 10 pm, instead there were mechanical problems and we arrived at 4:30 am. I had to get up at 5:30 am for our flight to Cusco, so instead of enjoying our beautiful hotel and having a good night’s sleep, I settled for taking a nice hot shower. On the way back, we walked into the airport and all the United Airlines monitors were flashing “Flight 855 Cancelled”. Although I was first in line at the Premier counter, the agents kept taking the 25 American teenagers from a group that was on my flight. The conversation they were having with everyone was that we couldn’t get out of Lima until the following evening at 11:30 pm. Many of the teenagers were crying and talking on their cell phones asking permission of their parents to pay $2300 for an earlier flight.
As I stood there, I thought about how much I wanted to be home in my own bed, spending another 24 hours in Lima, getting a hotel room, my appointment in Phoenix that I was going to miss the next day and suddenly I felt my heart starting to race. I was stunned at how in the space of 2 minutes, I had kicked into upset mode. I was standing there quietly, but my heart was racing and I was seething inside. I took some deep breaths and started talking to myself about “everything happening for a reason” and “I can’t control anything”. I was telling myself to practice what I preach!
Finally after 30 minutes of the agents dealing with the 25 teenagers, I got to the counter, breathing deeply and surrendered to my fate of getting home one day late. Instead, they got me on another flight right away, I was only 2 hours later than planned and I had a massage at the new spa I discovered in the Lima airport! By the time I got to the counter I felt great and in complete acceptance of what was happening. As I left the counter, I felt a huge wave of compassion for the tour leader who had to deal with 25 upset teenagers for another 24 hours!
We have no control, we only have control over our reaction and when we release the need for control, amazing things can happen
3.    Life is not always fair. It’s just so true, life is not always fair. But we also don’t always know what is fair until we have some perspective on something, don’t you find that to be true? If we stay focused on how unfair something is, we’re using our precious life energy on that, instead of using it on what can we do next? How can we turn these lemons into lemonade? Again, the faster we drop the judgment about what is, the faster we can move toward what is next.
4.    Pain is a part of life. Again, I’m sorry, but this is a fact of life with which we all must deal. Life delivers lots of different types of pain – physical, psychological, spiritual. What I’ve found in my own life is that invariably, the most growth happens during the times of my deepest pain. All of those circumstances led me to who I am now and though they were painful, they were so incredibly valuable. As Goethe said, “what does not kill me, makes me stronger”. We can allow something to kill us or we can allow it to make us stronger. It’s always our choice.
5.    People are not loving and loyal all the time. Why can’t people be more like dogs? My dog is always happy to see me, never lies to me and is always loyal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get the same thing from our wives, husbands, lovers, parents, children, friends, etc.? Here’s my advice — desire it and expect it and forgive them when you don’t get it. Holding grudges is a huge waste of energy — release it and use that energy for something that helps you and doesn’t hurt you.
Again, back to the subtitle – how do we find happiness in embracing these things we cannot change? How can we possibly embrace pain or unfairness or being betrayed by someone we love?
Well, the answer lies in the alternative. We can either hold onto the pain and the sadness or we can choose to have it be something that makes us stronger. We can be the person who whines and moans or we can be the person who faces life with the attitude of “bring it on”. We can choose life or we can choose death. We can choose joy or we can choose unhappiness. It’s our choice in every moment.
I know that’s easier said than done. I know it’s easy to say “choose happiness”, but it can be difficult to actually do it. I know there have been times in my life when I’ve felt such despair that I didn’t know where to turn.
If you find yourself struggling with any of these 5 things you cannot change, I urge you to come to Sedona and do a Sedona Soul Adventures retreat. If you’re an individual dealing with emotional or spiritual pain or feeling that you have no purpose, we can help. If you’re a couple struggling with disloyalty or a lack of love in your relationship, we can definitely help. Your birthright is to live a life of joy and and peace and fulfillment — if that’s not happening, the time is now to do something about it.
Click here and one of our Angel Guides will call you. Or if you’d prefer, call us toll free at 1-877-204-3664 (US and Canada). For our friends outside the US and Canada call 01 928-204-5988 or click here and one of our Angel Guides will call you.
Wishing you a week filled with joy and contentment.
Many blessings,
Debra Stangl, Founder

Debra Stangl / Founder

Sedona Soul Adventures – Transforming Lives One Soul At A Time
(877) 204-3664


Melissa says her “life changing” Soul Adventure gave her peace and clarity.

“I would recommend Soul Adventures to anyone who is looking for peace and connection. It is truly a life-changing experience that is so personal and so profound that I would urge anyone who is seeking personal growth to do this. I came away with so many gifts and insights that my life experience has truly been enriched and my perspective now comes from a place of peace and clarity.”

Melissa L., Averill Park, NY


Debra Stangl

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