I tried to convince one skeptical friend to play the worm game but they weren't interested. After a bit of nagging on my part, they relented and gave in. They wrote down the number 100.; they asked for 100 worms to show up in a month. That's a lot, but, ok. After 30 days, I asked my friend how many worms he'd gotten. He told me 80...80 worms had appeared out of nowhere. it wasn't the full 100, but 80 unexpected worms is a lot of worms! I was very surprised...shocked, really...that he didn't want to play the game again. I mean, after all, he had received 80 worms....
As it turns out, most of us (frogs and humans alike) are comfortable with a certain amount of money, worms, health, happiness, etc. Some of it is, I think, social conditioning. We're taught at a young age to not expect too much...of anything. Now, I don't think our loved ones do this to keep us from expecting a lot from life; they do it in order to sheild us from pain and and loss. If you learn to not expect much, you're never disappointed. The problem with this line of thinking it that it makes us settle for a mediocre life; one with less happiness than we are entitled to.
I have often written about thoughts and how they create our reality. But I had never really thought about how our negative thoughts can prevent us from attining happiness. If you're like me, you've probably read lots of inspirational books, chanted mantras and affirmations...all in an attempt to get to that "sweet spot," that place we like to call happiness, joy, or bliss. Unfortunatey, when we try to to force our psyche into believing that we can be happy, that we can attain a sense of safety and well-being, all we end up feeling is the force, not the the safety or happiness we were trying to attain. "Then we get the whiplash effect as our brains belch up a double dose of pessimism," so says life coach Martha Beck. Miss Beck goes on to say that the key is to accept loss (what, only 80 worms came to me? I asked for 100!) with out resistence. Just accept it and be grateful.
Now it would seem that accepting loss would make our lifes worse but, in reality, the opposite happens. With nonresistence, we raise the ceiling on our happiness level while, at the same time, reducing our pain when things don't go our way. If you look around, you'll probably notice that all creatures are able to enjoy; dogs wag their tails, kitties purr; even us frogs ribbet and hop with delight. Only humans, however, become attached to this feeling and immediately start obsessing over future enjoyment and even fearing it's loss. And that's BEFORE it ever happens! Animals, on the other hand, take joy as it comes. They might wait, for a bit, for the other shoe to drop, and certainly it sometimes does, but they eventually allow their happiness to settle in and they go about living life. Humans might be well served by taking a few basic doggy command lessons:
1. Here - Take yourself to a place of happiness; make a list of all you're grateful for, take a walk in nuture, etc. It doesn't matter, just do something that makes you happy. Make a list of the positive things in your life and tell yourself that these things will, indeed, keep showing up in your life. Not only that, but they'll keep getting better and better.
2. Sit - Every time you feel yourself drifting away from your inner happiness, sit still and watch your inner turmoil. Just observe it as it ebbs and flows. Then, gently bring your attention back to your happy place; a place of safety, security, and joy.
3. Stay - This is the hardest command for humans to learn. It involves detattchemnt. And letting go is never easy. When you learn to "stay" in that open-hearted place of nonattachement, ie accepting of whatever happens to you, you set yourself up for bigger and better things to come into your life.
I was happy with the 35 worms that appeared in my life. But I know that I can acheive much more. And I don't just mean more worms. I am paying closer attention to my happiness set point and I work everyday to raise the bar. But I also am willing to accept the losses that will inevitably appear. Playing the worm game isn't really about getting more worms. It's learning that hope isn't dangerous; that it's good to hope for wonderful things in our life, but that we must also be able to accept life, and still feel happy, even when those things don't happen. Good and bad have a way of balancing themselves out. And learning nonattachment will significantly reduce the pain, and fear, and disappointment when the "worms" don't show up.