Last night a new friend1 and I were talking. His sister is going through a divorce, and they were texting back and forth. He looked up at me and said, “I don’t really know what to tell her.”
“I do.“ I said. “She needs to ask herself…what would Laura Munson do?”
I proceeded to tell him how Laura Munson is a writer – how her most well-known piece is about what to do when faced with the unthinkable. I sent him the article, and told him to send it to his sister. He did. And today he sent me a text saying she loved it – and even passed it on to a few friends.
So…What Would Laura Munson Do?
A little back story. After decades of marriage, Laura’s husband comes home and tells her he doesn’t love her anymore and he’s not sure if he ever did. Ouch. Most women would cry, throw a fit, beg, plead, accuse him of having an affair. Not Laura. Instead, she looked him right in the eye and said “I don’t buy it”.
Talk about grace under pressure. When something similar happened to me, I think I broke every plate in our house. I’ll never forget coming home to find my ex had (not for the first time…but certainly the last) cleaned up my tantrum.
Trust me, Laura wanted to freak out and throw plates. She didn’t. And the reason why? She had made a commitment to end useless suffering. In her words, “I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.”
According to Facebook, I made my own commitment to end useless suffering on May 25th of this year.
The cessation of useless suffering begins and ends with SURRENDER.
First, you let go of outcomes. Let go of wanting things to be any other way than how they are. You accept the reality of this moment and then the next. You take full responsibility for your life. As Maezumi Roshi was fond of saying: “Take responsibility for yourself”.
You welcome every emotion and circumstance as best you can. This isn’t about avoiding reality or pretending the crisis away. Feel everything as fully as you can – then let the story (and all the associated feelings) go. 99% of our suffering in life is self-inflicted.
Finally, you concentrate only on what is within your control. Your reaction to life. We can’t choose the cards we’re dealt – only how we play the hand. When in doubt, simply do the next right thing.
Asking “What would Laura Munson do?” has been an inside joke between Frank and me for years now. Every time I get stuck in the sludge of life, every time I want to act out or get back at someone, or throw a tantrum – Frank will turn to me and say, “What would Laura Munson do?”.
That’s my cue to remember the beauty of grace – and the joy of surrender.
Want more Laura? Pick up her New York Times Bestselling Book Here:Buy This Isn’t The Story You Think It Is
- Side note, he’s a great musician and I’m listening to him play on Spotify while writing this. ↩