What Is Is, But… – Day 66 of 365 Days to a Better You

What is is, but that doesn’t mean it’s what has to be.

This simple phrase grounds and aspires all at the same time. As far as I can tell, I coined it about 10 years ago in response to that phrase I’m sure you’ve heard,”It is what it is.”

That phrase drives me a little nuts. There’s so much laziness and resignation in it. Nothing just is what it is. We have a hand in making it that way.

What is is

Have you ever caught yourself living in the gap between what is and what you want the world or your life to be? In 2007, my wife April and I made our first visit to Hawaii. It was absolute love at first sight. We instantly decided we wanted to live there, but there were and remain a number of barriers to us living there full-time.

At one point we realized that we were so enamored with the idea living there, that we weren’t enjoying the days and the moments where we were.

For we dreamers, this is a problem. We’re always aspiring to a different, better world or circumstance. How do we remain happy in the now?

Power hack: The way I made peace with this gap between what is and what I wish were, was relatively simple. Live with love in this moment, living fully in and enjoying the now for all it has to offer. If you truly want change, though, don’t be in love with this moment. To borrow a phrase from the Bible, be in this moment, but not of this moment.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s what has to be

Here’s the good news. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing just is what it is. What a dead, uninspiring world it would be were that true. You are the engine, the action, the part of the equation that can change what is. In fact, it’s why you’re here.

What is will remain what is, if you give up or become unconscious to it. However, if you consciously take action towards what can be, things are reshaped into something better.  That won’t happen if you get stuck in the “It is what it is” mindset.

The esteemed Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, said, “Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else. The well is within us.”

Let us make peace with this moment and find our joy in it, even as we never give an inch on what we believe can and should be.

You’re all awesome! Thank you so much for reading the blog!







It Is What It Is or Is It?

“It is what it is.” Has anyone else noticed the sudden popularity of this phrase? Perhaps in this era of big fears we feel swept along by forces we cannot control. It’s become almost mantric for some people.

On the surface, this statement seems to be highly pragmatic and even a little bit wise. But, I wonder.

I’ve been paying special attention to when people use this phrase. They tend to use it in situations where they feel they have no control and have resigned themselves to an outcome. There is a subtext, “I’m powerless to change the situation,” but what comes out is, “It is what it is.”

Certainly there are things in life – despite our positive thoughts and motivated action – that we cannot change. I cannot make Monday Friday. I cannot become 10 again. However, we cannot allow the times, our circumstances, or other people to convince us that the realm of things over which we lack control is large.

“It is what it is” is actually an affirmation – even a meditation – on our powerlessness. If we choose to buy into that mindset and inhabit that space, that is what will expand in our lives. Everything will become only what it is instead of what it can be. We will see ourselves as helpless entities acted on by massive forces rather than as the amazing and powerful beings that we are.

Words have enormous power. Choose the ones you say to yourself and to others wisely.

Stay inspired!


2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”