Many of us long to live in a state of unshakeable tranquility. What I’ve come to realize is that tranquility is unshakeable ONLY when I’m unattached to outcome, when I’m willing to roll with whatever’s happening. “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.” Resisting is what causes my suffering and shatters my tranquility – resisting pain makes pain more painful (not to mention, what I resist persists!)

This is an ongoing learning for me. Everyday I go for a nature walk behind my house and enjoy the peace and beauty along the way…that is…until I get to a certain house where a scrappy little ridge-backed dog charges out into his yard, with teeth bared, barking fiercely at me. When I get near that house I start to cringe and thoughts creep in like “Drat that little devil dog! He destroys my peaceful walk!” Even when he’s not there I brace myself in anticipation of his barking barrage.

When I recognize that it’s my resistance that is causing my distress, I take deep breaths and affirm: “I am willing to hear the dog bark. I am willing to feel whatever feelings come up about it. I am willing to be present with the barking dog and all my feelings. I am willing to feel peaceful even if the dog is barking.” My whole body relaxes and peace is restored.

I now see that the little barking dog is training me to enter the state of unshakeable tranquility. He’s not the devil after all, he’s my little furry adversity angel! And my daily walk is not just a peaceful foray in nature – it’s a soul workout where I’m learning to relax my resistance and strengthen my willingness to be present with whatever’s happening.

This is my continuing learning on my cancer journey. Three years ago, after completion of my chemo and radiation treatment when the doctor told me the tumor had been reduced but not eliminated, I wrote this: “Right now I’m in a place of willingness – I am willing to be present with whatever comes up. I am willing to feel whatever feelings are here. I am willing to experience complete healing. I am willing to experience death. I am willing.”

That is the ultimate freedom from suffering - being willing to chill with any ill, flow with any blow, and bend with what life sends. AND, also being willing for everything to work out even better than I can imagine (so far, this has been the case with my cancer journey).

Here are some practical steps I’ve learned that help loosen the grip of resistance and foster unshakeable tranquility:

The first step is to NOTICE that you feel worried, uptight, and stressed out about something that happened, is happening, or might happen. This is the most important step because it shines the spotlight of awareness on what’s happening inside you and shifts you to an aware, witnessing level of consciousness.

Now notice where you are holding tension in your body and let yourself be fully present with that resistance (it’s important not to resist the resistance).

Next, take a deep breath and let it out slowly (resistance is usually accompanied by shallow breathing).

Acknowledge what it is you’re resisting (example: “The dog is barking.”)

Then affirm, “I am willing to be present with whatever is present. I am willing to feel all my feelings about it.” This is surrendering to what is. You are no longer braced against it but are now embracing it.

As we come into harmony with whatever is happening we are living in a state of unshakeable tranquility. That’s the state I want to live in! How about you?

Author's Bio: 

Janet Jacobsen is the author of the book Oh No, Not Another ‘Growth’ Opportunity! An Inspirational Cancer Journey With Humor, Heart, and Healing. To read more of Janet’s FREE, uplifting, entertaining, and informative essays, as well as the first 4 chapters of her book, go to