Whew. Since my last post, the past few months have felt like a whirlwind. Work afforded me more special projects on top of my regular responsibilities. My son’s first year in high school brought added busy-ness when baseball season hit. I had to start taking more drastic steps to deal with an aggravating knee problem – which finally got diagnosed as tendonitis. I started working on a new workshop about building contentment in one’s life … AND then, somewhere in the middle of all of this, we moved!
Yes, as if life weren’t stressful enough, we had to move in the middle of the school semester. Thankfully, we were blessed to find a reasonably-priced home in a decent neighborhood, but this cute little fixer-upper ended up needing more fixing in the beginning of our move than anticipated – more unexpected change.
On many occasions, I reminded myself that this was just temporary...taking comfort in the fact that the pain associated with change eventually passes. But there were plenty of times when the pressure of managing it all had reached a boiling point, and I really was feeling overwhelmed. Despite being a general optimist in life, reality was reminding me that this is oftentimes easier said than done…thus, when life takes you through rough patches, the real test is “are you who you say you are?”
SO, here was the universe, taunting me: “Ok, lady who likes to live with a positive attitude that everything will be alright…let’s see how well you walk the talk. Let’s see how your new found ideas about building contentment are supposed to work now?” (universal sarcasm)
Shit…I had no answer…it was a humbling process indeed, but a much needed one. What I thought I knew as some “helpful” tools to help deal with life’s challenges, turned out to be recognition that I really didn’t know how to put them into play when I needed them to. However, with lots of reflection and soul searching I came to realize a couple of things:
(1) Many people have a lot to offer in terms of wisdom, advice, living strategies or tools – just look at all the self-help books and popular psychology books out there. Everyone has an idea about “what works.” But only you can determine which belief or system resonates strongly for you…there is no singularity of “truth” on how to be or how to live your life. How you choose to live it is as unique as the individual heart and soul.
(2) We all think we know how things are supposed to work, but the real adventure in life is the not knowing. So many times when life deals us a strange set of circumstances, it’s easy to become anxious or resistant to seeing where things will go because we want a particular outcome – a positive outcome. We want things to work our in our favor. But the outcome is invested in the adventure itself – how do we handle it? Did we resist what was coming our way? Or did we just sit back (with a twinge of excitement and nervousness) and just let things play out, as nerve-racking as that process can be? The bottom-line: What can we say we learned about ourselves in the process?
(3) It’s always easier said than done. Perhaps that is a truth, lol…despite my own level of assuredness and faith that all things happen for a reason, I have to admit that it’s often easier to resort to doubt or rely on past ways of coping than to stick with a more evolved approach. I am reminded of Pema Chodron’s words, “…when you see the storm approaching, lean into it, and let it pass through you.” When you’re about to reach breaking point, those are hard words to swallow, lol, but indeed, she is talking about acceptance about our situations. And I’ve come to realize that by doing a quicker assessment of the type of storm or storms approaching, I’m better able to prepare myself for the leaning-in that will be required of me. I’ve also noticed that by not holding expectations or setting time constraints about how quickly a storm should pass allows me to just stay present and focus on experiencing the here and now.
It’s been a wild few months for me and the kids, but I’ve come to appreciate them for their wealth of teachable moments…in fact, as of this posting, we are still riding the waves (blog material for later posts J). So for now, it seems appropriate to acknowledge the learning thus far... For the constant reminder that life is not a simplistic journey but rather a process fraught with unpredictability, familiarity and the unknown.
Despite its dissonance and whimsicality, I am grateful to be on this grand adventure called life…and ever mindful to keep leaning in every step of the way.