Some time ago there were a series of major upheavals to the a relative period of calm flow in my life. Looking from the outside-in and often from the inside-out these challenges seemed catastrophic on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. The place I’d considered home was mine no longer. A primary relationship that I’d thought solid imploded, shattering the veneer of what I believed it to be. Savings were dwindling fast and I’d no idea how I was going create alternative streams of income.
The outcome of a conversation with a well-intentioned friend, as I was demonstrating a less than evolved emotional response to what was occurring, was them saying “lighten up –just chill, it’ll be OK”.
“Yeah right”, I silently screamed as I continued to flip-out!
All the old subconscious programs, believed discarded forever, began to feverously clatter along familiar and deeply rutted tracks.
- How am I ever going to rebound from this? How will I survive?
- For goodness sake get a grip woman.
- You should bloody well know how to overcome this.
- You’re a hypocrite. You walk beside others supporting them as they go through the challenges of life and you can’t handle this.
- What’s wrong with you?
After a multiple series of less than en-lightened moments a couple of brighter, less intensely heated thoughts began to surface.
- The blue funk that I’d chosen to perpetuate wasn’t getting me anywhere; well nowhere I wanted to actually be.
- I needed to get a clearer perspective on what had transpired, where I was and where I was going.
Eventually I began to untwist from the foetal contortion of the mental and emotional state in which I’d placed myself.
I started to understand that not only the language I’d been using to describe those events but the self-deflating images I held of myself, in relation to them, were far from self-serving. Well, that’s not exactly true. They were extremely self-serving if I wanted to become a victim of those circumstances. However, they’d never serve me in moving towards where I wanted to be.
I’d allowed the current events of life to deliver a hefty blow to my ego’s self-image of a loving and loved, evolved individual who could handle whatever came her way.
In a moment of clarity I saw that even the word ‘rebound’ which I invariably used when describing the process of recovering from adverse life events was a double-edged sword. Although the word rebound means recovery it also denotes bouncing back after hitting or colliding with something. I began to think about how instead of colliding (like some out-of-control bumper car driver at an amusement park) with these current events I might bring myself to flow in their stream, see where they took me and what I could learn from the journey.
What were some of the nuggets of learning and remembering that enabled me to shed light on fevered moments of self-denial and self-incrimination. As I began to realign my focus and perspective to ones that I believe help us to recognize and realize our greatest potential I saw that in times of challenge it is essential to:
Cut ourselves some slack: Simply meaning the purpose of life is life itself which includes the process of realigning how we relate to all that occurs during that life… the good the bad and the ugly. Learning isn’t an endgame it’s a process. If we don’t perfect the learning all at once…. so what! Guaranteed we’ll get another opportunity.
Practice non-judgemental acceptance: Accept how we contributed to the creation of the adversity without blame (towards any of the individuals involved – including ourselves), shame or guilt and move on knowing what will work better if a similar situation presents itself again.
Hone our appreciation muscle: Appreciating and being grateful for the gifts we do have in our lives. This will be different for all of us, depending on where we find ourselves at any moment in time.
- In the situation I described I began to be grateful for all the family and friends I did have who were willing to support and encourage me.
- I began to be grateful for the fact that I had savings rather than seeing them quickly diminishing.
- I started to refocus on appreciating all the resources I had to begin again and create what I wanted in my life.
- And eventually I also saw and was grateful that this challenge was an opportunity to grow beyond the picture of a perfect life that had to some extent defined and confined me.
“We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda
Acknowledge this too shall pass: Acknowledge that in the whole scope of life, painful though any experience may be, it too shall pass. And in that passing we’ve the wonderful choice to evolve, learn, develop and grow into all that we are.
Re-craft the story of our lives: Take the opportunity of learning to re-craft, redesign, re-energize where the story of our life is going.
Surround ourselves with individuals who believe in us: There is a saying that ‘we have to do it on our own, but we don’t have to do it alone’! Although diversity and challenge is the breeding ground for growth, learning and recognizing and evolving into the person we were always meant to be it’s also key to have some cheerleaders on the side-lines of our lives. That doesn’t mean that our true friends won’t support us through challenge on occasion. It simply means that their intention and focus will be on us and not on themselves.
Be a true friend and support to others: Create reciprocal supportive and challenging friendships. Relationships, in which, like the individuals that truly support us, our intention and focus is on them not ourselves.
Take action: Take incremental or giant focused steps towards fashioning the life we do want going forward. The thing is to take intentional steps – no matter how big!
Do I always remember to intentionally focus on becoming all that I am through the above perspectives? Heck no. However, more often than not I now choose to:
- Chill my fevered chatter
- Shine the light on and be grateful for the learning
- Take action in moving towards lightening and lighting up!
When I forget I also realize there will be many other opportunities for me to do just that.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this blog.
Until next time, take care.