Thursday, August 23, 2012
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”~ Bernice Johnson Reagon
Ever have one of those instances happen? You are coasting along, and things are actually feeling pretty good. Your confidence is high, and you have direction, enthusiasm, and winds of good fortune. Then the ocean swells, and in an instant your little boat nearly capsizes. You didn’t even see it coming. It was a clear day! But now you are using your best maneuvers, holding on tightly, praying, sweating, and doing everything to keep panic at bay.
Several times in my life I had experienced similar storms, and for some reason I figured that once I just learned a little more, became a little more skilled, a little less fearful, and a whole lot stronger … once I learned the magic secret of life, in other words, maybe then I could enjoy smooth sailing forever. A pay-off for all my many struggles would surely be in the cards, wouldn’t it?
But life is not like that. It continues to bring the elements, as new joys and challenges ebb and flow. My hope for the reward for passing the toilsome tests became a blatantly obvious fantasy.
The real rewards from facing life’s hurdles are strength and personal growth, and there is no end-point while we are still alive; there is just more ebb and flow bringing richer enlightenment and deeper personal empowerment. What we thought was a mountain yesterday soon becomes a little hill, as new mountains stand before us.
Susan Jeffers’ observance of fear in “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway,” can be just as accurately applied to challenge and adversity. “The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.” While this might sound terribly depressing, she goes on to offer a solution: “The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.” Similarly, the only way to get through challenges is to embrace and not resist them. Be awake and ready when challenge comes. Don’t get lazy, expecting challenge to never arrive on your doorstep. Learn to handle them with a dose of YOU courage! Aim to show ’em what you’re made of! Allow them to grow your soul, sharpen your mind, and strengthen your will.
Wayne Dyer said, “What you resist persists,” so rather than losing your cool and your balance when the waves come, allow them to show you your own might.
So here I was, thinking I had learned all this, and yet I found myself unprepared and caught completely off guard once more. When the waves were calm in my life, I became lazy, floating around like a jelly fish, allowing the gentle waves of good fortune to lull me into oblivion. When the storm came I was unprepared – asleep in the blissful unconsciousness of smooth waters.
Life brings us seasons of challenge and ease, and our brains were never meant to go to mush during our waking hours. That’s what sleep is for. We need mental, emotional, and physical strength to face each day, and the only way we can maintain that is by regular practice.
1. Journal and meditate for spiritual guidance, so that I can draw from a greater source of wisdom than my own conscious mind. I acknowledge that I need this help daily.
2. Eat well, and get in at least one walk and/or bike ride. My body feels better when it gets nutrition and exercise.
3. Have a to-do list, and review it in the morning and afternoon. Be proactive in accomplishing goals.
5. Connect with others. Be intentional about offering kindness either by words, deeds, or just with full, authentic presence.
7. Be audacious!
Wake up, Jellyfish! Life was never meant to be lived on auto pilot. It is meant to be engaging and grand, and we are meant to embrace it – all of it!