Some years ago I made a very conscious decision to get off the treadmill of life and start really living my life. To that end, I actively sought out and embraced a different perspective of looking at the world and a spirituality that was deeply rooted in everything I did and not just an outfit I put on to attend an hour service once a week.
I was insistent that whatever I took on be practical and applicable to daily life and not something whose cost made it a burden or whose practice was elaborate and/or unsustainable.
I am a million miles away from where I began.
But it does not mean that I do not still have tough days or that I do not sometimes struggle. It does not mean that I am perfect or don’t make mistakes. It does not mean that I do not sometimes feel depressed. I can say that my times of self-doubt and depression are far less than what they used to be but my mistakes are dead on even … perhaps even increased because I am willing to try so many things and my thirst for learning is greater.
Choosing a more holistic approach to life is not a shield against tragedies and difficulties, any more than choosing a more holistic approach to health is a shield against illness. It definitely can help, but it is not a 100% guarantee.
I have better tools. I have a better chance of minimizing the impact . . . its toll and its duration but I cannot eliminate it.
What I have done is tried to sit down with those moments. I embrace them, in that I accept they are part of life and there is much to learn from them. I am not angry, I am not worried … I just let them be. I find that once I stop fighting so hard … denying and trying to avoid it all … they cease to be the huge issues I thought.
Thinking seems to cause most of my pain. I take ordinary situations and make them into “be all end alls.” “If I don’t get this part it will be the end of the world, it will mean I am not good enough.” If I don’t engage that thought process than the situation is just a situation that I participated in and its outcome only impacts me in relation to what I may or may not be doing for the next 3 months. It is no different than my going to the store to shop and picking up a type of cereal and how that impacts what I eat for breakfast for the next week. I think the value into place and attach the meaning onto it, and by doing so, I create my own happiness or unhappiness.
This is a powerful realization.
It means I can control my life. I can control it by the way I take in and think about whatever happens to me. I can make it all good and wonderful . . . or I can make it awful.
Everyone’s life has dashes of health issues, deaths of loved ones, disappointment, failure, money issues, failed relationships, family problems, tragedies … All these things are part of life.
In the end, it will not be life that has been cruel, it will be my perspective in interpreting it that has been cruel. I will have to face that all the unhappiness I suffered, I did to myself.
There was a time when things that happened seemed to control my life and I was in a lifeboat in a raging sea clinging to the side praying for help from some benevolent outside force. Now I understand I am the lifeboat and the raging sea. I am not powerless and the benevolent power is within me. I control that sense of powerlessness. I am the one who separated everything by accepting all the messages in life we are taught through our parents, our churches and our schools. What that realization has done for me has allowed me to remove a ton of weight and distraction and be able to stand in the place I am meant to be. With that shift has come a desire to empower others to also understand they are not powerless, to eliminate their own fears by taking responsibility for the limits their way of thinking has imposed on them. It is a desire to see a different world … a world where we can all say …
I. Just. Am.