The Burden of Thriving in Troubled Times

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Life is amazingly persistent at teaching us salient lessons along the way. We may not always clearly recognize them, but, if you slow down, be still and let go during times that have something to teach you, there is much to be learned.

“The problem is you think you have time” -Buddha

Sometimes it takes a tragic major life event to shake things up and break the routine just enough to help us rethink our world. What seems like tragedy may actually be an opportunity. Growing and making the best in the aftermath of a terrible loss will not change what has already happened. Using a dark time as a springboard into better times will pay homage and honor those who have been hurt or lost. When faced with any type of personal tragedy you always have a choice.

Often the most essential lessons about ourselves are presented in the most somber times. These are times when we stop and reevaluate our lives, our purpose and our plan. We feel heavy and burdened, not ready to take on any of life’s obligations. And just like learning, we all grieve in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to experience a loss just as their is no right or wrong way to learn a lesson. Life has a way of being gently abrasive. Life will find a way, but we all have the choice to absorb it independently, in our own way. The point is always to just internalize it in the end. Whatever you think the lesson is, it is. Being able to see the opportunity for growth means you are on the right track.

Troubling or challenging times is the perfect juncture to question dogma. Be brave and grow in the face of hardship. Experience profound movement in times of struggle. No need to be a hero, just be one for yourself, quietly, in your private moments.

The Strength to be Happy and The Wisdom to Use Your Ruby Slippers.

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This is the part of your story when you slow down and get real. This is when you choose how you spend your energy. This is your opportunity to live on the other side of suffering.

Under the same force, two people may respond contradictory. Are you a good witch or a bad witch? We have a choice to make each time we come up against struggle and strife. And, we have a new opportunity to respond in each new moment. When you start to tally up favorable, positive moments and feel them happening in succession, gather the strength to keep that momentum going. At the same time, remember your strength and use it if you revert back to old responses. Be forgiving of yourself and show loving kindness to your heart, but demand the strength you know you possess or no one else will. Because if you’re not feeling strong when you move around in the world then it’s time to get strong and stay that way. It’s time to stop making excuses and it’s time to be in control. Are you a hero or a victim? Are you a heavy or a light? Are you strong or….

It’s time to assess and conquer…. inside. I’m not talking about a strong body, I’m talking about a strong spirit and a clever soul.  “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” -Carl Jung  Being awake can take great strength, so wake up and smell the crossroad. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and handle it.

These are not inner battles we post on social media or overthink and discuss at length with our close friends. Stop getting sucked into the abyss of competition and curiosity. Be on your own journey. Close your eyes, breathe and be still. If you went inside and checked your inner self highlight reel or your soul expressions with the frequency that you check your Facebook account and your Twitter updates then you may be able to pry off the compulsion to struggle through your every moment. It’s ok to take a moment, it’s natural to relax and rejuvenate. It’s healthy to unwind and feel pleasure and it’s even ok if no one else is doing the same or knows about it. Just do it. Let go of self-judgement, conquer the monster of comparison and stand capable in your own stability. “Comparison is the thief of joy”- Theodore Roosevelt

These inner battles are the struggles that we must process over time… silently, with great resolve and commitment. Cultivate discipline, access fortitude. Gather strength and enjoy solid valor. You have it, you just have to decide to access it. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers or the lion and his courage…. “You’ve always had the power, my dear, but you had to learn it for yourself” -The Good Witch. Just decide you are strong and you are strong.

I believe being happy takes great strength. I know that finding happiness will continue to take courage. I think that being happy and satisfied is nothing to hide or be ashamed of.  There is no worthy prize for proving you are the one who suffers the most or has the hardest life. Complaining and bellyaching, sour moods and melancholy are the tools of the powerless. We should never forget or cease to respect how fragile we all are, but no one in the world is going to be as concerned about your moment-to-moment indulgent negative whimsy as you are yourself. And honestly, it’s usually the strongest spirits who experience the most suffering that seem to show the bravest and most unbroken fortitude. They are my heroes and the only ones I will look to for guidance.

If you want to be in my thoughts then make them better, not worse.

Open Eyes See More

Once your eyes are opened and you learn to fully understand when your heart speaks to you, there is no more ignoring that delicate, distinct heart-mind connection. You can’t unlearn and you can’t unfeel. Inside your being there is a whole new conversation going on. This is a capability we can achieve by being human, by being evolved and wise. The ones close to you who recognize that type of subtle shift in your personal evolution and encourage you to explore it are the ones with whom you know true loving kindness. When you stumble upon others who have discovered this inner bond as well, be grateful, join hands and move forward with them. This is an instinct that is inside us all but is only enjoyed by some.

In your mind, you sort through thoughts and observations. Our mind allows us to gather knowledge, gain intellect and review evidence. Inside our head we can observe reality with objectivity and then our hearts help draw conclusions. Our brains examine, observe, and inspect material to be processed by the heart. This process can be fluid and gentle or it can be burdensome and problematic. The choice is ultimately yours. The bridge between the heart and mind is both tender and profound.

The Kabbalah says that the mind is cool like water and the heart is hot like fire. The mind is a calm investigator and the heart is a passionate, living soul.  This yin and yang within each of us creates a constant struggle to find the balance necessary to be at peace. Each of us has a masculine (mind) and feminine (heart) side to negotiate life’s experiences. When you discover the bridge between these two parts of yourself, it is much like finding your soulmate. These two sides can come together and compliment one another in harmony if this bridge is constructed with love and understanding within yourself. And finding your soulmate is one of life’s miracles. If you believe there can be a coming together within your self that is equal to experiencing the love that lives in fairy tales, then there is hope for you to truly fall in love with yourself and enjoy peace. When you understand that a balanced connection between your heart and mind is essential to becoming your best, most peaceful self, then your soul is ready to flourish. Just as a truly loving relationship can bring you comfort, a sincere heart-mind connection can lead to inner peace.

The process of learning to negotiate matters between your heart and mind can be demanding. The journey to grow and discover yourself can be unpredictable. But, I will never look back and I will always be grateful for having the strength to begin a journey to find more happiness. I didn’t know I needed to take the journey until I was on it.

“Wake Me Up”

By Avicii

 

Feeling my way through the darkness

Guided by a beating heart

I can’t tell where the journey will end

But I know where to start

They tell me I’m too young to understand

They say I’m caught up in a dream

Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes

Well that’s fine by me

So wake me up when it’s all over

When I’m wiser and I’m older

All this time I was finding myself

And I didn’t know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world

But I only have two hands

Hope I get a chance to travel the world

But I don’t have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young

Not afraid to close my eyes

Life’s a game made for everyone

And love is the prize

Just because the lesson is clear, and even important, doesn’t mean everyone in the class will succeed. But, the lesson remains accessible to anyone who chooses to pay attention. The journey itself is up to you.

On Perspective

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Most soul searching is sparked when things go wrong.  It often takes a dark patch to inspire the pathfinder in us.  The ability to find strength and opportunity to grow in the midst of hardship shows fortitude and spirited character.  We can find ourselves feeling lost and confused in any kind of situation.  It’s about perspective.  It doesn’t always takes true dire straights to feel truly out of balance.

Not everyone has the means to fly to Italy and India to eat their way to the pleasure of nourishment and pray their way to inner peace.  Some of us have to find balance within the context of our comfort zones, no time to take a step out and make changes.  We have families and homes that need our attention and time.

The truth is, we hold all the tools we need to change our path right where we stand.  The way I feel at the end of a good yoga class is often the same way I feel at the end of a great vacation.

I’m learning to find balance and add peace to more moments in my current existence.  I’m weaving peace into the chaos of daily life.  Eventually there will be so much peace that the chaos will no longer have as much power.  This is my choice.  I have to make that choice in each moment.

I’m a mom of young daughters and most of my time is taken up serving the needs of others.  There is nothing else I’d rather be doing at this point in my life, but that being said, this is no easy task.  My own needs often go unmet and although I happily give myself to my family, even the most giving mother will struggle with this from time to time.  I’m finding myself being pulled toward wanting to take an inner journey at this stage in my life, but I just don’t have the time to devote to focus on myself.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time to focus on myself that I feel this pull, but I feel it nonetheless.  So, it’s my onus to balance this life that needs my full attention with my own need to go inside and do some searching.

Even if the scale tips heavy toward my family responsibilities in this moment, my perspective needs to remain unobstructed.  There is no need for a self indulgent journey around the world for inner peace when I can gently pull at the threads of peace and work them into my life right now as best I can.  I will find them, weave them in and watch them become more and more prevalent.

When the time is right the threads will become thicker and more abundant, but there will be plenty of time for that later and I can wait.  The truth is that what seemed to be a dark patch is actually a shining light of hope and abundance.  Change your perspective, change your life.

Orange Rose

myhappypromise

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