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.

Friend of the Forest

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“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what things ought to be.” -William Hazlitt

An animal is born in a forest.  It has everything it needs and all it will ever use from that moment until the day it dies.  I don’t think a squirrel ever sits back at dusk and thinks about what it could’ve done with it’s life or all the opportunities it may have missed.  It simply enjoys the day.  Sometimes I envy that squirrel, but other days I don’t.  My thoughts go back and forth when I think of what my life would be without all of this responsibility, all of this abundance.  There are days when I want to freeze my life and just take a day to stop it all from happening.  Who doesn’t?  A squirrel, that’s who doesn’t.  But will a squirrel know some of the amazing experiences I have known or will know later in my life?  No.

There are days when I float through my existence feeling happy to be alive and enjoy running from one responsibility to the next.  I can even brush past traffic jams or small bumps in the road that used to make me pause in frustration.  I feel the growth.  All this hard work has taken me far.  But still, I don’t know if I am truly enjoying this life the way it should be enjoyed.  My perspective has changed, my attitude has improved and my momentum is good.  This promise to be my best self is in full swing and I feel good about where I am standing when I look behind me.  But life throws you curve balls and just when you think you have things under control, the universe will try and teach you a lesson that you are not always ready to receive.

At this point, now that my eyes are wide shut and my mind is widening, I’m able to extract more lessons from life.  There are signs and significance all around us, the trick is to open your mind to let them in.  How we receive information, and more importantly what we do and how we act upon what we learn, is what sets us apart from our animal friends.  When a squirrel runs into traffic only to run back when it realizes it will never make it across alive, it is demonstrating a smart choice.  If a squirrel had the thought pattern of some people, I think we would see more dead squirrels.  They have two choices: run or go back.  I feel pretty confident in saying that they don’t over think the process.  Humans on the other hand, have mastered the art of over thinking.  So, what are YOUR thoughts on being a squirrel?

“It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his perceptions.” -Mark Twain

I would never call a squirrel dumb.  Those smart little things have it made in the shade.

I love this life and I enjoy the abundance I have been granted.  I will continue to enjoy the goodness that I have been handed and be thankful for my life everyday.  But, that is not to say I don’t often pause and wonder what some of these lessons are about that my life seems to be throwing me.  Am I on the right path?  Have I made good decisions?   Will I continue to honor myself and make decisions that will lead me down the best path?

Life is a journey we take alone, but there is nothing that impacts us more than those we meet along the way.  There is nothing more important that spending time with the ones we love.  Even a squirrel would agree with that.

“All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.” -Samuel Butler

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