Sometimes, when we are in the thick of it all, it is hard to remember that “this too shall pass”. I am reminded of it not because things are difficult, but in fact because I am happy, but this past year hasn’t always been so. As another birthday approaches I become reflective about all that has transpired, all the unknowns met and handled, and ways that I was and am, tested by living life.
As I reflect on this year, here are some of the small nuggets learned, of a life that continues to transition.
1. The hardest part of change is the action step.
Yes, putting together your thoughts, bringing together the facts, listening to your gut, it all takes time and you may even lose some sleep over it. Once made though, you must act and that’s where it can get sticky. Doubt, fear, opposing opinions can get in the way, but once you make those first action steps forward, momentum will carry you through.
2. Your journey impacts others, but is not a reason to stop.
It has taken a year and a half for my daughter and I to recover our relationship. Doing what was right for me, even though I knew it would cause her pain. Her pain was my pain and yet it did not change what I needed to do for my emotional survival.
I could practice empathy for her, even in the midst of the storm of anger and hurt she felt towards me. It challenged me, but it did not break me. I will never know exactly what it is that she felt, because I have not experienced the situation from an (adult) child’s perspective. All I could really do was continue to love her unconditionally and give myself the same.
3. You will lose some friends and you will find others in unexpected places.
I don’t know why some people step away in the midst of an other’s pain, but it happens. It’s not just that people are busy, it is the rawness and depth of emotion that scares some I think. It shines too bright a light on things we’d rather not see.
On the flip side, are the people who appear as if called by the gods to step in, to hold space for exactly where you are. They might be old friends whom you have fallen out of touch and resurface at just the right time. Or others who have been on the edges of your world and arrive to give of themselves, if only just awhile. Sometimes, new friendships occur simply because you are both traveling the same waters. We have no control over the loss of friendships, but we do over the forging of new. Experience has taught me to accept both for what they are.
4. Let go of the old story to make room for the new.
There are many things I thought I knew about myself, about who I am and what defines me. I have rewritten some of it as I realized not all of it was accurate. Some came from past relationships, including family, that are no longer a part of my life. Every challenge, every obstacle, every new experience gives me the option to cling to old definitions or to create new ones.
5. Make room for fun, wonder and time off.
A close friend, who is willing to tread the deep waters of self-reflection with me, will from time to time tell me to “lighten up”. Sometimes I bristle at this, and then I realize , there is a season for all things, including lightheartedness. Where we put our attention is what we will see.
On a memorable road trip in May of this year, I made room for just that attention. As a result I found myself laughing at the billboard combining two messages that looked like one. McDonald’s Winery. I thought – aha – new branding – a happy meal for children and adults! Then there was the sign that said “sleds in stock” in a hardware store in Birmingham, Alabama. As a Canadian, one just has to wonder about the demand for that item.
Down time, alone or with others, is important to re-energize and build on all that life has to offer. Take it in moments, or hours or days, but take it.
Recently I have had the pleasure of spending time in the country. Once again I have enjoyed seeing fireflies, the night sky and even a spectacular falling star.
Open to the moment and yes, this too shall pass. In the meantime we can see, feel and live “this”. “This” is life, and how fortunate we are to be given the choice, every day, of what we make of it.
In that spirit, I am taking a holiday and won’t be posting anything again until early August. Until then, I hope that wherever you are in your life, you will hold fast to “this too shall pass” and either rejoice in the moment or keep the faith in your ability to see it through.