Through New Glasses
Several years ago, I built a house as an “owner-builder,” project manager, and site forewoman. From sorting out problems, materials not delivered on time, tradespeople having bad days, things not being straight, windows the wrong size, schedule in chaos, etc., it’s no wonder many people find building a nightmare and swear never to do it again. But, I looked at it differently.
Life is an adventure
When things go wrong or are particularly challenging, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Maybe you just want to scream or throw it all in and run away, never to come back. For most things though, that is not an option.
Whatever your situation, take a step back internally to get some distance from the drama, breathe and remind yourself that overall life is an adventure. It did not come with an instruction manual. There was no roadmap. No equipment list for the journey. No idea what would happen on the way. All you knew was that you had to do the best with what you got.
Faced with difficulties, you have a choice. You can see them as catastrophes or as problems in need of a solution, obstacles to overcome, or roadblocks requiring a detour. Mountaineers, explorers, and even inventors all experience hardships on their way. Life’s adventure is not always straightforward and may include much suffering. But bravely marching on to the next phase is still a possibility.
The only certainty is change
Buddhist sand mandalas are a perfect illustration of that viewpoint. On a horizontal, flat surface, intricate patterns are composed of different coloured sands. When the mandala is finished after many days or even weeks, a sacred honouring ceremony is conducted. The sand painting will be gently brushed over, the multi-coloured sand collected and poured into a river or another place of meaning to the monks. What a metaphor for life.
When things change in your life, know that a new phase is there for you to begin. What it will bring is uncertain, the outcome unknown, and the journey not yet apparent. But if you don’t resist the change and instead accept it with flexibility and open-mindedness, it will lead you into new adventures.
Treasures can be found everywhere
People bouncing back from adversity often say they didn’t know they had such strength in them. Many survivors of life-threatening illness or accidents go even further by saying it was the best thing that could have happened to them. Not only did they discover new capabilities in themselves, but experienced a shift in their attitudes and values. “Sweating the small stuff” is not as important as it used to be, they learned to appreciate the positive in their life no matter how insignificant it may seem to others.
Every challenge contains the seeds for treasures. Building my house the way I did not only gave me a home but also contributed to my personal growth. For example, taking full responsibility for myself and the process, accepting my choices and making decisions (up to 144,000 according to some statistically minded people), keeping calm under challenging circumstances, standing up for myself, and much more.
When you are in the midst of crisis, remember it will pass or at least diminish. See the drama as a hiccup you can overcome. Give it your best shot and persist. Afterwards take stock: What treasures has the situation brought or may bring in the future? Even great loss contains the seed for something good. Look inside as well as outside.
Don’t forget to enjoy life’s lighter moments.
* Please See Our Disclaimer Below *
Find great products and services for your well-being from members of The Wellness Universe!