This too shall pass…

It seems that every day life puts lots of little speed bumps in front of us that we have to navigate.

Slowing down forces us to be more present in the moment

Usually we just have to slow down to ride them out and get past the inconvenience.  How we handle the bigger life events that come toward us requires a different way to drive through that part of your journey.

I have been blessed with amazing love and support from family and friends throughout my life who have inspired me to try and live in balance always mindful of the bigger picture. Whether its job, health or emotional matters, getting through the deeper valleys and potholes on our trip requires a few skills that no one really teaches us. We have to learn them through experience, observation and self-awareness.  I don’t pretend to have any special wisdom in these matters but sharing a few practical ideas might be of help to someone riding along a bumpy path.

Here are three of these lessons that I have learned in my first 57 years of life…

A balanced approach can bring perspective 

Take a few deep breathes because this too will pass:  When something difficult occurs to us it is often how we chose to experience it that determines what occurs. I love to try and quickly get to a place that ask, “how will I feel in one day, week, month or year about what just occurred?” Perspective is a powerful habit that gives you the ability to not hyper focus on this one piece of your life that has taken a wrong turn. My mantra is that this too will pass allowing me to realize that if I just breathe into the experience, I can find my way out. Try and reduce some of the pain and anguish by seeing things from a bigger perspective than this moment. Be in the moment so you can feel it but by focusing on breathing, you can help transition your way through the sadness. I just keep repeating to myself that this too will pass, this too will pass, this too will pass…and over time it usually does.

There is another path to travel
What is the worst thing that can happen? I love this question because it forces me to go into the experience and dive headfirst into my fear.  It is like asking, “What are you so afraid of?”  I come from a long line of worriers so some of my own anxiety is baked into my DNA. Forcing me to describe my greatest fear is a great action to take because giving voice to those fears allows you to take a recent event and see it in the light of day. My worst fears are often the product of my overactive mind not the real life experience. Often my fear is as bad as the event itself. Sometimes the fear can overwhelm you but when you can separate the actual experience from the fear, you can move past it.

See the bigger picture and search for the good in each experience
How can I find the good in what just happened? This is another powerful challenge to your own self-doubt and difficulty. It reminds you that in just about all of life’s experiences, there is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity to be found. I don’t want to trivialize serious personal injury or violence that does occur in this world. The silver lining that can shine a light on your life and sense of your awareness can be how others come to support you in your time of crisis. If I sit quietly, I like to think of being on a screened in porch being present with the experience. I like to try and filter out through the screen all of the negative parts of the experience- and see if something positive can be found. Often, what remains is a new lesson and a fresh way to view what happened. Sometime I find a new strength from living through the experience.

 I hope that these are three useful reflections that can be like a personal GPS system to help put you back on your path forward. 

Blog recommendation: I highly recommend the blog Zen Habits by Leo Babauta whose simple ideas are wonderful reminders of how to find some peace in the chaos of our modern lives.