Lately, I’ve been facing some challenges on the personal front that have put too many stumbling blocks in my way for my liking. Sometimes I felt like I was crawling through a dark tunnel with no light at the end, which led me — a girl who used to stress out if I hadn’t put up a blog post in a week — to go weeks and even months not feeling up to writing anything at all.
Even though I understand and embrace the concept of equilibrium, and being thankful for everything that happens (the good, the bad and the ugly) because it all serves us in some way — a la the Thank God I book series I’m a co-author of (Volume 3) — it got to the point where I felt like I couldn’t take any more.
Thankfully, Barry (who I’ve seen as being responsible for putting some of the roadblocks in my path) is not just challenging to me — he’s also supportive. Chalk up another lesson to Thank God I and its originator, John Castagnini.
And in one of those supporting moves, Barry passed along the pictured poem called The Life Trade by Doe Zantamata. He knew I would resonate with it, and that my recent journey has been very much parallel to it.
To me, it reinforces the concept of embracing balance in life… recognizing that there’s no up without down, no high without low, no front without back, no day without night, and no yang without yin.
And the more I look at it and feel the message, the more I admit that the challenges in life are just as important as the support, even if they don’t feel as good at the time.
Trade your Fears for Courage
Over the past year, I’ve let fear have a big role in running my life. I don’t think that fear was unreasonable under the circumstances, and it has served to allow me to grow stronger, smarter and more aware.
But the biggest bonus that has come from my experiences is a new level of courage that I never would have had before… courage to be myself, courage to nurture my self-esteem, courage to stand up for what’s right, and courage to move forward into a healthy, happy life.
Trade your Regrets for Lessons Learned
I remember when I was a kid, I heard the supposedly puzzling question often tossed around: “What is the meaning of life?” At the time, it was a profound thought. But now, I strongly believe that learning lessons — in fact, finding the success in every failure and the strength in every weakness — is the key to a fulfilling life.
You’ve probably heard people tell you to “count your blessings” or “be grateful for the good in your life.” But I find that also being grateful for the bad and the ugly, for what it taught me or how it made me stronger or better, is equally important.
Trade your Worries for Surrender
Surrendering is a tough one for me. It represents a loss of control, with no idea of what the outcome might be. But I keep thinking of what one of my yoga teachers said one day: “Hip openers are about surrender.”
Hip openers are stretches that can be painful at first, but feel so good if you just let go and let your body find its own limits. The rewards can be as great as when you “let go” during the process of conscious creation, or working with the law of attraction.
So now I’ve started to see “surrendering” not as giving up or being weak; but giving in and, again, finding strength in the situation. It might be in conjunction with somebody or something else. Or it could simply be not clinging or attaching my hopes to any one specific outcome.
Trade your Doubts for Trust
For me, it’s hard to trust a lot of things. If experience has taught me that my results don’t change in spite of my best efforts, how can I trust that the future can be different than the past? If somebody lies to me, or puts me down, or otherwise causes me pain, how can I trust them to have my best interests at heart?
And yet, if I stop trusting then I let the “outside force” win. So I’ve decided to try throwing caution to the wind, maybe even let my heart try riding my sleeve sometimes, and trust that everything will be okay… and, worse case scenario, at least I’ll learn something — so all is never lost.
Trade your Sorrows for Joy
It’s easy to feel sad when things go “wrong” or when we experience pain. The hard part is finding the joy in the midst of sorrow. But that’s exactly what our friends Yin and Yang want us to do.
It might take some searching to find the silver lining in a storm cloud, but it’s always there… and choosing to see and focus on it just might be the key to happiness.
So I think it’s more than just recognizing that life is full of joy and pain, sunshine and rain… to me, it’s about knowing that there’s joy inside the pain, and sunshine right there alongside the rain (even if it’s hidden by a cloud or two).
Trade your Anger for Compassion
Wow… this is a tough one. I don’t think anger is bad, but I do think there are healthy and unhealthy ways to express it. Unfortunately, for me, I often try to repress my anger, which only results in one of three things: Either the anger festers, adversely affecting my health… or it simmers until it feels a need to escape, emerging in passive aggressive ways… or it simply can’t take the festering or simmering, and just boils over and explodes.
Guess what… none of those options are really healthy.
However, maybe I can learn to see that anger serves me best when it’s either expressed calmly, or simply let go. Maybe I can learn to see that the things that make me angry deserve compassion instead, and that the things that cause me pain deserve forgiveness instead — both for me, as much as for anybody else.
And I think one of the keys to that is learning to more deeply Accept, and then Appreciate, and finally Adore other people, situations and things — regardless of whether they bring me challenge or support in the moment.
After all, each and every aspect of it is “perfect” and entirely valuable to a full, well-rounded, meaningful life.
Keep Unwrapping The Mysteries of Life!