Published March 19, 2017
culture , dailyom , learning , life
Tags: challenge, culture, dailyom, learning, life, people, relationships
We tend to gravitate toward people who are the most like us, at least in the ways that make us feel comfortable. But life has its way of bringing us into contact with people who challenge us with their differences. It may be an obvious difference reflected in their outward appearance or an invisible but powerful philosophical stance, but even in our closest circle of friends and family, there are those that confront us with their different ways of experiencing and expressing life. We can choose to resist , but we can also choose to learn from them and appreciate that they too have a place in the kaleidoscope of life.
As much as we may say that we want peace and quiet and a life without struggle, the truth is that human beings are, at this time, thriving in a world of dualities and challenges. It is how we choose to approach these hurdles that determine if we sail over them, confirming our agility, or trip and end up face down in the dust. And each of us absolutely will and must stumble, and then get up, brush the dust off and carry on. This is how we learn and grow, developing depth of character and shades of understanding. In a world of dualities, we have trouble defining ourselves without something opposite, and can’t discover who we are. Without challenge, there is nothing to do and nothing to discover. That leaves us either in a state of non-being or the state of pure spirit, but as humans, we are spiritual beings experiencing the physical world in all of its startling contrast and beauty.
No matter how spiritual we are, our lives will have challenges. We will always run into people that are different that we are, but the true challenge may be in finding ways to be at peace with this process. Rather than give in to the fight or flight response that comes from our animal nature, we can find new ways to evolve together into higher more beautiful expressions of ourselves, realizing, embracing and celebrating the beauty of diversity and the strength it offers for the future.
Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in North Dakota putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Illinois.
There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven’t found our life partner. This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn’t really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.
We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions—ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.
Published August 20, 2015
dailyom , learning , life , psychology
Tags: challenge, dailyom, emotion, focus, learning, life, psychology, self, strength
Our capacity to cope successfully with life’s challenges far outstrips our capacity to feel nervousness. Yet in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to an event that we believe will test our limits, we can become nervous. While we may have previously regarded ourselves as equal to the trials that lie ahead, we reach a point at which they near and our anxiety begins to mount. We then become increasingly worked up, until the moment of truth arrives and we discover that our worry was all for nothing. We are almost always stronger and more capable than we believe ourselves to be. But anxiety is not rational in nature, which means that in most cases we cannot work through it using logic as our only tool. Reason can help us recognize the relative futility of unwarranted worry but, more often than not, we will find more comfort in patterns of thought and activity that redirect our attention to practical or engaging matters.
Most of us find it remarkably difficult to focus on two distinct thoughts or emotions at once, and we can use this natural human limitation to our advantage when trying to stay centered in the period leading up to a potentially tricky experience. When we concentrate on something unrelated to our worry – such as deep breathing, visualizations of success, pleasurable pursuits, or exercise – anxiety dissipates naturally. Meditation is also a useful coping mechanism as it provides us with a means to ground ourselves in the moment. Our guides can aid us by providing us with a focal point wholly outside of our own sphere.
The intense emotional flare-up you experience just before you are set to challenge yourself is often a mixture of both excitement and fear. When you take steps to eliminate the fear, you can more fully enjoy the excitement. Though you may find it difficult to avoid getting worked up, your awareness of the forces acting on your feelings will help you return to your center and accept that few hurdles you will face will be as high as they at first appear.
We all go through times when we wish we could press a fast-forward button and propel ourselves into the future and out of our current circumstances. Whether the situation we are facing is minor, or major such as the loss of a loved one, it is human nature to want to move away from pain and find comfort as soon as possible. Yet we all know deep down that we need to work through these experiences in a conscious fashion rather than bury our heads in the sand, because these are the times when we access important information about ourselves and life. The learning process may not be easy, but it is full of lessons that bring us wisdom we cannot find any other way.
The desire to press fast-forward can lead to escapism and denial, both of which only prolong our difficulties and in some cases make them worse. The more direct, clear, and courageous we are in the face of whatever we are dealing with, the more quickly we will move through the situation. Understanding this, we may begin to realize that trying to find the fast-forward button is really more akin to pressing pause. When we truly grasp that the only way out of any situation in which we find ourselves is to go through it, we stop looking for ways to escape and we start paying close attention to what is happening. We realize that we are exactly where we need to be. We remember that we are in this situation in order to learn something we need to know, and we can alleviate some of our pain with the awareness that there is a purpose to our suffering.
When you feel the urge to press the fast-forward button, remember that you are not alone; we all instinctively avoid pain. But in doing so, we often prolong our pain and delay important learning. As you choose to move forward in real time, know that in the long run, this is the least painful way to go.