Where the wind meets the road.
It’s where we live. In a less than idyllic, but moderately functional place.
Be honest. Life is a blur. Most days you’re lucky if your shoes have visual harmony — much less your soul. There aren’t enough hours in the day and your to do list would make even a next generation robot cringe.
That’s life for most of us. We’re consumed trying to manage schedules that are overloaded, needs that are unfulfilled, and people who need us. The only other thing we can do is clutch whatever remains of our sanity.
Maybe you’re a superhero. Life is a breeze — you can be fully functional day in and day out on 3 hours of sleep, you don’t drink coffee, all your meals are homemade, and your marriage, your children, and your self worth is all firmly intact.
Kudos to you.
For the rest of us, perhaps you can keep it going for a month, or a few years — but you lose focus. Problems seem insurmountable and solutions seem impossible. Instead of appreciating the greatness of the world, you get swept up in the minutia.
Minutia. It robs you of your joy. It robs you of your peace. It robs you of your ability to live. As much as living is about getting things done, it’s equally (if not more so) about experiencing and appreciating the beauty and glory of the people and things around us.
Think back. If the last time you were able to appreciate life properly was over 6 months ago…..it’s time to get your life in back in focus.
Years ago, I read an article written by Mary Lou Quinlan about her mother’s love. She describes her mother as a deeply spiritual and loving person who used a God Box. Her mother would write down prayers, and “lay the prayers down to God”, by putting them in a box. After her passing, Mary was going through the house, and found all of the God Boxes her mother had kept through the years. What she discovered inside were the prayers her mother prayed for her children, for her family, and their future. She shares her experience of going through those boxes, reliving her past triumphs and failures, through the eyes of a woman who loved her with a perfect unconditional love.
That article convicted me on 2 fronts.
1. How often do I really relinquish my worries?
I don’t think of myself as a chronic worrywart — but quite often I’m meditating on my problems instead of focusing on the solution. Many times, the resolution is out of my control…but that doesn’t stop me from ruminating on the possible implications of each and every possibility.
2. Are my problems bigger because I don’t deal with them?
I vocalize my problems… a lot. Not to everyone, and not all the time — but I use my trusted circle of friends to vent; it’s a necessary part of my coping process. The only problem is, venting doesn’t abate the core issues.
In reality, my problems were never really solved…they were shifting. Because I never wrote them down and I never got specific about what the issues were. Anxiety became commonplace. The act of writing down your problems and relinquishing them to a God Box (or anywhere really), was a powerful catharsis for me because it prevented my mind from ignoring my progress.
How do you shift your life into focus? How do you make things clear?
Life Span Check – Will this period of struggle matter to you when you’re 80? Will it just be a blip on the radar? I’ve had some desert moments in my life where it seemed like nothing I did gained traction despite my best efforts. In spite of my typically rosy outlook, I found myself plagued by a profound sense of failure.
Newsflash. Life is full of ups and downs, you’ll never fully appreciate the ups until you’ve had some downs.
Your Life Should Have Monuments – That’s the brilliance of the God Box, a visual representation of her inner struggle. It’s easy to forget what you’ve been through when things have been great for sometime. Your needs are met, you have more than enough and you’re fulfilled. Next time hardship comes your way, when you have a monument, it’s a nice reminder that you persevered once, and you will again.
Know your past and prevent a future relapse.
Enjoy the Process – Enjoy is a strong word. When you’re going through trials, it’s hard to keep a smile on your face. No one asks for hardship; people endure it. The enlightenment you should internalize is that to get where you want to go preparation is necessary — and your struggle is preparing you for the life you’re about to walk into.
Posse of Progress – It’s not all about who you know, but it’s definitely about who you surround yourself with. Find like minded people who are moving the same direction you are — instead of feeling like an outcast on a quest, you’ll feel empowered and encouraged by each other.
Embrace the Silence – In the United States, we perceive loneliness as a negative. Happy people, well adjusted people, are around other happy-well-adjusted people. That may be true. A bigger truth is that those who’ve experienced serious growth in their life have all recognized the importance of focusing internally.
Know yourself before you change yourself.
Commit to discovering yourself continually. The world is forever changing and so are we. Don’t be afraid to get away from your everyday life, being in a new environment helps to sharpen your senses and perceive the world in a new way.
Are you up for the challenge?
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