“We do not encourage unnecessary starkness. Enjoy life while you are learning. All of the elements of your Self are created for the expression of Divine Love.” -Alan Cohen, The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore
I'm so peaceful when I'm meditating. Often, I'll feel a profound and encompassing peace that re-sets and re-energizes my spirit the way a good night's sleep resets my body.
For perhaps an hour, I'll be on the floating cloud of calm joyfulness. My emotional sea has nary a ripple. All is truly right with the world.
Then someone calls.
Or an email filters through my inbox.
Or I meet with someone (or a group of someones).
Often, because I make it a habit to stay present and peaceful, my encounters are of the best kind. I meet with amazing men and women who are actually changing the world with their actions. I meet with grounded, peaceful souls who teach me more with their examples than I could ever learn from a book.
But sometimes? The person on the other end of the phone, email, or table is not in a good mood.
Or I miscommunicate with my husband.
Or I stub my toe. Or I burn dinner. Or I forget to run an errand. Somehow, I fail.
And that incredible, encompassing peace is gone.
We all have a million little things (it's always the littlest things) that will set us off, dethrone our peace, and wreak havoc on our emotions.
Sometimes I fantasize about living in a world where I don't encounter anything like that.
Perhaps I live in a cottage in the woods, with a brook running by, where I write and draw and read to my heart's content while the birds chirp happily outside my windows.
Or I'm living on the coast of a Greek island, with the emerald sea as my front lawn, the sea gulls swooping and playing overhead while I take long walks in the sand at sunset.
In reality, that cottage has it's own challenges. Bugs? Check. Rainstorms, thigh-high snow, frozen pipes, perhaps…
The Greek island? Tiny language barrier. Add hurricanes, sand in places sand should never be, etc…. you get the point.
As long as we're having this earthly experience, we're experiencing difficulties, problems, logistical nightmares, annoyances, devastations.
Our lives are not stark, emotionless, and problem-free. However, it is entirely possible to choose how we respond to problems. Our job is not to live without problems. Our job is to consciously evolve so we are no longer experiencing the same problems at the same level.
“Apparently difficult experiences can be reinterpreted as precise openings for self-evolution…. Since I have committed to “go the whole way” in this lifetime, I choose to interpret everything that happens to me as an opportunity for self-evolution. I tell myself that if I did not need to learn from a particular experience I would not be given it. With this understanding, I prefer to face a painful experience now rather than later, because if I face it fully now, I will learn the lesson and not have to deal with it at some future point.” -Barbara Marx Hubbard, Emergence
How to Self-Evolve Through Problems, Challenges, Difficulties or Devastation:
- Recognize when you're meeting resistance. Often, when I'm not fully present, my autopilot is dealing with the little crises that pop up and I do not fully acknowledge them or honor their place in my life. If I fully recognize something isn't going smoothly, I can begin the process of learning from it and moving above it.
- Thank the emotions that come as a result of that problem or challenge. Emotions let us know what's going on inside. They're little gauges that tell us when something isn't right- or something is wonderful. When I appreciate my anger, frustration, anxiety, and pain for what they really are- warning signs that something needs fixed- I lessen their hold on me and am able to be more fully present with the problem.
- Thank the problem. Yes, a stubbed toe means something. Perhaps I was rushing through my day. Burned dinner is a great indication my body is cooking but my mind is somewhere else. Even devastating events have profound, positive effects on us if we'll only set aside our ego long enough to acknowledge them.
- Invite your wisest self to help you solve the problem. We all have that wise inner voice to tap into. Whether you call it intuition, God, Higher Self, Spirit- it is the wisest, calmest, most present part of you. Connecting with your inner peace is what it's all about. This is why we have problems, to remember that we are not just flesh and bone struggling through life- we are, in fact, spirits creating incredible connections through a brief physical lifetime.
- Thank your higher self for helping. Too often, I forget this piece. I'll wrestle with a problem, ask for Spirit to help me through it, then phew- it's over, I don't have to think about it anymore. But it's essential to acknowledge and honor that help to strengthen that connection. Would you feel inclined to help someone who never thanked you for anything you did?
- Tell someone. We are not doing this alone. Sharing our stories connects us with others, and encourages them. If it weren't for those who've gone before us passing on their stories, we'd be constantly stuck re-learning the same things, thinking we're doing it wrong because no one else seems to have these struggles.
I'd love to hear your story.