When I find myself in the midst of a challenging experience, I ask myself “Why is this happening to me?” Not in a whiny, wailing kind of way (not anymore that is, believe me, there was a time when I surely would have), but in a genuinely curious way. I know now that no matter how tough things are for me there is an opportunity for growth and expansion in the experience.
And when I don’t know the reason for what’s happening, I hold the intention to know it. It doesn’t have to be right away. I accept that the knowledge or insight may well come in hindsight, and so I do the best I can to deal with the situation while trusting that everything will be alright. I know when the going gets tough that I’ve created or attracted the experience at an unconscious level through my thoughts, feelings and overall energy. I also know that this outer event does not have to impact my inner self if I don’t give it the power to do so. How I experience the event, how I get through it is down to me, I am not powerless in my response to the situation. I realise that I need to shift my energy, to align it more with how I’d prefer things to be rather than how they are/I don’t want them to be.
So what I do is take good care of myself. I let myself off the hook when it comes to all the busy stuff I “should” be doing, and instead focus on nourishing my body, mind and soul. I take a nap in the middle of the day. I light a fire and watch afternoon telly. I go for a walk – fresh air is such a great tonic. I read something inspirational. I go to the cinema in the middle of the afternoon. I do things for no other reason than it feels good doing them.
I allow myself to sit with the dilemma without worrying about it. To wonder with curiosity rather than anxiety how things will be when I get to the other side of it. And I look forward to the inspired action I will take when the solution comes to me naturally. I never force it anymore, I just trust that the answer will make itself known to me in good time. I focus on getting clear on what I want the outcome to look and feel like, and stop trying to figure out how to achieve it.
After a couple of days of this soul nourishing, I start to take baby steps. I still might not know “how” I’m going to solve my issue, but I start to do small things that feel like they will help, or at least can’t hurt! Often, this is when the inspiration does kick in. With small steps, my energy starts to shift, and little by little the way becomes clearer, and my enthusiasm stronger.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” — Helen Keller
The former, more pessimistic me would have wallowed in my misery. The world is not a fair place, some people have all the luck and it sure as hell wasn’t me! But now I know that if I allow myself to do that I will probably miss the silver lining completely. And what a waste of time and misery that would have been! (I’m also much luckier now – and I don’t believe in coincidences)
Life is never going to be a smooth ride. It’s going to be peaks and troughs. But our overall level of happiness, our resilience to the tougher experiences, can be a constant. Every challenging experience is an opportunity to grow and strengthen that resilience, to improve our coping skills and to get more out of life. The contrasts are what enable us to enjoy and appreciate the good stuff, and joy and appreciation attracts more of the same and better into our lives.
“Whenever you’re in the middle of a crisis, stop and say ‘Thank You’, because you know that something better is on the other side.” — Oprah Winfrey
So, when things are looking a little dark in your life remember firstly that this too will pass and secondly that not only will things get better but you will get stronger. To find the silver lining, keep a conscious lookout for it!