Challenge - the opportunity to cleanse and renew.
There are few things in life that are certain, other than death and taxes, change and challenge is one of them. Life will always present us with obstacles in our paths, how we approach and respond to them can define the impact they have on our lives.
We can take a lot of lessons from the analogy nature gives us in these moments. For the bloom of spring there needs to be the resting of the winter. For the fresh, cleansed and clear air there needs to be the thunderstorm. For the butterfly the caterpillar must turn itself into goop and reform. The bulb in the ground does not rage against its time of waiting, the storm must come to release the pressure.
“I am not a caterpillar”, you say. The storm causes destruction as well as clearer air. Surely there is an easier way to get to where I need to, and want to be? There may be, but does focusing on the destruction help you to overcome what has happened? Could the destruction allow you to ask what you REALLY need in your life, have a fresh look around you at what in your life sparks joy and how to create more of that.
Here are some of Spirit and Soul’s top tips to embrace the challenges presented and recognise the opportunity for cleansing and renewal.
Gratitude is something great to practice. The more you look for things to be grateful for, the more things to be grateful for you find, and so on. Look for the small, and the big, things to be grateful for from this challenge. What are you able to do now? What can you see? What has it taught you? Focus on that and then see where you are.
In this world of instant communication there is a temptation to need instant gratification, respond immediately, see the result now, feel better now. Take a lesson from that bulb in winter. Not everything needs to happen now or needs a response right away. Take space, and time, respond from calm – or realise the best response is no response at all. We may not have the power to prevent the snow or make the spring sun come when we want, but we do have the power to control how we react. A fundamental part of that control is to take space – instant reaction may not be the best action.
Leave it behind:
Everything has its season, time and place. You, unless you are a three-year-old with a strong sense of personal style, don’t wear your winter hat on a summers day. Leaving the winter hat in the past you create space for an amazing sun hat and the sunshine that it will bring. By holding onto thoughts, beliefs and things from the winter you do not have space for the new flowers of spring, or the hot lazy days of summer.
There are lots of ways you could leave it behind – you could write it down and burn it, you could give away those objects that no longer serve you or embrace the new path you are on, you could change your look, throw a stone at the sea or just choose to let go and move forwards.
Cleansed of the past and on a new path you can then set your feet to the path and walk, in gratitude, into the future you are creating. Dr Seuss has said this far better than we ever could in his story “Oh the Places you will Go”, this is a favourite quote:
“You have brains in your head,
You have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”