Why Challenge Is A Member Of The Good Life Society?
We often resist challenge and uncertainty in fear of the belief that we won't be able to cope. But what if you recognised the medicine and good stuff concealed in the belly of any challenge that comes your way?
I walked into this year in the face of a big fat challenge that pulled the rug from under my feet. It was a combination of my biggest fear and greatest nightmare happening in one swift, abrupt swipe.
Sometimes change and its close cousin uncertainty are akin to the different seasons of the weather front. My challenge was experienced as a violent storm, a rumbling hurricane and part tsunami all rolled into one. At the start of the challenge I doubted I would survive but three months in it is clear that I have.
None of us wishes many of the tough and sometimes harsh challenges life throws our way, but like trees that survive storms, challenges have the power and medicine if we are conscious and aware enough to also bring with its arrival, lessons and gifts hidden in the belly of the challenge to make us stronger. Not that you feel that way when you are in it? Something I can testify to many times over.
In my case I had to confront yet again another layer of deep-seated limiting beliefs about myself that no longer served me and were clearly getting in the way of my happiness on a spiritual and soul level. So even though on the surface many aspects of my life and significant relationships looked healthy the situation below ground was otherwise. The challenge at the start of the year forced my hand, leaving little choice but to confront the blockage and begin the process of cleaning up my roots like trees do and giving way to healthier more life enhancing beliefs.
It has not been an easy journey. The pain as I acknowledged many things about myself has been piercing in places. But I kept replaying the words of Ernest Hemingway who said, “The world breaks everyone and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Whilst I would not wish the suffering I have faced these last few months on others, now as I am further along the journey of this huge shift I can appreciate the glimpses and moments where on many levels I am growing stronger despite the brokenness.
In a blog post I read this morning Reiki teacher and artist Kristin Noelle (http://www.kristinnoelle.com/ her site is currently being updated) describes challenge as a necessary part of the good life, “… I think challenges - for all their frustration and heartache and uncertainty - can’t be taken out of the equation for living the good life: a life marked by deepening strength and maturity and wisdom and compassion and open-heartedness and trust.” I really appreciated the insight of her words, embracing and acknowledging that challenge is also part of the story of the shaping of the good and stronger life that change brings in it’s wake if we are willing to embrace it.
In her message she goes on to say that, “Challenges are like the weather that makes weak, baby trees turn into sturdy things, deep rooted." A sentiment shared by many including the great statesman, Winston Churchill who this quote is attributed to, “Solitary trees if they grow at all, grow strong.”
So as I weather this storm I hold onto the knowledge that my root system is being restored to a healthier one that can better support a more thriving and flourishing life both below and above ground.
So here’s a question for you to explore in your journal or notebook: If you are facing a challenge right now anywhere in your life, in a relationship or at work how is this challenge deepening in a healthy way the roots that support your life and well-being?
Research indicates that when you write about the meaning of difficult or challenging times this is more productive and life enhancing than simply writing about the negative feelings without exploring your understanding of the experience itself.
Follow up your writing entry with a short list of five ways you can be compassionate and kind to yourself over the next week.
On May 3rd I am presenting Writing To Heal Your Life as part of the Psychologies magazine events series in central London. I will be sharing a series of writing prescriptions that can help you navigate your way through difficult times and will support you on many levels to thrive and flourish. It would be so lovely to meet you and share with you creative and intimate ways in which writing can help you thrive through difficult times. For more details go here http://www.nowliveevents.org/events/