The part of the journey that gets hard and seems grueling is always the hardest to love. It doesn’t matter the goal, path, adventure or situation, when things get hard it is difficult to enjoy the experience. No one wants problems and stress from it. The hard things make us doubt ourselves, question what we’re doing and even raises our fear of failing. Life lesson or not, the hard things are not always pleasant. Sigh. It makes it tempting to give up, pack it in and go to where it is easier, doesn’t it?
I envy the people who feel happiness regardless of what is going on. Maybe they are just really good at faking it but you can usually tell that. I’m talking about the people who despite fires in every direction around them, they are at peace in their life. Yes those problems are concerning but they don’t let it interfere with their stress level, patience, kindness, and joy in their heart. They still seem to rise up in the morning and see the good in the world even when it is flinging it’s worst down on them. I am not one of these people, yet anyway.
When problems come up in my life, I go into survivor mode. My focus is on what I need to do to protect myself mostly followed by how do I fix whatever is going on. I think that is natural. Most of us know to duck and take cover when a storm is coming and then we go out and assess the damage and start cleaning up. Loving that idea of having to go clean up a mess or put out a fire in our lives is where things get interesting. Our reaction, approach, what we think in that moment and how we feel all merge together into a big convoluted messy feeling that can be overwhelming and stressful. That too is pretty natural and it is where I tend to get mad rather than happy.
Unlike the person who can find joy in everything when it is all going wrong, I tend to feel angry. Having peace in my kingdom is super important to me. It’s where I feel safe and like I’m in control of things. These fires of life remind me I am not in control of anything and to prove it, problems seem to really blow up some things at times too, making it worse. I get we are all supposed to learn something from the good and bad experiences in our life but some of those big problems are really hard to feel anything about other than relief when they are over.
I have come to realize though that there is value in leaning into natural living when it comes to problems. There are oils for physical and emotional support certainly but deeper than that, I believe nature offers us guidance in all of those problems as well. The biggest thing I have noticed by doing this is that I feel calmer in the storms of life and I am able to say what I want, what matters and where I want to go, instead of just what I don’t want or like. Very often it is easy to describe what we don’t want or what sucks but it is much more valuable to know in our hearts what we do want and be bold enough to say it in the middle of a storm.
Perhaps the person who can find joy in any circumstance understands this the best. They see problems in life as not problems but as directional guides in their journey. Sometimes when we travel there are storms we pass through and we make decisions to keep going, albeit slower maybe or stop and let it pass. We also often find things that impact us in those storms that change our direction, swirl us around a few times and get us lost. Yet having that inner compass that says our true direction and knowing our heart clearly is where that taken off the track event doesn’t really stop us. We still find our way. We still make it where we’re are meant to be. It just may take a little longer than we anticipated.
There have been some really big things blow up in my life. Losing a job, having my husband diagnosed with PTSD, infertility and more. It was really difficult in those moments to see or feel any joy. My heart hurt and even now remembering some of those things brings tears. Yet with time and some healing I can see where those things led me, how they shaped me and where I allowed my heart to not become bitter and hard. I can see what I learned too. It wasn’t easy and at times it was like wave after wave kept beating over me. Yet I found a way to heal, repair, clean up and listen to my heart for what was next. I found peace with myself and a path forward that while maybe not exactly like the one I was on it gave me hope for better.
Loving the hard things in life is quite a bit misunderstood. To me it doesn’t mean welcoming problems into our life but rather using it as an experience to test our resolve, give us the tools we need in life and course correct where we need it. It won’t always feel like a happy go lucky time either. There is a lot of raw wounds left from some problems we encounter. Yet it is when we use that experience to shape us for better, stronger, healthier, and even happier that we find the ability to at least appreciate the hard experience.
I am still learning to love the hard things in my own life. It is unclear to me if I will ever become this guru of peace during turmoil either but I find that beautiful and would like to learn how to do it better. I’d like to be able to not let my emotions sway so deeply when trouble arises and instead be able to calmly stay in centered balance as a I navigate that battle. It’s a skill to be sure. I think this is where we often hear the phrase of sitting steady in the boat. I often find myself in the water instead but perhaps it is because I’m still learning the art of balance.
Being in balance is where that joy of any circumstance lives. It is where we find that peace that passes understanding. Maybe it doesn’t make the problem easier to deal with or the impact it has on our lives but it changes how we see it. It changes how we approach it and work to resolve it too. That’s is where learning to love the hard things in life takes hold and we are able to respond, put into motion and emerge from life problems stronger, refined with skill and yet deeply open to love, grace and all the joys of life. It is a natural state of being that requires us to train for it by looking at how we love the hard things in life.
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