September 8th, 2016
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Learning to Surf The Waves of Life

Each of us has a story to tell about how our particular and significant lives have developed and unfolded over the years and it can be surprising how others decide to reveal pieces of these awesome life stories to us.

The more I listen to people of all ages and cultures, the more I realize that we all have something in our lives that at some point has taken the wind out of us and made us question how we can continue on.

Sometimes people tell you about their difficult circumstances over a quiet drink in a restaurant or coffee at Starbucks and sometimes they tell you in the middle of a raucous party when everyone is laughing loudly and the music is blasting the windows out.

Either way, when I hear of the trials that life has presented to others, I want to hear more about how they handled their bad times, what helped them keep going and how they reached their present point.  I want to hear more because it gives me strength.  I want to hear more because it gives me hope.  I am not wanting to listen to more about someone else’s story because I am being nosy but because I care and want to know what they found that helped them carry on and keep going.

I think we can learn resilience from each other and in sharing our times of trouble, it gives me new perspective on what is happening in my jumbled life.  Sometimes I come away from conversations feeling blessed; and sometimes I come away feeling that I wish I had more of the inner strength belonging to the person I just talked to.

It’s hard to accept the painful parts of real life.  It takes guts and grit and lots of love and kindness thrown in along the bumpy way.  It takes a lot of courage to decide pick up that pain, own it and decide to work through it.  Tears, tears and more tears from the frustration of starting and then failing and then starting again.

That’s where other people come in to our lives, sharing their stories, sharing their awesome light.  Telling us how they got to that emotional place where they closed their eyes and quietly decided that they had no other choice than to accept the real life of a loved one’s death, or a job loss or a health crisis or any other huge disappointment that life presented to them.

At different stages of each person’s life story, I do think we are more brave than we realize.  While I know that my life is always a big work in progress, and believe me, I mean a big work in progress, I always try to remind myself that in the midst of my personal struggles, I am making the good effort to continue in a healing direction and I bet you are too.

I leave you with some words of encouragement that I recently discovered from Judy Tatelbaum, a licensed social worker, psychotherapist and author:

“Being fully alive to life is truly a heroic act.  Many of us think heroism means rescuing people from burning buildings or being daring in wartime.  Instead heroism is an everyday affair.

For some of us getting up in the morning and facing another day is a heroic act.  For others changing jobs or staying in a relationship or managing on limited funds or facing the loss of a loved one is a heroic act.

We have many opportunities to be heroes in our daily lives.  The heroism of which I speak is the courage to be fully alive to life regardless of the circumstances.”

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