love in troubled times

When I first met my husband back in my college days, he was this calm and grounded guy (still is, I suppose). Initially, I actually thought something had to be wrong with him because he was so different from anyone I had known. Over time, I realized how nice this was to have someone who didn’t have a temper or was not easily provoked. He was thoughtful with his words and ALWAYS able to see multiple sides of any situation. He read books by Carlos Castenada and about the Tao and Buddhism and other religious and cultural practices that I knew nothing about. It was intriguing. It opened up a whole new world to me.

I was a stress case, highly emotional, judgemental, and aggressive. His understanding untitled-7947and grounded nature helped me become the person I wanted to be instead of who I was at the time. He always reminded me that tough times were just temporary and transitional, they didn’t last forever so don’t hang on to the emotions of it. However I remember telling him “it’s easy to be all zen when you have no stress, but can you do it during times of turmoil?” Being married and raising children certainly put him to the test.

Today, I still think that is a valid question. Can you remain loving, gentle, understanding, grounded, and with a healthy perspective when times are tough? …with someone who has hurt you? …when life is not going your way? These are the times that your resolve is tested and these are the times when your beliefs get put into practice. Can you walk the real walk?

There have been many times that I have been hurt or perceived some injustice. In the past, I would get angry, hateful, depressed….all sorts of negative behaviors and thoughts. More recently, after years of living with Jeff and surrounding myself with books and peope who value love, I find myself able to just observe and honor that there is a reason for what is happening. Maybe I needed to learn a lesson, maybe they did. No matter what, it is an opportunity for growth and practice.

It’s a lesson in love and patience.

Every day, we can get mad, get even, or move on. Its our choice. When I chose to come at a situation from a place of love and understanding, I really feel better…even if my feelings have been hurt or if something bad has happened. I can feel the pain but understand its part of the journey and I will survive.  I will be a better person for the experience and I say “thank you” for the lesson.

Life goes on…make something good from bad, but don’t hang on to the negativity. Don’t punish yourself or others. Say “thank you” for the opportunity to grow, learn, and be challenged.

I could give SO many examples to help illustrate this but I won’t…there are just too many and there is no reason to bring up the past and possibly hurt people. But we have all been there. To minimize the hurt, try to find the other perspective, the other side of the story….see everything from multiple points of view.

I say this a lot…ask my students: Life is like a car accident. Envision two cars, having their own journey, collide with each other. Each car/person has their own story of what happened. It is their own experience. Many times it doesn’t match the other car’s story/experience. Yet, it’s the same event with 2 unqiue and true stories.  Step away and see the other car’s story and how it looks from that angle. It can teach you a lot about yourself and how the world works. You also begin to observe and respond with thoughtfulness instead of reacting with emotion.

I promise, if you can stop for a second and see the rest of the story…your life will be richer for it. The hurts won’t seem to big.

Am I perfect at this….heck no! But I keep trying. Each time I get a little better, a little more loving, a little less broken.

“Be mindful in your personal actions and act with empathy and compassion towards the environment and others.” – Tessa Wardley from The Mindful Art of Wild Swimming

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