Chances are better than average that at some point in your life you’ve had to deal with a true crisis outside of death of a loved one or divorce. It might be a health issue, a financial issue, a house fire, a broken engagement. Whatever it might have been, it was unexpected, the situation was out of your control, and it left you mired in uncertainty for a period of time.
By changing our perspective, we can see that obstacles don’t have to be barriers to a good life.
Fortunately, that kind of situation does not occur often in our lives, but when it does, we’re surprisingly well-equipped to deal with it.
Why then do we sometimes find it so much harder to deal with life’s minor irritations? I’m talking about events that certainly can’t be called a crisis, and yet cause us to feel anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness or other emotions that are out of proportion to the event. Continue reading
I lost an old acquaintance a few weeks ago to cancer. Her’s was a short journey from diagnosis to death, not three month. Given no reason to hope for recovery, she faced her death with courage.
When we have no more hope, we must call upon courage to do what we must do.
We face many times in our lives when we must abandon our hope for a different outcome and instead call upon our courage to see us through. Courage, you may remember, is not the absence of fear, but rather the willingness to move forward in spite of it.
Diagnosis of a fatal illness is one of those times. So is a chronic condition without treatment options. Divorce, permanent disability, loss of limb and death of a loved one all require courage. Continue reading
What if we viewed all of life’s hardships as natural, and took it as normal that our struggles with them should be tackled in full view of and with open support from our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers?
Just as a sail is too heavy to hoist alone, grief is too heavy to bear alone.
I got to thinking about this after I heard Alix Spiegel on NPR report on how differently Japanese and Americans tackle classroom education. In America, the brightest student is held up for peer praise and respect, while the one struggling to learn is left alone, nearly shamed and shunned. In Japan, the student who is having the most difficulty is brought before the class and learns in front of his peers, with their encouragement. They all share in the student’s accomplishment of conquering the difficult lesson. Struggling to learn is seen as a natural part of the journey to become educated.
I am struck by two facts. One is the open acceptance of the struggle. The teacher and peers openly give their support and it is openly received by the student. The other is the recognition that learning is a journey and eventual success is expected and perhaps inevitable. Continue reading