I turned 43 last week on May 5th. And last Sunday, on Mother's Day, I become a mom. I flew to Seattle on Thursday morning to pick up my 11-month-old nephew whom my husband and I are adopting.
Of course, not every week brings such obvious life changes like the ones I just described; however, if we watch closely, we see that life is always in flux. It is dynamic and never static.
Life is always changing, always! We become impaired when we cling and want things to stay the same, or grasp for something to be different. In fact, traditional wisdom teaches that this is the cycle of suffering: grasping and clinging.
Recently, science has proven that our minds have a default state. When our minds are at rest (meaning we aren't consciously choosing its direction), it creates commentary, opinions, and stories about what is happening, usually with a negative slant. This can cause us unnecessary pain.
Learning to embrace our lives and become mindful of our choices is one of the most challenging yet rewarding practices.
For much of my life I was a fighter. From a young age I learned to expect and prepare for the worst. I couldn't have planned this year, this journey, this life. And I wouldn't have been able to predict all the twists and turns that have made it all so special, and so completely...mine.
Staying open to life is a courageous act that also asks that we accept what comes our way and find the best in it. ~Joy Stone
This doesn't mean everything happens for the best, but rather, trust that there is some value in everything that happens.
Recognizing that I have a choice in how I see and react to things allows me to access my strengths rather than my weaknesses, find meaning rather than be a passive victim, and reach out for support in order to utilize my resources rather than isolate myself.
Here are some questions you can ask that might help you create more acceptance, peace, and understanding during life's certain changes, both big or small.
1. What are my strengths?
- How can I use them to make changes I want to make?
- How can I use them to accept what I can't change today?
2. What matters the most to me?
- How can I better align with that when things are challenging?
- How can I make time for more of what matters to me to enjoy life more today?
3. Who can I count on?
- What would it take to ask that person for help?
- How can I support that person?
Making sense of our circumstances and stories, finding where we have choice, and seeking meaning in what is happening can transform every aspect of our life. Take the time to evaluate your unique situation to allow for space and peace, and you will thrive in times of change and tumult.
We can't always control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we shape their meaning and value in our lives.