Thursday, March 30, 2017

It Doesn't Have to Be This Hard


Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Victor Frankl

It doesn't have to be this hard.

I find myself saying this often.  During my counseling sessions, in my bodywork practice, while talking to a staff or family member, or sometimes when I am talking to myself.

It doesn't have to be this hard.

What is that line, between the natural suffering and struggle that comes with growth and adaptation versus the suffering and struggle that comes with avoiding growth and adaptation?

When is the suffering about living from a point of view that no longer serves you? When is the suffering simply a signal that you are looking at your situation from the wrong story? Change the old belief, die to that old story and suddenly suffering disappears.

Where in our ordinary worlds, where do we complicate things so that we make things more difficult?

Most of us here live in a rarified privilege.  If you make more than 67k a year, you are in the top 1% of the planet's wealthiest. Even if we consider inflated food, energy and housing expenses, we are living a life most of the world cannot even fathom, and yet, we are struggling.

I say this to the mom overwhelmed with her child's resistance to the school routine.

I say it to myself when I worry about managing all of my work responsibilities.

I say it to my friend who is dating someone requiring more than she can give.

I say it to the staff who is working too many hours and feels overwhelmed with the workload.

I say it to the student who is devastated that his friends are walking away from him because he is so unkind.

I say it to the overwhelmed husband sitting across from me, wondering how his impending separation with his wife will affect his ability to see his children.

There are times life will be overwhelming. There will be crisis and major transformations. I don't want to minimize the enormity of life's big disruptions - the death of a child, the single parent who must manage children, home life, work and personal self care, war, or homelessness. The list is long. And I count myself as one of those people who believe our global catastrophe's have just begun.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Victor Frankl

Most of the time,  I believe we have a choice. and as Frankl points out, even in the most difficult of circumstances, we have the power to chose our response. When things are too much, it is a sign that something is out of balance. Something is out of whack and it needs your attention. Our task is to find a way, to turn towards the solution, and take small steps that move in that direction.  In crisis, those small first steps will be about taking care of your own physical body, enlisting support and staying safe. As you move from crisis to recovery, those steps will be about taking small, repeated steps that move away from survival and towards joy. This is everyone's recipe.

What are the ways we can choose to respond to our difficulties that move us towards growth and freedom? 

What are the ways you respond to your difficulties that move you towards growth and freedom?

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