During life’s unpleasant moments, change is often welcomed with open arms.
The physical challenge will be over soon, the body will heal or die, the mind will resolve itself.
But when things are good, change can be terrifying. A commercial or billboard might trigger some thought and instantly we go down a path that reminds us of life’s impermanence.
My family won’t always be healthy. My job won’t always be fulfilling. My current feeling of contentment won’t last because no matter how hard I try to generate happiness from within, I find myself perpetually influenced by the external circumstances of my life.
I am excited by vacations and saddened by loss. I’m scared that my world may come crashing down around me, only to have to pick up the pieces all over again and find new reasons for living. The thought is terrifying.
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~ Rumi
But everything changes.
So how do we cope with the inevitable? How do we stay positive knowing that life will be hard?
It certainly puts smaller matters into perspective. A flat tire, getting caught in the rain, coming down with the flu, even breaking a minor bone doesn’t seem like such a big deal in comparison to the bigger problems the Universe will throw at us.
Sometimes the “not knowing” is the hardest part. Some people are dealt blow after blow with no break from heartache, while others go decades with nothing but love and plentiful abundance at every turn. I often stop and think, “When will the next challenge hit? What will it be? How will I show up? And do I have what it takes to survive it with grace and dignity?”
Because if I stand by my belief that each thing that happens to me is preparation for the next challenge, I’ve got a doozy coming up.
If I catch myself worrying and imagining what that future, unknown doozy will be, I have to stop myself. Sometimes I literally have to take a deep breath and say out loud, “Hey, stop it, crazy. This is neither helpful or productive.” Sometimes I have to go for a walk, do some yoga to move the energy, write, read or Netflix it away.
The more joy I bring into my life, the more I have to lose. But does that mean I shouldn’t get a dog or start a business or get married or have a baby? It sounds insane to deprive myself of things that bring me the greatest joy simply because I will eventually lose them.
I think that the answer is to simply live. To create and live the best life imaginable—free of fear.
Because unimaginable change will happen, that we can’t prepare for—the last thing I want to do is leave this life feeling like I haven’t lived. Today is the only guarantee. I can’t invest my faith in some unknown afterlife as a place to have my fun.
I’ve got to do it right here, right now.
When I am feeling doubtful and afraid, I ask the Universe for strength. And when I’m stripped of everything—my health, my loved ones, my career—I’ll ask for reassurance that everything I need is already within.
I will do this with a grateful heart, knowing that I’ve had more joy in this life than most.
I’ve asked for transformation many times in my life. I’ve asked to be the best version of myself that I can be.
In these moments, I am essentially asking for change. I mustn’t resist it or chastise it when it arrives. I must welcome it with gratitude.
Author: Megan Ridge Morris
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photos: Hartwig HKD/Flickr