The Nature of Living
Just when you think you’ve figured it out and life is smooth-sailing, some meteor of dangerous size will shipwreck your living room happiness. Illness, hormones, developmental delay, betrayal, changed state laws, secret revealed, learning disability diagnosis, sibling conflict…
Your cherished peace comes to an end and the new challenge sets up camp at the kitchen table. What do you do? The usual response to change (and challenge) is to assume something is terribly wrong and we have to get back to “nothing bad happening in my life” as quickly as possible. I know I usually resist the intrusion pretty strenuously when it first makes an appearance.
But this is the nature of life. No peace is lasting. Challenge and intrusion are the nature of living—witness weather, earthquakes, changing seasons and tides, insect invasions, drought, crime, and floods.
The good news is that when intrusion is here, we can also know that change is right behind that. Peace can and will (and often does) return, once we are able to meet the demands of the new season. We can lean into the challenge and affirm our own coping abilities.
- My child will spell correctly eventually. We will figure it out, or time will heal this limit.
- My sickness will be treated—or we will find a way to cope with my unending new condition.
- I will understand the meaning of this emotional pain and will find a way to change the conditions that make it persist.
- I can take charge of my life and not let someone else capsize my well-being.
- My children can learn to treat each other with respect, and will, when I learn what to do to help support them.
- These hormones are raging now, but they won’t forever.
- Math is hard this year. It may not be next year.
- It’s difficult to concentrate in spring. It’s easier in the fall. I can save this subject, lesson, project for later.
- My goal is well rounded, competent adult citizens, not perfectly behaved children. We will get there one year at a time.
- Experts can help me. I will get their support.
As you think about the current challenges in your life, take a long view. Remember that the current pain will yield to a new season of resources, support, growth, or change.
When you find yourself in a happy, easy space—relish it! Don’t sabotage it by injecting challenge thinking that “hard” is the only way to grow and learn. Ease and happiness are enormously beneficial to growth and learning. That peace you hear? That’s the sound of your life working. Lean into it, because before you know it, challenge will find you again and you want to be topped up for it when it comes.
Thank you for this. We’ve recently come up on an intrusion of such overwhelming grief after the loss of a loved one. . I was midway through planning for next year and it’s so hard to concentrate on anything right now. I’m trying to let myself and my family to just be here now, knowing that we will find our feet in our new normal and can get back to it. This was incredibly helpful in allowing me to “lean into it” for this season.