Getting thru life without stressful or terrifying experiences is, well unlikely. Whether you experience a health scare, a motor vehicle accident, a relationship breakdown, or the loss of loved one, all of these events can leave us feeling shaky and uncertain. In the face of such events, the world as we know it ceases to exist. We end up sitting face to face with our own impermanence, and quite frankly that is terrifying for most.
Much of the way the world is structured is on the assumption of certainty and permanence. There is an expectation that you will live long enough to pay off your mortgage, you will save your pennies for retirement or your grand children’s university education. We make plans with the expectation that we get the chance to full fill them.
It is at this point that we might come up against events and occurrences that are unplanned, unwanted and undesirable. They interfere with our plans, but most of all they shake us up to the reality that perhaps we won’t have ‘all the time in the world’.
Discovering this reality opens up two pathways. One is the road riddled with anxiety, fear and stress and it might
sound like this; ‘What if it happens again? I can’t cope with going thru that another time’ or ‘I don’t want to live fully in case I put myself in danger’ or ‘I want my children safe, I’ll keep them at home and minimise the risks’ or ‘I won’t be so vulnerable in my next relationship because I don’t want to get hurt’ or even ‘I’m never going to have another relationship because they hurt too much’.
This path leads to a small, anxious and limited life. Fundamentally we become afraid of feeling that pain again. Life becomes preoccupied with the past and future, with the ‘worst case scenario’ and a multitude of potential pitfalls. And none of this worry prevents anything!!!
The second path doesn’t come so naturally, however it brings joy, presence and gratitude. This path redirects our focus from what could go wrong, to what is going right. And as long as you are breathing, you have a lot going for you! Focusing on what might happen takes you away from all that you have, and that is in the present moment. What crisis events call for, is a rebalancing of perspective, and searching out of blessing, and gratitude for the opportunity to try again.
Keep following for the second part of this article – how to choose the second path, the courageous path of gratitude and