Embracing Challenges (Yes, you read that right!)

During the Holidays and the approaching New Year, we tend to think about the past 12 months and ponder on the major events we encountered. When I think over my last year, I can’t believe I am still sane. A close friend was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart malformation, my mom was diagnosed with incurable cancer (but we shall see about that!), I moved by a river (that’s a good thing, but gosh, the stress of moving!), and well, you get the idea : Tough year! I bet yours has been just as rocky and challenging, maybe even moreso, or maybe a little bit less. Hopefully, a lot less!

All of those events, I had no control over. One could say they were imposed upon me. I did get to select doctors and dates and a house in particular, but that is pretty much the extent of the freedom I had. But it is only recently that I realized that I had much much more freedom than I thought : I have the freedom to choose how I react to these events. I am sure this is a concept you have heard before, if not, I am very happy to announce it to you now! But I can tell you I discovered a different layer to this evidence : The way you react to the event changes the event.

With my mom’s present health challenge, and my friend’s, my inner turmoil and anxiety was such that I think an inner defense mechanism decided for me to accept this reality, as it is now. Not to accept it forever, but for now, and not only that, but even to EMBRACE it! I can’t really believe that I am saying this, but it is exactly what helps me through this. Embracing these situations that I have no control over is giving me energy and even helps my creativity and the finding of solutions. It helps me be a better support for them too. I am not fighting reality, I am welcoming it with open arms, loving it even.

How does one « love » the potentially fatal illnesses of their loved ones? By realizing that this is one more way of loving them, by realizing that they have no choice anyway if they want to remain sane, by being unable to live in anxiety and fear, by accepting your body’s clues that you are at your limit, something has to change in you. A shift in perspective that frees the mind and body from the tightness of insecurity and fear of losing your loved ones, to an acceptance of things you cannot change anyway, and a loving approach to the adventure offered to you, now.

Maybe your challenges are of another form. My point, if it can be summed up, is that when you have no choice but to take a certain road, even if it is the rockiest one with no view, why not choose to enjoy it?  What is there to lose? What is there to gain? You will reach your destination either way. Will it be through pain or through joy?

~Caroline

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