When faced with an inexorable problem where emotions run high, knowing what to do can be a challenge. Rational thinking becomes obfuscated, forcing us into a holding pattern of circular thought.
Anger wants to place blame on others. Obsession with fine points masks the big picture. Abject frustration insists we bury our heads in the sand. Emotions churn and become ill-defined. Focus obscures. Common sense derails. Indigestion, insomnia, or worse take up residence.
None of these gets us anywhere. All of them threaten our sanity and plunge us into a maelstrom of inimical emotion. What to do?
Taking in a few deep breaths is a good first step toward relaxing. Listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking a long bath are a few ways to ease the constriction felt in the midsection. Relaxing the body helps mitigate mental and emotional distress. We all know this. But remembering to do it while in the heat of muddled emotion can be an ambitious undertaking.
After relaxing and to ensure continued clearing, it’s often wise to table problem-solving for a few hours or even a few days. Temporary distraction can be a lifesaver. Go to the movies. Visit with friends. Write. Do arts and crafts. All of these activities are superior to spinning our wheels and ultimately losing traction. Diverting attention away from obsessing helps clear chaotic debris and make way for rational thought.
An optimist by nature, I usually see the glass as half full. Is there a lesson being offered that I might benefit from learning? Is this an opportunity to expand and foster equilibrium?
When asking myself these questions, I sometimes find raw emotions rearing their heads and doing their damnedest to pull my thoughts back toward the negative. But the hiatus I’d taken from the problem usually pays off, affording me the clarity needed to focus my intention on finding a positive solution.
So what is it that hinders our accepting a problem as a life lesson and opportunity for growth? What’s the trade-off for wallowing in chaos?
Might it be the need for validation? Seeking validation from others can become an addiction if we consistently deny our own power. Might it be fear of the unknown? Dwelling within the familiar can become an addiction if we repeatedly refuse to break new ground. Might it be the need for love and nurturing? Searching for love by drawing attention to our suffering can become an addiction if we fail to see our connection to all around us.
When we look outside of ourselves to meet our needs, we’re seeking validation for our very existence; we’re failing to recognize life itself as validation enough.
How do we get off this self-destructive, self-denying merry-go-round? When stymied or utterly distraught, I fall back on my mantra:
The way out is the way in.
Am I willing to confront fear and tackle the challenge facing me? Am I willing to stand in my power, ready to own what is mine and shed what is not? Am I willing to break the cycle of codependence and let go of behavior that doesn’t serve?
Therein lies the rub. Releasing can be much more difficult than acquiring. Indulging old habits and behavior reserves our place in familiar territory. If we walk away, where will we go? If we give up addiction, what will fill the void?
For most of us, fear of the unknown thwarts the best intentions; yet it can be a valuable adversary.
Seldom can we control how a new experience will play out. Truth be told, we often feel we’re merely along for the ride! But the ride itself is the opportunity. It’s a crack in the cement of a self-serving belief system that keeps us addicted to fear and chaos. It’s a gift from the Universe, daring us to tread beyond our comfort zone.
What we can control are the choices we make. And these choices are determined by attitude. Will we continue to curse the problem and kick up the dust of fear and chaos? Or will we meet the challenge and see it as a lesson offering us a chance to expand and become greater than we ever thought possible?
The question boils down to this: What attitude am I sporting? Attitude defines intention. It determines willingness, or lack thereof, to shed our old skin and reveal the tender beauty beneath.
Our spirits deserve the opportunity to experience all that the Universe has to offer. That’s why we incarnated in the first place – to grow ever wiser and share our light with the world.
If we’re willing to brazen out fear and dive into living, an inexplicable and troubling problem can serve as a vehicle for growth.
The Earth is a schoolhouse. We chose to incarnate here in order to become enlightened. Aspiring to enlightenment necessitates leaving familiar territory. Abandoning the familiar can be frightening. By recognizing fear as the root of a problem, we’re able to face the problem as a lesson, and then turn that lesson into an opportunity for spiritual growth.
The way out of fear is the way in to gratitude. When our hearts are open, our bodies relax, our minds expand, our emotions lighten, and our spirits radiate joy. When seated in gratitude, we become pure love. Viewed through the eyes of love, everything is seen as an opportunity, and nothing is seen as impossible…
Until the next time, my friends,