Life is not a straight road. It is not a journey from A to B. It is not signposted. Rather, it is a labyrinth of twists and turns, whose wending pathways are at times gently sloping hills, and at others an unnavigable maze of hidden thorns. While we may not always have a say over the terrain that we must cover, how we manage our response to this journey is within our grasp.
Every day we are faced with challenges. Work commitments, family responsibilities, dedication to a hobby or vocation: all of these elements make demands on our lives. Yet every day we are also presented with opportunities to be grateful – to appreciate the wonder and fortune that we are blessed with.
How do we balance these moments? I don’t believe that balance can be found by simply focussing on the positives and ignoring the negatives. It is through embracing our challenges and managing our response to them that we arrive at a contentment with our lives. To do this, it’s important to deal with adversity in an appropriate manner. How do you respond to challenge in your life? Do you react unthinkingly by lashing out or becoming upset? While you may be entitled to feel these emotions, we can manage our feelings by thinking about one simple question: ‘Is your reaction helpful?’.
When you choose to reflect this way, everything is simplified. If your anger, resentment or disappointment serves no purpose, and provides no direction or correction for your situation, then let it go. It’s not easy, but with practise and mindfulness you can train your brain to react in a way that is more beneficial to your situation. Calmness instead of panic. Negotiation rather than aggression. Understanding in place of anger.
It’s not easy to turn the looking glass on ourselves – to realise that we contribute to our view of the world – but once we do, we can embrace the gentle slopes and the thorns alike with a little more balance.