When the going gets tough, start mining gold! Part 1 of 5


A note to you dear souls out there who are navigating complexity in your life right now and are feeling overwhelmed by the extent or the enormity of it.

We’ve all heard the saying, “When it rains it, it, pours! Everything is going fine until suddenly something goes haywire in our lives; like the loss of a loved one, financial loss, a challenging or fatal health diagnosis for us or a loved one. While we are in the midst of ‘handling’ it, something else adds to our already chaotic situation, and before we know it, it feels like we’ve been run over by a bus. It then feels like no matter how many times we get up after being knocked down, we get knocked over again! After a while, it gets exhausting getting back up, and it takes a toll on us, mentally, physically and emotionally!

The inspiration to do this writing now grew from witnessing life situations of a few close friends who are in that place now, facing a few challenging circumstances. I could relate to where they are and how they might be feeling, as I have orbited this path a few times myself.

Life was going pretty smooth for a ‘while’ until one of my dear cousins got involved in a car crash. We had all practically grown up together, so the word ‘cousin’ doesn’t do justice to describe the relationship we shared.  After many days of being in a coma, he passed away,  survived by his young wife and two sons. This incident was like a wake-up call for our family to get present and reconnected with each other.

Many little and big events followed, which shook the ground beneath our feet. The diagnosis our grand-aunt with colon cancer; the sudden passing of my brother in a crash; watching another dear cousin grapple with a  brain tumour (GBM); losing an aunt to heart disease; and the sudden, unexpected diagnosis & open heart surgery of my father was bit too overwheming for each of us. If that wasn’t enough, all of these events were shortly and eventually followed by the passing of each of these beautiful and fierce souls one after the other.

Even though these were isolated incidents, the timing of each them had a domino effect on various areas of each of our lives. They say relationships either make or break during a crisis. Some of our relationships were sadly broken and hard to recover from, while in some, the bonds grew even stronger than before, some others got redefined and renewed.

Such circumstances have far-reaching impact not just on our lives, but it also our loved ones, especially the children, because they usually not great are at understanding and vocalising their emotions. So they make assumptions about what they witness and experience, coming to crazy conclusions about life in general. Much invisible damage happens here. Within a span of two years, my 10 year old son had lost two uncles who absolutely adored him,  had to shift schools twice during this period, come to terms with what had happened, whilst also watching us parents grieve. These are too many adjustments for an adult to come to terms with, then imagine what it must be like for a child.

Consciously or unconsciously, each of us has different ways  of dealing with complexity.

 Here are a few –

  • We don’t allow ourselves ‘feel’ much about what’s happening. We fear that if we allow ourselves to explore our emotions, we might break, which might affect the capacity with which we are currently functioning.
  • We aren’t even aware that we have feelings, we chug along and do what needs to be done. Feelings? Emotions? What are they?
  • We avoid or run away from such situations as we cannot handle the pressure. As long as we hide our head under the rug, we don’t need to face anything. Or we find distractions that aid us in doing the same.
  • We kick and scream in protest of what already is, which is like swimming against the current.
  • We become overly responsible, carrying the entire weight of handling the situation/ taking care of people, on our shoulders until we break.
  • We become the worst version of ourselves, losing touch with reality as our repressed emotions get channelised in the strangest of ways.
  • We get stuck in the loop of blame, blaming circumstances, blaming others, blaming God, blaming fate, blaming ‘time’, blaming ourselves!
  • We become numb, shut down; we don’t know any other way.
  • We go into shock or depression and don’t recover from it.
  • We feel so sorry for ourselves that life comes to a standstill and believe that life cannot move forward  until these challenges disappear.
  • We skip a few steps and spiritualise our experience a little too soon.


We go through one, many or all of the above but eventually, choose to go deep and start MINING GOLD.

By mining gold, I mean, using the complexities we face as a doorway to experiencing life for what it is, getting up close and personal with all our emotions, giving space to them,  striving to bring presence to each of our moments and allowing ourselves to evolve gracefully to the highest versions of ourselves. Mining gold is about getting intimate with life,  letting it break us and make us all over again, where we drop all the walls of separation that keep us from being present, open, vulnerable and authentic and connected.

To be continued..

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer


2 thoughts on “When the going gets tough, start mining gold! Part 1 of 5

  1. Wonderfully written as usual. The trials and tribulations you have gone through adds authenticity to the concept that you are evangelizing; I look forward to part ii. Best wishes Sheena.


  2. Dear Sheena Yusuf,
    It’s heart touching , inspiring and a lesson for how to face our real life situations..
    work is love made visible… In the dew of little things the heart finds it’s morning and refreshed…

    With all respect and proud..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s