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

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Take a chill pill. Easier said than done, but there is a lot of wisdom in this phrase. Taking things lightly is second nature to some people. I have an aunt, who takes things so lightly, that she makes a joke of crisis situations. I could make assumptions about her emotional intelligence, but I am in awe of the ease with which she handles emergencies and crisis. It is pretty straightforward, the way she looks at it. ‘We do our best about things that are in our control, the rest we let go.What the point in worrying/being about something that is beyond our control.‘  By and large she has the presence to navigate through pretty much anything, without her world crashing around her. And, she is the odd one out in our family. The majority of us are worriers, we make life difficult for ourselves, we panic over the littlest of things, and we put our lives on hold indefinitely during crisis.Most our decisions are driven by fear and emotional impulsiveness. We have learnt the hard way though, since we have had lots of opportunity to practise. 🙂

We are always at choice; we only need to accept it. Certain events drastically change our life situation where some tough decisions might need to be taken. We might have to quit our job, relocate to a new place, move to an unfamiliar location, give up our career temporarily, start caring for a sick family member, scale down financially, all of which will throw our life for a spin. We find ourselves doing what needs to be done or the right thing to do, but also feel stuck and not at choice. Eventually, we end up feeling resentful.  I recall complaining to a friend about something I felt stuck and resentful doing. She then told me, “If you don’t want to do it, and you are feeling miserable, don’t do it.” I then argued and gave her reasons for why I felt convinced that I had to do it. She then pointed out that I was choosing to do it. And if that a choice I was making, I had to accept that choice and do it gracefully and stop torturing myself. Sometimes we need to make hard decisions, They don’t necessarily feel good, but they feel right as they are driven by our values. If we continue to feel miserable, then it is time to get curious and revisit those values.

We are moving, even when we are stuck.There was a time when  I felt like my life was in limbo where all I was doing was recovering from one crisis only to be pushed into the next one soon after. When I looked around, it felt like everyone else I knew was moving forward, going places, accomplishing things,  while I was stuck in the same spot. Truth is I was still moving, just that it was along a different dimension. Forward movement is not the only way forward. Sometimes we need to go deeper. Each of us is on a different journey, and there is no point comparing our path with someone else’s.

It’s all made up.This might be a contradiction but here goes. We unconsciously make up stories to make life more dramatic. We are attached to drama. This is a hard one to accept, but we tend to create stories about everything. An event is an event, that’s all it is. How we respond to life depends on the stories we tell ourselves about these events and more so on the climax we create to those stories. The key is to keep dropping the story and sink into the present moment.

Complexity is simplicity dressed in costume. What we experience as complexity is more so because of our attachment to how we want things to be. Learning to navigate complexity is much like training for a marathon as opposed to a sprint.

Once we increase our  tenacity and let go of expectations of how life should be, we get creative and also learn to juggle more balls effortlessly. Complexity then becomes simpler and more natural! Complexities are just life’s way of simplifying itself if we allow ourselves to be guided by it.

My brother makes his this funny joke all the time. He would tell someone, “Don’t worry,   it will be quite challenging and difficult for a while but after that its going to be fine”. Just when the the listener is about to sigh in relief, with a naughty grin he will quickly add, “because, by then you will get used to it ! “

So how do we know if we are mining gold? I don’t have an answer to that as it’s not a destination, it is only a perspective towards life. I guess the key is to check in with ourselves and see how we are feeling. When our hearts have opened up, and we can feel it’s  tenderness and warmth; when we are allowing flow into our lives; when we feel that our experiences have been humbling ;  when we’ve turned our lives around; when we are feeling grateful; when we feel lighter about life; when we can experience joy, music and laughter despite all of the complexities, when we still forward with HOPE, then we most definitely are on that path.

Life is unpredictable; we never know what the next moment has in store for us. So what are we waiting for? Why not live fully until we die, and make every breath count, especially the challenging ones!

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer


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