Are you a Master of Life, or a Student?
Struggles; stressors; daily hassles- to the exception of a few enlightened beings, These are a common experience for most of us. There are days, or portions of the Day that feel really good (Day Feeling Good), really in the flow, and then there are those days when we couldn’t have even anticipated how many things could go ‘wrong’. Sound about right?
I recently had one of the latter; to be fair, the day didn’t start out badly. I woke up on time to do my morning ritual of yoga, Practice Meditation, and a gratitude list, which reminded me that I had a nice, safe home, a loving fiancé, two cuddly dogs, and that I am in so many ways, blessed and abundant. I began my work day at a pace that felt good to me, doing work that I enjoy tremendously, and then there it was: my Health Practitioner called to inform me that the chronic infection we’d been working on eliminating from my body was still present, and I’d need to continue with our treatment protocol for an additional two months, with a few minor tweaks. Now in the realm of health and illness, I am extremely lucky.
It’s not life threatening. It doesn’t stop me from doing the things that I love. I can see, I can hear, I can breathe, and I can move. The symptoms are uncomfortable; some days much worse than others, and the treatment protocol, including a pretty serious supplement regimen and restrictive diet, can be labor intensive and socially isolating (Positive Attitude In Life).
What this means is, depending on my perception of my experience, Suffering From Illness doesn’t have the power to steal the joy in my life, or it dictates my experience completely. The choice is mine, and the greatest thief of joy is fear. There are days that, despite following the dietary guidelines completely, and despite being adamant about supplements, I feel lousy, exhausted, and alone with it. And my fear mind begins to creep in with thoughts such as “what if this never goes away?” “What if I can never eat, drink, or be social again?” “What if my fiancé gets sick of dealing with my issues?” And you better believe that fear not only asks the questions, but gives you convincing answers that these things will indeed come true, and are coming true right now!
In situations such as these, there are a two ways you can choose to respond: you can feed the fear, strive, fight, control, exert your ‘way’, attempting to become the master of life, or you can surrender it, breathe, reflect, slow down and get compassionately curious, as a student of life would. The choice is always ours, but most of us have a default response. Mine was certainly the ‘master’ mindset; I attempted to anticipate, predict, and control almost all aspects of my Dream Life, to avoid uncertainty, which in my fear-based mind, equated pain. ‘They’ say change will come when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
I think change comes when we wake up and realize that, just because we’ve responded in one way for years, doesn’t mean that it will serve us well now. It also doesn’t mean that we are bad or wrong for only realizing this at this point in our lives. A Course in Miracles teacher Marianne Williamson defines a miracle as “a shift in perception from fear to love”. How can we not celebrate this shift, whenever it is offered to us?
I am not saying that change is easy, or that our default fears haven’t protected us in some ways; but what joy have they stolen from our lives? From your life? To fully experience the joy, we have to fully face the Fear Of Failure. But we can do that from a loving, compassionate place. No matter what struggles or challenges you are currently working through, can you, just for today, choose to be a student of life? What can you learn from it? What deeper understanding about yourself is it offering you? Can you love yourself so much that you allow the time, space, and reflection to hear the answers? I promise, if you do, life won’t let you down, and you can settle into the joy that is inherently yours.
Author Bio : Jadi Engels is an RYT and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach on a mission to inspire, empower, and reconnect individuals to their highest Selves. She believes that enlightenment begins from the outside in: the foods you nourish your body with can change the way you experience your inner and outer world. She is also a strong proponent of bio-individuality, Jadi would love to hear from you on jadiengels.com.