This month I am focusing on the relevance of life’s inevitable challenges as they relate to spiritual and personal growth. It’s a topic we might dismiss perhaps because it can be perceived as “uncomfortable” or “not worth our time.” However, life struggles yield the most beautiful outcomes. And this is a timely topic in that there appears to be a lot of muck coming to the surface. What I will remind us all of before I get into the actual body of this article is that this too shall pass. And when it passes, there will be clarity and invaluable wisdom.
My epiphany on the topic occurred while I was in Pensacola at Fort Pickens, an old (1834) Civil War Union fort. The fort is one of my favorite places to visit – obviously not because it is a monument and memory of war, but because of the history and personality of the fort itself. You can almost tangibly feel the energies of the men loading the cannons, firing the rifles. I like to touch the brick and stone walls and sense all that occurred nearly 200 years ago. It’s fascinating, to say the very least. I reflected on the different wars this world’s countries have endured and what ultimately resulted: acceptance.
At one point during our visit, I was sitting on a bench, analyzing the cracks in the wood, the chipping of the paint when I “heard”: You see how the wood cracks over time leaving openings, like spaces in the wood itself to make for growth. This happens when it is weathered. When it has experienced rain, sunshine, lightning, weight. It becomes more real; it adjusts to its surroundings. Just like we are weathered from the many visceral storms of life, the bench was a testimony to the raw aspects of who we are. The more we weather, the more real we become. Our reluctance to be present during those “growth cracks” stints our growth and ultimately our spiritual development. The message: BE PRESENT, particularly in the midst of struggle.
Your question, most likely: How do I process this, then? How do I survive the chaos, the pain, the yuck?
One answer: Feel. And be ok with it.
The yuck rarely dissipates overnight. Sometimes we just have to sit with it.
My favorite tools:
- Share with friends I know I can trust.
- Seek counsel as needed. Ask for help!
- Do what you love.
- Take the time for yourself.