Every creature has a lot to overcome. I have an illness or two, etc. Sometimes life can be a struggle. For everyone. But how we see our challenges radically changes our future. Here’s how: if we just mope around feeling sorry for ourselves, what scope is there for making a positive outcome happen? I can’t see it. The only way to make positive changes is to see each challenge as a chance to grow.
How do we deal with uncertainty? Well, letting go of the ‘I can’t cope’ story is a start. When we engage in a mindfulness practice, we start to see the narratives we tell ourselves for what they are; stories we tell ourselves.
But what if we’re wrong, what if instead of being fearful creatures we’re actually strong and resourceful?
When you engage in mindfulness, you can battle things that usually give you the trembles, like uncertainty, by seeing through your mind’s usual story. And you can write a newer, truer one, if you like.
I am working on it. I am. Acceptance is the root of mindfulness. Sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re sad. If you accept each state as it comes, without holding on to any state, then you have done it. You are being mindful. You are at peace.
Yes, bad stuff happens. But, essentially, we are in control of our own lives. With each healthy meal we eat, with each workout that we do, we are shaping the future we want – a future that will make us happy. It is implicit, then, that success is completely subjective.
To me, success is having a healthy body and mind. I’d like to help others. I’d like to have financial freedom, and handle that with integrity.
Life can be confusing. Looking after ourselves, looking after others. Deciding our paths. Deciding what socks to wear. Dealing with heartbreak and loss. Having to curb our more expensive or sweet food habits. Fitting in exercise. Staying well. Loving, forgiving. And sometimes, saying no. It’s a minefield.
It is a constant path, working all that out. It really is. Thankfully as you get older, though, or as you learn more about your illness(es), it becomes easier, and you know roughly what you’re doing.
When things have got difficult, though, you find you can take solace in the small things; fresh sheets, a cup of hot chocolate. Have a look and see what lovely things are around you today.
“Shock story!” “Disease risk!” “…as rates reach record high!”
Illness is categorised and then sensationalised. It is torn apart from it’s counter-part, health, and presented as an entrancing gruesome tit-bit for you to enjoy with your coffee.
It is telling that only one out of twelve headline articles on the CNN website is even in the vein of ‘Slow down and live long with the ancient practice of qigong’.
Basically, the media makes health and illness into something completely alien from what it is – to sell papers – by making it exciting, whereas actually we all really just need to listen to ourselves and what we need to be well.
One of the key tenets of Buddhism is that you do a job that is ethical. The funny thing is, what drew me to Buddhism is that it just seems to make sense to me. Moreover, I look back at my life, and I see it’s truth as it happened. I was happy, and well; thriving, when I volunteered for the FoodBank. I got very ill when I worked as a soulless marketer. I think about all the skills I’ve learned and will learn doing blogging, and I know I could apply it to something soulless and lucrative… but I don’t want to. Where would I get the motivation from?
Building this idea is exciting and motivating. It means so much to see I’ve helped someone. I don’t know if this is spirituality or ethics or just plain sense, but I do this because I love it and I love the people I help.