And at least about half the time, it turns out to be good!
In my last post, I talked about how when one is in a challenging situation, sometimes it’s necessary to let go of the constant striving to find “The Solution.” I also described how difficult it is when the mindset of someone around us has a different timing or opinion as to how we might best manage our challenges. When one is struggling to keep head above water, sometimes it’s just too exhausting and painful to keep trying to find the one more thing that might help.
Yet —- there’s no accounting for hope. When I let go of constant striving I almost always feel some optimism and hope rise within. It’s a relaxation into what is, within and around me, and so, so often, it’s good. I realize that my particular challenge, huge as it might be, is not the totality of my life. Minimally, I’ve been born into enough prosperity to have basic needs well met. Even the frustration I spoke about before when friends offer suggestions that don’t fit at this time — well, isn’t it really wonderful that we have people around us who love and care and who want us to be at our best? They are seeing suffering and want to alleviate it, and that’s about as poignantly human and compassionate as it gets in life. How wonderful to be able to witness that!
You truly never know what will happen next. Anything can happen, and does. Sometimes I can nurture my mind and soul to allow new ideas to grow and unfold; other times lightning seems to strike out of the blue to light up a new path, or way of thinking. My big time surprise: finding myself pregnant at 39 years old, years after letting go of becoming a mother. Another big time gift: almost two years ago now, as November, then December brought shorter and colder days, and a new season of fearing that I might slip on the ice came around, I realized that I was slipping into a depression. I needed something, but my days were already full. A few days later, seemingly out of the blue, I remembered a woman whom I had met at Dr. Estes’ trainings. I looked up Shiloh Sophia McCloud on the web, and my totally unexpected and unplanned-for art making began. My heart jumped at her images, and I found the color I’d been looking for. And unexpected bonus: I don’t hurt when I paint. It’s not just that I don’t pay attention to the pain I might have; it’s that after a few minutes of starting painting I actually don’t hurt. (So why don’t I paint all the time?? Good question! I’m working on it. . . )
Other days I will notice just how my spirit soars when I relax into a meditation. Or I bump into a book in my study (there’s lots of piles of books to bump into), and find a quote or a poem that assures me that I’ve found my place in the family of things. (See Mary Oliver, Wild Geese.)
Or I remind myself that I have choices in what books I pick up and what youtube videos I might open up. And then I intentionally turn my attention to beauty, and am surprised once again at the abundance around me.
Even the most unpoetic rationalist has to agree that chance itself will offer a percentage of good things in our future. On difficult days I remember that I don’t have to be an optimist to believe that. Then I keep my eyes open to see what happens next. And at least a lot of the time, it’s good. So good.
What have been some of your unexpected graces? When has the unexpected been so good for you? I’d love to hear.
May all your days be bright, especially the rainiest,
With love, Cat