Learning to Dance with what Life brings You
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Tuesday night as I was leaving a happy hour with friends, I was struck by just how good my life feels these days. I was going to post on Wednesday and was too busy and then it just felt cliche to post on Thanksgiving, so here I am today.
That Tuesday, it was still warm enough at 7:30 at night to be outside without a jacket, the kind of warmth that is just flirting with a cold night and you can feel the chilly whisps of that flirtation as you take a deep breath. Living in Denver has been so easy and joyful for me- it’s just the right size city where it isn’t too congested but still brims with life the way a good city does. And so, life was feeling really good.
This isn’t a highlight reel post, though. There are still plenty of challenges and a very long dark night of the soul that became the choice point for me in how I choose to show up now. I’m posting to offer some perspective that if things feel crummy for you right now, trust that life has other things in store for you, too.
A couple days ago a client was bemoaning how difficult her life and adulting is- how she just wants things to be easy and effortless for her with the minimum amount of effort (I mean hello, don’t we all?)
But this just isn’t how life does things, and at the vantage point from which I stand now, I would argue we actually don’t want them to be easy and effortless. It would be like watching a tv show where the only thing that happened was amazing dinner parties and funny jokes- if there was no tension, no struggle, nothing to overcome or work through, well we wouldn’t really be that captivated, huh?
Just like if I wrote some post about how miraculous my life is now, you’d keep scrolling. You might be happy for me, but really, not much to see here.
It dawned on me in talking with that client that we only really think we want life to be easier when we aren’t well resourced- that is, when we don’t trust our own internal compass, when we don’t have faith that we have the capability and capacity to handle the full spectrum of experience that life offers us and when we don’t give ourselves the chance to move through our challenges with and make it to the other side. So many of us stop in the middle of the challenge and let it jade us. We begin to create habits like over-eating, complaining, situational depression, retail therapy, the list goes on and on.
We disconnect from the rhythms of life because we don’t trust that we can move to the current rhythm being played.
It’s my experience that the only way that faith and trust get firmly rooted are by going through things that you truly believe you cannot make it through. Except you do, and in the midst of making it through, you see yourself and realize “Holy Shit, I am doing this thing I was certain I could not do.”
Each day, we all have small moments like this where we likely do make it through the small stuff we don’t think we can, so each day you are given an opportunity to see yourself and your life through the lens of trust and faith.
And then, there are the soul crushing, drop us at the bottom of the well, on our knees kinds of experiences where nothing seems like a balm that will heal the wound that has been created. Except, the wound is so painful that you know nursing it isn’t the thing and so you keep moving, one foot in front of the other toward a solution, toward something more affirming, more life giving, more buoyant. You often have to move through some murky emotional sludge to get there. And that is how your internal compass and fortitude are built.
This is where you become a fully resourced adult that can handle life in all her forms.
The day after I worked with this client, that conversation of an easy life still on my mind, I came out to find that someone had side swiped my parked car, denting it in several places. I was really annoyed. "Who does this kind of thing!" I thought. I grumbled and energetically stomped my feet in frustration. And then, that was about it. The car can be fixed, insurance will cover it and I moved on about my day. It struck me that this decidedly would NOT have been my response a few years ago.
I likely would have had a meltdown. But now, its not that big of a deal.
I am resourced now, I don’t use food as my crutch or to numb out. I take care of myself. I decided a few years back that being at the mercy of the world was not as interesting as being willing to show up for myself and put my energy toward who and what I really want to be. Sometimes I lose step with the rhythm but I always come back to the dance.
Life is pretty miraculous that way. Show up for all of it, and it will show up for you.
The day to day annoyances will still happen. But they don’t matter as much. Because your perspective has shifted. You no longer fight the rhythm of life and you just keep your feet moving, enjoying the fact that you get to dance.
What this requires is for you to do some accounting of how you spend your energy, removing the places you chose to avoid and stuff your experience (with food, sex, emotionally checking out, etc) and choosing to put your energy toward what you desire instead of in reaction to what you don’t. Simple, not always easy. But always, always, worth the reward that is waiting.