Down every trail, there’s some thick or rough patches and steep spots; but as long as you keep moving, eventually, you will reach a clearing. I heard this message a month or so ago from Acceptance for All, and as I moved on down the timeline, I had no idea how many times I would reflect on those words, or how hard I would hold on to their meaning so tightly just a little further down the road.
At that time I was sailing, clear skies, light tail wind, on cruise control, it just felt like things couldn’t go wrong. Whatever life threw me seemed like a gift I could take and masterfully shift to catch its breeze, taking me wherever I wanted to go. The sea’s been good to me, she has kept my sails full with her gently blowing on my back, and let me see where I wanted to go with her clear skies, letting the warm sun on my face. As I thought about Acceptance’s words, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Have I ever hit a really steep part of the trail, where there were thick patches that were dark and cold?” I have made it through some rough water, I have felt the weight of wave after wave trying to pushing me under before, but was that really a storm?
What if a hurricane really did come, could I stay afloat? One never knows how he will react in battle until he is actually facing the front lines. Have I ever really overcome any major obstacles in life, or had I gotten so good at telling myself old sailor stories that I have a false sense of “sea-legs?” In a round about way this was the conversation I had going on in my head…
Over the next few following weeks, a series of unrelated events blew in, and whispered the answers to those questions I had about myself. I saw the clouds on the horizon, but before I knew it water was breaking over the railing and I was scrambling to secure the hatch ways. Injury struck like it always does, like lightning, abrupt, unexpected, leaving you breathless with wide eyes. My independence was further crippled with the loss of transportation, secondary effects of my health began taking its toll leaving me feeling isolated in a world of hurt. Financial stability took a hit, my career felt at risk as I became uncertain of my ability to continue maintaining my performance, then work threw a few more challenges of its own.
I could barley hear the bell ringing over the wind, the combined pressures kept waves crashing over me and my family, made us cold, and tired to fight to keep going. With each hour passing, I heard the words from the Acceptance page, and held onto the belief, the hope and conviction that if I took it one moment at a time, if I stayed present, focused on what’s in front of me, and kept walking my path, I would reach a clearing.
There were times I caught the words of despair or anger flashing right behind my eyes; but just as our garden of reality is what we water with our attention, as quickly as I could shift my intent to the present, be it a tree, child or the sky in front of me, I would feel the tension melt away. It became as if I was taking a semester in putting my money where my mouth was. Topics I loved reading, giving much reflection to and effort in incorporating into my life, such as being present, surrender, patience and positive attitude, were usually practiced at my convenience, but now, I was being given daily tests and pop quizzes!
Typing this now, from this perspective, I am grateful in a sick ‘n twisted way, for this past month of challenges. I heard the storms whisper loud and clear, that I can stay afloat, that I can thrive under pressure, that I can shift, in any way necessary to catch the flow of life. Every storm is relative, but a warrior approaches every battle as if it was his last, with impeccable action.
The forced practice of accepting what is or what is happening to you, surrendering to that fact while not labeling it negatively and dwelling on it, is a very unpleasant process; but unless one is actually consciously & physically experiencing life and it’s challenges, the concept is little more than a thought, or a chapter out of a good book. I held onto my beliefs in all this, onto hope, and in turn I stayed the course, and am headed where I want to go. I’m not completely out of the storm, but I know clear skies are on my horizon…