When things are hectic, as they are for me right now, I hold on to the thought that next week or month or whenever, things will settle down. While it is true that life will be calmer for me by the time you are reading this (given just what I know is happening), I've also begun to accept the fact that life goes in cycles.
There are times when there is much to do and times when there is less.
Life is calm, then life has stress and life can become just as stressful from happy things as from sad ones.
Sooner or later, one phase ends and the other begins. Unlike years ago when I seemed always to be awaiting the calmer cycle, thinking that once it arrived it would remain, I do have regular periods of calm now. I know life changes.
Slowly, however, a new thought is filtering in. Perhaps the calmer times are due as much to handling events more maturely as they are to having fewer things to attend to. Perhaps.
I recently watched a 60 Minutes segment about a family of 25 children, many of whom were challenged with MS or brain damage or other physical ailments. The mother, while always busy to say the very least, seemed calm and very happy. She had chosen to adopt the neediest of children and teach them to enjoy life to the fullest. What could have been constant chaos simply was not.
It is prudent to avoid comparing her tasks with mine in order to avoid feeling most inadequate. Each of us has different things that we stress over and I live with the adage that there is always someone better and someone worse at everything. My busyness and yours probably comes from quite different things, just as our definitions of what is stressful often vary.
I recall watching the Dali Lama on Nightline a few years ago, being interviewed by Ted Koppel. His serenity and joy transfixed me. Ted Koppel seemed taken with him also, asking how he could be the leader of so many souls and be so humble. With a wide smile the Dali Lama answered, 'Easy to be humble when you are refugee!'
Being able to be completely accepting of whatever is transpiring in our lives and finding joy nevertheless is possible. It really seems to be a function of perspective, not circumstance. Imagine!
I've had some things in life distress me so much I've simply had to accept them as things I needed to learn from and even as gifts given to me to help me grow. It was so much better than being morose. And, invariably, it turns out to be so. What a discovery to find our outlook is a choice.
All of us encounter different lessons, and emotions of grief and confusion and fear temporarily overcome most of us in severe circumstances. But when the impact of loss or disease or whatever dissipates, we can choose to be calm and enjoy life. If not now, soon.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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