Just as the weather changes so do our lives. There are times where the weather is perfect and its stays that way, but we can always expect changes. Most of these changes aren’t significant, they are just small bumps in the road. Maybe just a cloudy day, a light shower or a cold breeze, but every now and then a storm sets in and sometimes it doesn’t pass for a while. We all go through these periods in our lives where it feels like everything that could go wrong, does, and there seems to be no end in sight.
For most of us the cloudy days and light showers are easy enough to handle, we tend to take them in our stride, but when the storm sets in, it can be a real challenge to look forward to those brighter days. If you have been through such periods in your life, you will know exactly what I am talking about and if you managed to get through those hard times you will also know that every storm eventually clears.
The hardest times are when a storm seems to be clearing, but then suddenly another rolls through and then another and another, you really start to wonder if there will ever be an end to it all. This can be a trying time in ones life. Most likely you will go through several of these periods throughout your lifetime.
So when a storm rolls into your life, followed by another and another how will you react? Will you allow it to crush all your positive energy and drive? Will you lose hope and quit trying or will you simply give up?
You have almost certainly heard the phrase 'To Weather the Storm'. We don’t really want to have these storms, but this is what life is about. There are ups and downs in everyone’s life. What really matters is how we handle it and how we break through. We take the good with the bad and we hope that it is mostly good, but when it is bad, how will you cope.
Here are a few ideas that may help you when the sound of thunder signals an impending storm.
An aspect of Buddhism is the understanding that in life there will be suffering of one kind or another and that it is an unavoidable fact. How you chose to interpret the exact meaning of this understanding and how you chose to use it is up to you. If you can open your mind to understand this aspect of life and the fact that we go through these difficult times, it can have a positive effect on your reactions to some of these difficulties. To know that it is normal and to be expected can sometimes provide a sense of relief and knowing that, this is ok and it will soon pass.
Surrender to the storm, allow it to roll through and give it time to pass. That of course sounds like a ridiculous approach to a problem, but when you understand that it is the resistance to the problem or issue that causes the emotional or mental anguish, then it makes sense. It may still hurt and you may feel down about what is happening but if you choose to resist, the pain will likely increase exponentially.
Defend your position. So you have been doing well, being productive and things have been running smoothly. You look to the horizon and can see an approaching storm. Instead of fighting back directly or trying to let it pass by without affecting you at all, which can be hard, another option is to defend what you have. Maybe you are studying, exercising, working hard and things are going well, until a major bill appears from no where and catches you off-guard and if that wasn’t enough you have an exam coming up and you are starting to feel like you may be getting the flu. One option might be to just let it all come crashing down around you or instead maybe you could pull together what you know you can manage, let the storm pass and when it has, just continue as you did before the storm. Maybe that means just walking instead of doing an intense workout, cutting back on study for a week and explaining to co-workers that you aren’t feeling good so they can reduce your duties at work. This kind of situation will occur in life and if it is a strong storm you may have to cut back significantly, but more likely a reduction in your own expectations of yourself will be enough to be able to defend what you have already established without breaking the momentum you have gained.
Lastly, if the storm is proving to be too much and you are becoming completely overwhelmed, then always seek support. This may be prescribed medications (actually prescribed to you by a specialist), therapy, a significant other, family and friends, a retreat or whatever works for you.
IT CAN’T RAIN ALL THE TIME
(The Crow movie)