The only guarantee we have in life is change and death. Sounds pretty depressing doesn’t it? If things are always changing, and the only promise we have is death; then life seems quite bleak. That’s certainly one way to look at life, but what if we can use these two facts of life to our advantage and get ahead of the game? Applied knowledge is power, and knowing these two facts of life and applying it to daily life is how we can invoke everyday peace and wellbeing. For example, if we knew it would rain tomorrow, then we’d likely prepare an umbrella to weather the storm. That’s knowledge (knowing it’s going to rain), and it’s powerful because we were able to take action with that knowledge. Our day changed for the better when we utilized the information to our advantage, and we ended up dry and cozy instead of completely drenched. Therefore if we have some pretty valuable knowledge about the universe already, we can strategize ways to withstand the inevitable storms of life and remain nice and dry when the storm hits. Despite the weather conditions outside, we can sustain our inner peace because we’ve prepared ourselves for it. Will it still be chilly and gloomy when the rain strikes? Yes. But at least we’ll be centered and dry 🙂
So how can knowing life’s two facts (death and change) actually help us?! Let’s begin with change. Change is scary, uncomfortable, and knows just how to get straight to the source of all our insecurities. We’ve all been there. Say you’ve always been a straight A student, but then one day you receive a C on a test. The sudden change often triggers all these scary, uncomfortable, and insecure thoughts and you suddenly begin to question every aspect of yourself and wonder if you were ever really a good student to begin with. Despite you doing something right 99% of the time, the one time you receive a criticism it’s like all your years of knowledge and hard work dissipated. When something unfamiliar happens (i.e., changing careers, losing a loved one, taking on a new role) it’s only natural that we begin questioning ourselves and what we know to be true. It’s how we grow, and learn about ourselves and the world around us. Without doubts, questions, and change there would be glory to life. But it isn’t a pretty feeling, and we’ve all wanted the feelings of uncertainty to just go away. Well, it’ll never completely go away (another fact of life, yay!). However, if we can sit with the knowledge that all things change and are temporary; then it can be incredibly liberating. Perhaps you’re thinking, ‘will knowing all things pass really make me feel better? It’s not like I don’t know that already. It just doesn’t really make me feel any better’. Well, let’s examine the truth of this thought.
Have you ever been on a really scary roller coaster ride where you regretted it the moment the safety bars locked? You quickly began wishing you could get off, and just as you were about to tell the operators to let you off- ZOOM and off you went. Now, imagine if you never knew that you were guaranteed to get off and that it was all temporary and would end soon. Imagine if you really thought this was going to go on indefinitely. You’d probably feel 23408 thousand times worse. But instead, you held it together and rode that roller coaster like a champ because you knew (like really, really knew) that in about another 2 minutes and 35 seconds, it would be over. Unconsciously, that made you feel better and saved you from a complete mental breakdown. Sometimes we get sucked into the chaos of it all and forget to take a step back and realize that this too will pass. This feeling, day, week, season, year – it always changes and passes. If we can really know and believe in the fact that all things are temporary, just as we know and believe that we’ll get off that roller coaster eventually; then we can ride the waves of life in a much more gracious manner. True peace is knowing that all things (good and bad) will pass, and that it is okay. If we’re able to cultivate this type of peace, our inner world will remain stable and the external world will have little power in influencing our peace.
But lets be real. It’s hard to keep the peace when our world feels like its being turned upside down and sometimes life gets really hard, so we like to be practical and actionable here at TheraBlog. While we wait for the icky feeling or situation to pass, the best things we can do for ourselves is exactly what we would do on a scary roller coaster ride we want to get off of: Sit with the uncomfortable, scary, and insecure feelings. Breathe. Be patient, and wait for it to pass. Fortunately, knowledge is power, and with power we can take action while waiting for negative season to pass! Just as we prepare for rain with an umbrella, we can prepare for change and uncertainty. If you know that it’s rough right now, or that it’s going to get tough soon, then you can weather it by making a preparation list of items and strategies to utilize during the storm. For example: reach out to support systems, ask for help, reflect in solitude, read a book, do something for yourself and others, travel, meditate, buy TheraBox, etc. 😉
Now let’s move on to the second fact: death. The beauty of our brain is that we can often decide how we want our minds to perceive certain matters. For example: cloud watching. We always want to point out something cool when we’re cloud watching. We know that piece of cloud doesn’t really look like a dragon, but if we adamantly wanted it to be a dragon, we’d find all the evidence in our environment to support it. We’d find a way to configure the shape of that fluffy white cloud into a dragon’s silhouette. How does this relate to death? Well, just as we can influence our minds to transform white puffy clouds into dragons, we can similarly turn beautiful things ugly and ugly things beautiful with power of our minds. We can catastrophize death and think of death as an end all be all (i.e., “if we’re all going to die anyway, then what’s the point?” type of thinking), or we can see death for what it really is. Death in its purest form = the limited amount of time we have here on Earth. With the knowledge that our time here is limited, we can choose how we want to spend our time. There’s going to be 24 hours in a day whether we like it or not. However, the quality of those 24 hours is going to be exactly how we like it to be. Knowing we’re all going to die anyway gives you the permission to be exactly what you’ve always wanted to be, because who cares?! In the end, we all turn into the same dust and ashes. However while we’re still here, we get to be completely creative and unique and that is absolutely beautiful. In your time here on this Earth, there will never be another person that talks/smells/looks/sounds/tastes like you. When you’re dead though, we’ll all decompose into brown nutrients for the earth. So take this time to be that free spirit that you are, because our time is limited and none of us will make it out alive anyway 🙂
I know it’s easier said than done, and it’s difficult to remember them or apply them wholeheartedly. We often wish for a simpler way out of the struggles we face, so at times we don’t like to remember these hard truths. I leave you today with a quote Robert Frost once said: “the best way out is always through”. We must go through change and difficulty to reach the finish line so that we may reflect back and smile at the ways in which we danced in the sunlight and umbrella’d through storms when our limited time calls for us. The upside though, is that there are always tools and resources we can use while we go through the eye of the storm.