I wrote about embracing challenges a while back and I thought it was time for a rehash on the idea. Life is always going to send us challenges — which we will usually perceive as difficulties — and which we have a choice on how we react to. We can run, we can hide, we can fight or we can be like water and work with the situation, trusting ultimately that it will be to our greater benefit. If we choose the last, it hardly means that the road ahead will be an easy journey. But it does ignite within us a commitment to endure, flourish and thrive. And more importantly, it sets us on the road to reclaiming our power from the situation. Whatever we fear has power over us. Person, place, thing, idea, experience or difficulty, it matters not, if we fear it, then we are handing over an aspect of our own personal power to the challenging "thing" in front of us.
We all have these things in our lives. In fact, for fun, we could probably list them for easier reference. He frightens me, this situation makes me anxious, that idea disturbs me, this place is discomforting, etc. Whenever you turn and run, you're missing an opportunity to expand your power, expand your comfort zone and ultimately expand your life. But how to see it before we flee? How to get control over ourselves to inwardly say, "I'm reacting out of fear right now. I have to keep my stance and find a way to not be frightened in this situation." Notice, I am not talking about "fighting back." When we are frightened we usually react with anger. To make things "right again" we tend to want to take a club and hammer everything within view into submission — this way we feel good about ourselves and our comfort zones are maintained.
Instead, if we can stop for a moment and say, "I'm angry out of fear and the reality is, I have nothing to fear in this situation. The fear is an illusion coming from and aspect of my own insecurities about myself. I can trust myself and Life to handle this experience in the best way possible for me." It's not easy. It's really a mind game of developing discipline to not go into our ego and instead step outside of ourself and discover what triggers our buttions and has us handing our empowerment over to something else.
Our ego is going to balk at this whole process. But if we go through it, we discover that our world view, our maturity and our ideas on all aspects of life have changed a great deal. I can't say it enough — we create our lives at the micro level with our attitudes, assumptions, preconceived ideas, projections and prejudices. These things affect how we see ourselves and our place within the framework of Life. By accepting challenging situations as learning opportunities and letting go of these internal views, we give ourselves the chance to expand and grow.
A plant can't grow if it is holding onto and grasping its seed shell. It has to let go of the shell and emerge to find the light of day. People are the same way. The more we grasp and hold on to attitudes, assumptions, preconceived ideas, projections and prejudices; the more we weight ourselves down with past responses to Life which may serve no purpose in where our journey is taking us. Thus, the slower we allow ourselves to accept change and the more burdensome our journey becomes to us as we expend more energy trying to "control" every area of our lives.
By trusting that every experience we encounter is there to help us, we take the first step in dismantling our micro level attitudes which weave the fabric of our lives together. And this is why it is so frightening and hard to simply trust. Because it could potentially — and probably will – undo our lives. And most of us find that a very scary idea to jump into without reassurances, bargains and other ways to slow down change and exert some control over the process of becoming. However, the more we open up to trusting and seeing our "job" in life as simply a task of trusting, then the less life frightens us — the dark corners are not so scary, "bad" things are to so terrible and minor setbacks are not so major — and we begin to see and appreciate how truly amazing and miraculous is this gift of living.