This quote by Paulo Coelho, visualized, is my current desktop background. I see it, smile, and silently agree – each and every day.
There are those times in life when something comes at us at just the right time, resonating so loud & clear that we can’t help but latch on. A friend had posted this to my Facebook wall on August 29. A clean, simple, innocent visual; an incredibly fitting representation of the lessons my life was teaching me at exactly that time. There was no way it would slip into faint memory (thanks, David!).
At the end of August, I was at a pivot point, struggling with thoughts & feelings of “I’m not doing anything”. Today, I’m on the flip side, struggling (and loving it!) to “keep all the balls in the air”, as it were.
Both states of being are incredibly difficult. Each has it’s own glory points, perks, pitfalls, dark days, and lurky gremlins.
And hell, am I ever thankful for all of it – the whole beautiful, ugly mess. It has brought me to where I am today, has made me as ‘strong of will’ as I
like to think I am, has taught me how to deal with things I never even knew would be a challenge.
I feel like I’m finally growing up (“Mommy, wow! I’m a big kid now“). More and more, I find myself immersing in the uncomfortable, disquieting, uneasy parts of life – stewing in them, feeling whatever there is to feel, understanding myself through them – instead of running away by throwing myself into things I could control in one form or other. (Cue: perfectionism; pride in the self-proclaimed & publicly-supported ‘busy bee’ label; achievement addiction; title-chasing; …etc. Standing still slaps all of these things in the face.)
“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.“
Mr. Coelho: so poignant, so right. We will always be tested. In one form or other, in at least one of multiple given aspects of life we are striving to ‘attain’ or ‘master’ – we will always be tested. My thoughts and actions have finally synced in with the “so why not use challenges as sharpeners?” mentality.
My inner No. 2’s are being whipped into fine-tipped shape, one struggle at a time. Bring on the scantron, life.
Humbly, ~ H
The big dots of the post
• The “nothing happening” state is a quiet battle, every bit as difficult as its “everything happening” counterpart.
• Facing both – living, breathing, feeling them – that’s what the big kids do.
• Reveling in the struggle, not running from it, makes the most room for learning.
Which do you find more tests your will – the “nothing” or the “everything” scenario? What do you do to make it great for you regardless?
• A few weeks ago, I was feeling so guilty about falling off the “post regularly on Sundays” routine-wagon. It’s funny how things shift when I manage my expectations – the fact that I’m posting on a Monday instead this week barely bothers me (perfectionist H is still in here somewhere, after all). The difference? I made a very conscious decision about where my time was going this past week and weekend, and decided not to post on Sunday. It was an intentional, above the line choice. #happy
• I’m big on inputs. What you surround yourself with shapes you – some things obviously, others covertly (sometimes insidiously). Whatever the case, I think we’re fooling ourselves if we say that our environment does not have a very appreciable impact on who we are and what we do. (Try it yourself. If you usually hang around a low-key, home-body group of friends, get yourself into a high-energy, always-getting-out-there-and-doing-things crowd – or vice versa – for 3 weeks. Observe your behaviour, where your energy goes, etc. Changes? How so?) This quote is one of my daily visual inputs. What are yours?
• “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it.”
Your posts are incredibly thoughtful and complex that my usual reading habit (scan scan scan, synthesize, get the point and move on) doesn’t work 😀 And this is a compliment! Have you read/listen to the piece about Paulo on Tim Ferriss’ blog? http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/02/15/paulo-coelho-how-i-write/
Have yet to read the Alchemist. On my amazon wishlist though.
In which case, thank you! I’m so glad you think so.
Great resource link – hadn’t seen this content on Ferriss’ blog; will listen in on my commute tomorrow!
I finally read The Alchemist earlier this year, it was definitely on my “want to read” list for far too long. Let me know what you think once you do!
“More and more, I find myself immersing in the uncomfortable, disquieting, uneasy parts of life – stewing in them, feeling whatever there is to feel, understanding myself through them – instead of running away by throwing myself into things I could control in one form or other.” This = brilliant. Isn’t it amazing to think that some people go through an entire life without doing this? They hang out where it’s comfy, and by doing so, avoid ever taking a real risk. And by real, I mean a risk that isn’t condoned by everyone around them, the kind that simultaneously feels miserable and wonderful and changes you fundamentally in the process. Thanks for thinking the hard thoughts and sharing them with us, Humaira.
And thank *you* for your support, Rian.
“And by real, I mean a risk that isn’t condoned by everyone around them, the kind that simultaneously feels miserable and wonderful and changes you fundamentally in the process.”
I really like that. It can be so easy to fool ourselves into thinking we’re taking ‘real’ risks when they’re just slightly-less-safe choices – I know I struggle with that. My antidote has been not to label them up front, and letting the actions speak for what they are. It’s a tough road, but worth it, I think.