I've been out in the garden recently, picking up the broken twigs and branches, left in the wake of Storm Doris. This got me thinking about the cycle of life. Again.
It fascinates me to observe Mother Nature making change happen, in perfect time, and to see such deadwood jettisoned for the greater good. All of the broken twigs and branches on my lawn were weak or dead; effectively a drain on the nutritional resources of the tree. So along comes a storm and removes them, for the greater vitality of the whole, allowing new branches room to grow when the sun comes out. Our lives are like this too.
How often have we cursed a sudden and unexpected change in our lives, when it feels like a huge part of us has been ripped away, often through no choice of our own? We naturally experience all of the negative thoughts and emotions that follow, but in the fullness of time, we look back and accept the necessity of what happened and why.
Referring back to my garden, the initial effects of Storm Doris left a mess, but thankfully there was no structural or critical damage sustained. It took a while to tidy the mess, but now I am enjoying the new shoots and buds of Spring, because the storm removed the deadwood. As I'm not a tree surgeon, I didn't appreciate the deadwood needed removing prior to the storm, and wouldn't have chosen to hack away at the tree for fun. But if the weak branches were a drain on the tree itself, then I'm thankful that nature took its course.
WHEN LIFE KICKS YOU IN THE DINKY DOUGHNUTS
When life kicks you in the Dinky Doughnuts from out of nowhere, all you can see is the initial mess. There's no point me trying to tell you to look at the bigger picture now, because you're swept up in the storm, and fighting to hold on. Please believe me when I tell you however that no storm lasts forever, they all fade away eventually. What they bring is change, and what happens to you next, depends on how you choose to respond to that change. My advice to you is this: Embrace the winds of change, because they've been sent to your life for reason.
Pain, sorrow and disappointment all stem from one source, expectation. Whatever has kicked you in the danglers recently, has hurt you because you were expecting something else, i.e.: for this not to have happened. If you resist the change sweeping into your life right now, if you try and hold back the energy coming your way, you will only succeed in prolonging your discomfort. Acceptance is key. Clinging to your preconceived ideas and expectations will plunge you into weakness, despair and additional sorrow. Don't do it
Instead, I would urge you to face your new reality with courage and determination. Accept the changes being brought into your world, even if you can't see or comprehend any positive merits to the situation straight away. Remember, you're swept up in the winds of change, it's okay not to see everything clearly just now.
Give yourself time and permission to think, feel, breathe and respond (- not react, there's a difference). Take each moment one step at a time, and do your best in each of those moments. By doing your best in this moment, puts you in the best position for the next moment. If there's something positive and proactive you can do right now, do it right now, otherwise diarise it and do it then - but move onto something else, don't dwell.
HOW TO EMPOWER YOURSELF
Start as soon as you can to clear up the initial mess, this will empower and energise you. However small or incremental your achievements, you will feel better by making things better. It doesn't matter how slow you go where progress is concerned, forwards is forwards. Little by little a little becomes a lot, and your proactivity in clawing your way out of your situation, will boost your self-esteem. You will be able to look back and say: "I did that. I don't know how I did it, but I did it!". This in itself is likely to be one of the biggest lessons bestowed upon you by your storm; the realisation that you are stronger and capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.
In the fullness of time when the storm has passed, your clear vision will return. When you're no longer running around at DEFCON 1, your mind will be able to look beyond the urgent and emergency, to consider the broader whys and wherefores. Don't beat yourself up by forcing yourself to see or understand anything before the time is right. Oftentimes you have to become the person capable of understanding the whys and wherefores, before they are shown to you - hence the storm in the first place. Your storm removes your deadwood as much as anyone else's. Old patterns of thinking or behaviour might have to be jettisoned before you're ready for the next chapter in your life. Just because your storm was uncomfortable to experience, doesn't mean it wasn't exactly what you needed and when. It may have been frightening but, no matter what you've been through, you've grown as a result - and now you're ready for your new shoots and buds.
Whatever you do, don't focus on what is lost. Determinedly train your mind to focus on what the storm is bringing into your world, rather than on what has been taken away. It was taken away for a reason, please embrace this fact as quickly as you can. The alternative is to fight the change, live in a state of denial, an alternate reality, and that's not healthy. This refusal to embrace the winds of change will keep you small and imprisoned in pain, until you do accept the new reality.
"Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end" - Robin Sharma
* Photo Credit: Northampton Chronicle & Echo