When Challenges Arise…and They Will

It seems like a lot of people I know are having quite the challenging winter so far. I’ve been sick with a cold, with its lingering cough, for more than a month. This week it decided to ramp back up, complete with revolving issues like sore throat, earaches, and of course the cough. Not fun. In fact, I’ve taken some time off just to rest and recover, and haven’t been online much at all. This post started out as a Facebook status update, to say I’m back and to offer some support, but now it’s grown into its own thing.

You see, after having a really positive several months, with lots of cool changes and upgrades and a feeling of deep joy that buoyed me up even through the difficult times, it feels like the stuff has hit the fan. Besides the ongoing cold, I have family members in hospital (and hospice, in one case), financial crises, a beloved being taken advantage of, and a business that’s not progressing as smoothly as I’d hoped. It feels pretty crappy.

So this pep talk is as much for me as anyone who might resonate with it. It comes after taking a few days off to just be, to rest and read and not work on anything at all – which is something I rarely do. In looking back over what’s been going on just since November – holy change, catwoman! No wonder this little Earth sign is feeling a bit overwhelmed.

So, here’s the course of action I’m suggesting to myself, and perhaps to you, if it feels right.

1. Accept what is. Start right where you are. Maybe things aren’t as you wish – that’s probably so, in at least one area of your life. By accepting what is right now, though, you plant yourself firmly in the present moment. That’s the place of power, from which you can create great change. Do some meditation. Allow some time to just be, and reflect. Accept your life and circumstances, just as they are. This week, I called this step “surrendering to the process,” and even though it was hard to let go, it has helped.

catbrothers2. Find your joys. Turn your focus, next, to the people, things, and experiences that you really love. Notice the ones that are already part of your life – hugs from a loved one, really good books that transport your imagination, snuggly cats or dogs, unexpected bursts of laughter, warm blankets, the sunshine making tree shadows on the snow, a friend checking up on you. Feel your gratitude for these delights. Feel it deep in your innermost being. Express it, and love it up. Love your unique joys with all your heart.

3. Turn toward your dreams. Whatever it is that you feel is missing in your life – money, health, authenticity, success – is a desire. Desires are the catalyst for co-creation. Visualize how you’d love things to be for you. Look to the outcome, the end result, letting go of how you’ll get from here to there. Love up your dreams as strongly as you have your joys.

4. Take baby steps. Now, with your desired feelings and outcomes in mind, take some tiny little steps toward what you desire. Say a prayer for your ill loved one. Reach out to a potential ally in getting the word out about your business, and ask her to have coffee with you. Drink a vitamin-C laden fruit smoothie. Take out your journal and make a list of creative ideas.

5. Know that you’re not alone. You are loved, deeply loved. By your friends and family and beloveds, of course. By your pets, unconditionally. And also by unseen guides and Divine forces – or at least that is my experience. When you can open yourself to the feeling that you’re not doing this life thing all by yourself, even when you feel most alone, you’ll tap into a creative force to be reckoned with.

Go ahead and feel your feelings, let yourself sink down into the situation you’re in, even if it’s so hard you just want to cry, and sleep. So, go ahead and cry! Get some extra sleep. Then, when you’re ready, take some steps (whether these or your own version, it doesn’t really matter) that will lift you back up into your power.

Challenges are a part of this life, and they often serve as the contrast that will boost us into, ultimately, even more joy and love and light. Rather than curse them, accept them and then use them to catapult you forth into the places where you really shine.

You’ve got this.

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