Sometimes, when you open your door to experiences you didn’t invite in, you might be pleasantly surprised
I recently experienced, what anyone would consider, to be pretty unpleasant, I fell and hit the back of head hard on a stone floor. When I came round, and in the immediate aftermath, I was focussed on how unpleasant the experience was, not to mention the pain and the ‘fear’ that resulted from it. Several weeks on, amidst the continuing headaches, I am beginning to look on the bright side and it has got me thinking…..
Ain’t nothing like a knock on the head to gain some perspective
When we suffer a traumatic experience it can have the knock on effect (I couldn’t resist the pun!) of providing a form of ‘awakening’ – a centring of sorts. After the fall, I felt an overwhelming feeling of ‘gratitude’ for being alive, no longer taking life for granted.
Sometimes, life has a habit of throwing us curveballs, it’s when they all come at once that we need to lean to catch and juggle at the same time. As someone who writes about ‘mindfulness’ I have been thinking about how to rationalise this experience. Should I even be trying to rationalise it? Or, is that over thinking? Perhaps I should just accept it and move on. Fact is, there isn’t any ‘should’, it’s whatever helps me to deal with the experience.
An opportunity to “reframe”
Anyone who reads my twitter feed will see a lot of #Reframes. A knock on the head is the perfect example of the art of ‘reframing’. Of course, we aren’t going to say how wonderful something like that is, that would be slightly mad. What we can do is to look carefully at the experience with the benefit of hindsight and turn the experience on its head (excuse the pun) to see if there is a learning to be had from it. It takes strength to do that but my guess is that you won’t be disappointed with what you find.
Every experience is multi faceted; indeed sometimes what we perceive to be one thing, often turns out to be another. Life and the experiences that come with it aren’t always how they appear to be. An experience may be multi-faceted, and it’s not always obvious how many sides there are to it, or what lesson the experience has for you.
What if the good, bad and the ugly wasn’t ‘bad’ after all?
We are so quick to label an experience as good or bad, laden with difficulties or laced with positives. That’s exactly what I did with the ‘head bang’. What I’m coming to learn is that in every difficulty, no matter how tough, there is always some glint of possibility and positivity, no matter how tiny that chink might be. If you look carefully, you will see it. Imagine if that little chink that shines amidst all of the darkness is the path that you’ve been waiting for that will take you where you want to go. You have to cling onto it, hug it like it’s your proverbial teddybear. With that clinging will come hope and hope is a wonderful thing, it is liberating when one is faced with any kind of pain or suffering.
What’s in a name?
Some of the challenges I’ve faced in my life are not all experiences I would have chosen, but the more of these I have, the more I am learning from them. I’m also learning to label them less and less. We live on a continuum where the whole range of experiences and emotions have notes and they all get played. Life wouldn’t be the symphony it is without the sharps, flats and minor keys. We wouldn’t know how to smile if we didn’t also know how to cry. Embrace every experience, no matter how tough, as an opportunity to grow.
As my wonderful grandma said to me “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Don’t let the words you tell yourself hurt you, just accept and move on, whatever the experience. We are only ever given what we can cope with. If that bar is set pretty high for you, you’re a warrior, born to live another day. Live and let learn.