As I've mentioned, life has been crazy for the past few months. Everyone is dealing with their own 'something', and the specific situation isn't even the point. I feel that the point is how we respond to it - how we deal with it and learn from it.
As I've been solo-living for the past little while, it has given me a lot of time to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Not as fun as it sounds - I much prefer companionship! All of this alone time has translated into an embarrassing number Parenthood and Gilmore Girls episodes, but there has been an enduring feeling that this is important time. It's a formative time and I'm a firm believer that you learn more in the lows of life than you do in the highs. That there is something to learn in this phase and it's not to be wasted. "Don't waste the pain" is a phrase that's been going over and over in my head.
So I've been trying to see it as an opportunity. I don't just want to get through this phase or to get through to the other side and feel only relief. There will be relief, no question about it, but I also want to look back and be able to identify what I have learned. What I have felt.
So I say, lean in. Tune in. Don't waste the pain. Listen to what is going on inside of you and think about it. Pay attention to the little things. Look fro the positive things and don't dismiss the negative. It takes intentionality and a bit of stubbornness. It takes digging deep and sitting with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. It's raw, but it's good.
One of the things I keep coming back to is the idea of the bitter and sweet. One of my favourite authors, Shawna Niequest put it best:
“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness. ‘It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy. This is the work I’m doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you, and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you, and grow.”
I went out looking for those little gifts - the 'moment of lightness', as Shawna puts them. They have become referred to as 'manna' moments in my family. They were simple. Like riding my bike to work and seeing the first bloom on a big vine. Or on that same bike ride, seeing a police officer admiring an old lady's earrings (it was adorable). Or just a really good coffee. An easy, genuine conversation. Just those little things that you can pass by without a second thought or, take a minute to be present in it and appreciate it.
For you today, whether life is sweet or bitter, I hope you claim your moments to be present and thankful, and through that awareness, you see your manna moments. Happy Monday :) Add a comment »