Would you believe that my reading of the book, Enthusiasm Makes The Difference, is still in progress? It has been a few weeks now but this time around I am savouring every page of this masterpiece by Norman Vincent Peale. Sitting on the train every morning heading into downtown Edmonton is the only time that I read it.
Being a morning person, that is when information, ideas and inspiration are best understood and discerned by me. So, as my mind mused about what the result of my recent breast examinations and testing could mean for my life, I reached what might be the best section. Problems and how to handle them.
My daughter hated this song after a while. She said it was over played. Yet, every time it plays you will catch me jigging like crazy. Why? Well at first, my thought was about an ex who caused me nothing but problems. Over time though, the beat just holds me.
So Many Problems!
Yet, as I read the last few chapters in Dr. Peale’s book, my appreciation of the problems of life grew. Even the heart breaks and boy oh boy have I had many!
“Struggle Is Part Of Nature,” he headlined this remarkable section of the book.
Of course the world is full of trouble, deep, dark, grievous trouble. The world is full of problems, hard knotty problems. It always will be so. If any politician or preacher tells you that all problems are going to be eliminated from this world through some panacea, do not fall for it. The constitution of the universe does not support it. The world is made on the basis of struggle; and struggle is inevitably attended by difficulty, often by pain plus hardship. Norman Vincent Peale
Another light bulb came on reading those words. The harshest moments of my life flashed across my mind’s screen and swiftly behind them came the achievements resulting from their being-ness.
Smile And Keep Moving
Do not get me wrong, those problems were not welcomed in the moments they occurred. Who in their rational mind would want:
- To come home to see their parent’s house being emptied by bailiff’s?
- Their genius, or so they thought, start-up business to fail and do so dramatically?
- A much longed for marriage or relationship ends in domestic abuse or betrayal?
- To be conned out of every penny they have and be left bankrupt?
Absolutely no one is the correct answer but these “problems” happen every day to many people.
Examining and reflecting on some of the challenges, prefer that word, over my lifetime and even now, Dr. Peale’s point came forcefully to me. I even recall that in one of my relationships, we were at our best as a couple when we had a mountain of challenges to climb over. Ironically, as things began to plateau for us, that was when someone else stepped into our lives and my then partner took off with them. We got comfortable but Life course-corrected me through that experience.
Take Your Problems Apart
Do not misread that headline to mean get into a royal battle with the challenges in your life. What these last many years have taught me, things worth sharing with you as strategies, and funny enough Dr. Peale wrote as much, are these:
- Before anything else, take a deep breath and do not panic when a challenge arise.
- Do not catastrophize your situation. It is not the end of the world. Words that easily come to me when a challenge looms before me are these: “Be still and Know.”
- “Skip the post-mortems.” This is a key strategy Dr. Peale offered. The “why did I’s?” solve nothing.
- Clarify what is before you by writing out the situation. Dr. Peale refers to this step as “de-confusing.” Years ago, watching Oprah she used the phrase, “writing clarifies,” and that became my reason for blogging. Writing and specifically writing a new version, a different ending usually opens me up to a solution or an exit from the ‘calamity’.
- Last but most important: allow the opening up of the solution through “creative listening.” That looks different for each of us. It might be meditation for you, being in Nature, or simply stroking a pet. Whatever it is: Listen calmly.
As For My Challenges
Never one to write about anything that I have never experienced or am going through, this is as much for me as it is for you.
Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow. ― Anthony Robbins
At this point along my journey, my breast health challenge is my current challenge/companion. The result of my recent breast examinations and test is that there is a cyst. The substitute doctor that gave me the result said, “It is nothing to worry about,” brushing my question aside as to what is causing the intense burning and pain. My heart is at peace with whatever it really is, however, those most close to me say that I should have at least a second opinion if not actual testing of this cyst. I am listening.
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Until next week,