There’s an Arabic saying that goes:
“All sunshine and no rain makes a desert”.
When things go wrong in life, our automatic reaction tends to be,”Oh No!” Or “Why me?” Or “That’s not fair!”. Or we start scanning through our past actions and seeing this as some kind of divine punishment for the times our words and deeds were less than “perfect”. “I deserve this.” “It’s my fault.” I’m a bad person, so no wonder.”
The thing is life is up and then it’s down. That’s the nature of things. Every day presents us with new challenges, new opportunities to learn and grow. The question is how do we meet them?
In adversity, our deep-seated beliefs about ourselves tend to jump up and grab us by the throat. “See?… I told you you couldn’t do this”. “You’re such a loser”. “Give up now”. “Nothing you do will ever be enough so why bother?”
Here’s the thing. Some people believe all of this internal chatter, these rocks we throw in our own path to add to the difficulty we already face. Some people notice the rocks, accept them and politely step to one side. “I hear what you’re saying and I’m going to just step around you and keep going.”
Every journey requires a sense of direction and a strong intention. Whether you are walking to the tube station, starting you own business, or dealing with a time of intense personal difficulty, this is true. At every moment we can crumble, get diverted or give up. Or we can get in touch with some deeper sense of ourselves.
“What is there for me to learn here?”. “What do I need to let go of?”. “How can I accept this obstacle as a challenge rather than a permanent road block?”
When we reconnect with our intention, we re-connect with our courage. When we reconnect with the sense that life is a journey, that nothing lasts and that everything is in a constant state of flux, we can find inner stability. When we remind ourselves that happiness is also transient and not the goal, acceptance finds room to grow and ease our pain.
Then a sense of space and perspective can open up. In that space, we can see possibility.
Life will always throw rocks in our path. Do they stop you or grow you? Even an apparent avalanche is made up of smaller rocks, each of which can be climbed beyond, as long as you maintain that sense of direction and keep clear in your heart your intention.
This is the nature of courage. Nelson Mandela said is beautifully:
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.