By Deb Avery
Everyday the headlines tell us stories.
Sometimes the stories are lighthearted, inspiring and life-giving. But more often than not they are the very antithesis of these. After all, the passion and energies surrounding negativity sells newspapers, magazines and boost TV ratings. At times we all struggle with the onslaught of wave after wave of negativity in the news, in our communities and in our own lives. Even the most zen person living today will find times when they are knocked off balance by events and struggle within and without to regain their equanimity.
We are all mere mortals dealing with human emotions, feelings and thoughts. And we all react to events and situations to a certain extent. We meditate, we practice, we think positively and keep drama to a minimum, but we are all still human with all the complexities of the human mind and emotions.
So how do we keep our sanity, much less our balance, when things around us seem to be spiraling into chaos? The answer to that question is just as varied and unique as we ourselves are.
However, I have found that there are four basic behaviors that are available to all of us with a little practice and lot of patience. These learned behaviors can help us keep our balance as we walk through turbulent times. They are as follows:
Not all situations are meant to be solved by us. Each person must go through their own struggles. We can help in constructive ways, but we must remember that it is through the struggle itself that we become strong and resilient. No one—no being—is without difficulties. And we must accept that we do have have control over certain events, situations and we never have control over others and their reactions.
Never give up. Use the energy of your troubles, disappointments and even your sadness to propel you forward on your journey. And remember that while it’s not only okay to rest at times, (it’s necessary) and we must keep moving forward with hope.
When we look through the eyes of compassion we will find understanding. When we find understanding we will gain the ability to see things as they truly are instead of simply sensing with our emotions, judgments and views.
Find the good in every situation. It’s there. It may be hiding behind many masks; illness, depression, the destructive attitudes and actions of others and many other situations. But there, somewhere, in the depths of sadness, pain and anger, there is always—always—a reason for gratitude.
Until we accept a situation, there is no way to work through it. Without acceptance we will keep butting our heads against the wall, ranting over the latest incident or situation and missing the peace and release that comes with realizing that we are not in control. Once we grasp the concept of not trying to control we can learn to persevere. We come to realize that in order to be happy we must keep on growing, learning, living, loving and doing the best in the situations that we meet along our way. Hope is always there if we simply do not give up.
We must learn to be compassionate not only with our fellow beings and life’s situations, but also with ourselves. That has been something that has helped me so much over the past several years. Through compassion for myself I have come to view my own difficulties and shortcomings with love and forgiveness. That in turn has helped me understand, love and forgive others.
Focusing and practice on these behaviors has brought so much more gratitude into my life. I have come to understand deeply just how beautiful the individual moments in life are. I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy the present moment. To feel the deep gratitude for even the simplest things in life. And this, in turn, has brought much joy and happiness into my life. I think it can to yours as well.
By focusing on these four basic behaviors, working with them and practicing them on a daily basis, I have learned to balance out the rough spots, the negative emotions and energy, and find some equanimity even on the toughest of days. Peace is always available to each of us. Each and every day.
May we all find the balance and equanimity that we need to bring peace to each breath.
Want to know more about how to deal with stress? Read: Stressed? 5 Ways Yoga & Meditation Help with Work/Life Balance
Editor: Dana Gornall