Faith is the all-encompassing belief that everything will work out, regardless of the circumstances. When difficulties arise, fear and doubt can get the better of us as we lapse into survival mode to maintain a sense of sanity for ourselves. Faith counters the chaos in our lives and gives us the necessary courage to proceed with confidence and grace. It provides inner peace during times of stress and turmoil.
How do we find faith in adversity? How do we begin to trust the natural flow of life and appreciate even the most difficult moments? The answer lies in virtues and the enduring belief that there is goodness in every moment of our lives.
Virtues are everywhere. Techniques on how to find them were discussed in my previous blog post from November 28, entitled ‘Life is Sweet’. Know that virtues are only a thought away and tied to your perceptions and beliefs. Open your mind to the potential goodness in life and you have faith; faith that all is well and all will be well. Acceptance and gratitude goes a long way in bringing more goodness to your life.
Faith is divine. Faith breeds peace within and to the world around us. As we bid farewell to 2011, have faith that the new year will bring positive rewards and personal fulfillment. Believe that all is well in the natural evolution of things. May peace be with you as you close this year and move into a new one with an open heart and hopeful mind. I hope that wonder and curiosity captures you to reveal the magic of faith.
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in excitement and gladness; touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis: all moments are key moments and life itself is grace.” Frederick Buechner
Surrendering can be gratifying. Most people think of the word ‘surrender’ in terms of a battlefield where differences are resolved with one side victorious while the other side is defeated. Contrast that with the notion of both sides winning through positive synergy. When everyone wins, a compromise has been reached and the term surrender takes on a whole different meaning. It becomes an act of humility as opposed to one of defeat. Surrendering in this way involves walking the higher road and having compassion for all, including yourself.
The opposite of surrender is control. What do we try to control in our life? What can we control? While some things can be more easily influenced than others, some are entirely out of our control. This is the case with certain unknowns in life and uncompromising people or situations. As hard as we try to evoke specific outcomes, our efforts may seem futile for the time and energy we invest. In these situations, surrendering may be the best option while yielding to the natural flow of life.
Compassion and humility are your friends as you surrender to life’s flow. Compassion for yourself and others can be found in virtues as discussed in my previous posts. Humility can be achieved by letting go and allowing things or others to evolve in their own natural way. What do you think will happen? Will everything fall apart? Many perceive the worst but this is seldom the case. Life has its own natural rhythm and pace for everything and everyone.
Relinquishing control can be quite freeing although it may seem contrary at first. To make it easier for yourself, adopt a lesson from Mother Nature and the cycles of plant life through changing seasons. Notice the birth of new buds in springtime, flourishing growth in summer, and gradual decline in autumn through winter. To everything and everyone, there is a season; a time for emerging growth, a time for action, and a time for rest. Yielding to the natural flow of life holds great lessons for each of us. Have faith in this flow and free yourself to experience the emerging goodness, like that of a setting sun which glows ever more brilliant with each passing moment.
Life flows easily when we are enjoying ourselves but when anxiety, fear or anger seeps in, everything changes. Our perceptions may become clouded by overwhelming emotions that hinder our ability to see anything positive. If life is a river, there would be some sections where the water is serene and smoothly flowing and others where it rages and cascades down like a waterfall. The torrents might represent the troubling times in our lives – times that we would happily forgo but are nonetheless significant pieces of our life stories. In these times, virtues are seldom clear. We need to ride through the rapids and return to calm waters before we can see clearly once again.
You may be familiar with the phrase “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. This suggest courage and commitment to complete the task at hand. Persevering to reach self-imposed goals brings its own rewards along with important life lessons. It is these lessons that become virtues. Overcoming life’s challenges involves astute awareness and conscious choice, responding mindfully in a way that best serves you and the greater good. From here you can emerge sooner and in a healthier emotional state. With every challenge, there is the seed of something greater and more expansive awaiting discovery. Staying positive and curious in the process is vital to experiencing the emerging goodness.
Love and optimism are powerful antidotes to life’s stressors. Positive energy evokes positive experiences with surprising rewards. Believe in the richness of life’s moments and yield to the flow of your river’s currents. Have faith that each surge and waterfall has a purpose just as much as the serene and gently flowing parts do. They all contribute to our natural evolution and fullest expression of ourselves. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by holding an open heart and positive mindset while surrendering to the flow of life. As long as we keep the sun in view, virtues and abundance will always be in our horizon.
Virtues abound in our world. Virtues are the positive qualities of people and the things around us. We might not notice or appreciate them since we have become so accustomed to their presence in our environment. Our minds may be focused elsewhere, consumed by news from family and friends or media sources. Quite possibly, we are immersed in thought over events that happened yesterday or considering what might happen tomorrow. Whenever our awareness is not in the present moment, we are not fully engaged and appreciating the virtues of our surroundings.
It is ironic that our sense of appreciation diminishes with increased abundance. Whether it involves material possessions, conveniences of life, activities or time spent with others, we can easily lose sight of the inherent virtues around us. Stop for a moment and consider the things you value in your life. What would your life be like without them? How would you feel if they were not available to you? What changes would you have to make to compensate for their absence? Once you realize what is really important to you, you will begin to embrace what I call ‘cup half full’ thinking. It is from this perspective where true appreciation lives.
In contrast, ‘cup half empty’ embraces a scarcity mentality with a focus on what you do not have. Cup half empty comes from a negative mindset while cup half full embraces a positive one. It is a simple concept that is a great visual tool to carry with you. Is your cup half empty or half full? How can you maintain a positive mindset?
We can build appreciation by slowing down our pace in life and practicing discernment with negative influences from our world. Stop in the midst of what you are doing and really take notice of the virtues in your surroundings. Take a moment to express gratitude for them.This is easy to practice while out in nature. Pause during your walk outdoors to enjoy the beauty around you. The longer you remain in one place, the more you will notice subtle details. Maybe it is the coloring of the sky, the sound of a bird or the scent of a flower. Maybe it is the sight of dewdrops glistening in the sun, lush green foliage or squirrels scampering between trees. All is well in these beautiful moments as you sink deeply into a place of gratitude and smile to yourself. Life is good when your glass is half full and then some, brimming over with the sweet savory nectar of life.
With a deep sense of peace and gratitude, I embark on Wise Sister’s blog envisioning spirited growth from an energy all of it’s own. My hope is that my writing will become something like a warm and trusted friend in your life that soothes you, brings insight and validates your experiences while inspiring you to move forward. Thank you for joining me and I encourage you to submit your comments at any time. My goal is to create a wholesome synergy that benefits untold numbers as the blog matures. I hope that every time you visit this site, you acquire something of value to enhance your day and share with others.
We are unique beings with our own views, beliefs and experiences. Our commonalities come from our humanness and the need to nourish our bodies and souls in order to survive and flourish. Finding meaning and purpose becomes increasingly important as we age and try to make sense of our lives while carving out our own special place in the world. Once we realize our own distinct rhythm in life, our hearts can truly sing as we take on a special glow like that of a rising sun, revealing our own true colours in all their intensity.
As I look back on my life, I see rays of light amidst times of darkness. The premature loss of loved ones left dark imprints as I grew through childhood without a mother, adolescence without a father, and parenthood without a husband. In spite of these significant losses, blessings prevailed with meaningful friendships, the birth of my sons, post-secondary success, rewarding work and opportunities to travel abroad. My life has taught me to take nothing for granted, to hold the bigger picture at all times and appreciate even the simplest of things in life. Sharing love and laughter are the real gifts of life that we all cherish. I am blessed to have family and good friends of all ages to share my journey and along with my ancestors, they breathe life and wisdom into these pages.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu
The most beautiful memories in life often come from being fully present and open to the virtues of our surroundings. I am in awe of the abundance of goodness our world has to offer and ask: “What brings you joy in your life?” “How can you create more space for what you cherish today?”
Many blessings to you as we journey forward together.