“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
                    -Jack Kornfield

What do you do when you’ve experienced loss?  How do you respond to emotional pain?  How do you come to terms with change when the transition is uncomfortable?

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Many scholars and gurus have written and spoken about the art of coping with adversity and negativity.  This is not the forum for reviewing and summarizing the advice that is abundant in the universe.  I will, however, contribute my thoughts on the subject.

When the going gets tough, and the hurt cuts like a knife, when the heat is a “slow burn,” I suggest taking flight.

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I’ve always wanted to fly.  During one of my medical school interviews (at Yale), my interviewer asked me what I would do if I didn’t get accepted into medical school.  My response was akin to: “I have never thought about that possibility.  However, if I have to think about it, as you’re asking me now, I would be a Navy fighter pilot.”  In recalling that experience, I’m now reflecting deeper about what did, and maybe still does, resonate so truly for me.  Is it that I am a fighter, ever persistently trying to keep the faith, staying in it (perhaps too long?), and not giving up (hope)?  Or is that my strong and nearly insatiable wanderlust leads me to look for flight patterns which allow me to cherish new experiences and desire autonomy?  Either way, I may have based some of my coping mechanisms on that archetype– the fighter pilot.

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For me, sometimes there is peace in retreat.  I occasionally find solace in tempered solitude.  I gain more clarity in the light of searching the un-illuminated recesses of my soul.  I’ve got to think and feel my way through it– every burn, each scar, all wounds.  After all, is it not through an open wound that light enters us (Rumi)?

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Thus, I think it best to accept with grace and gratitude what you cannot change, and learn and grow from each experience that you co-create or that life presents.  What is meant for you is meant to help you evolve; so don’t fight it.  Just fly with it.

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Stay well– inside and out!
SM

 

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