“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees… I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
In my previous post , I described the generosity, kindness, support and sense of unity that disasters or horrific events affecting a large mass can often generate. But simultaneously, the aftermath of such events also leads us to ponder WHY- WHY here, WHY now, WHY us, simply WHY? Whether on a large or small scale, unfortunate events ranging from a stroke of bad luck or injury to sickness and death to a vicious crime committed often cause us to search out answers for why they have occurred to this person or group at this particular time and place. It is a reflection, not only on the humanity that binds us, but our mortality. If harm was done against us, we want to figure out the motives, understand the psyche of the perpetrator and/or torture ourselves with the “what ifs.” When bad luck or ill health strikes us, we often try to find a reason in the larger scheme of things as to why here and now. “Everything happens for a reason,” “it is a blessing in disguise,” “it’s in god’s (or the universe’s) plan,” are some of the common refrains we tell ourselves or others to provide some solace during moments of personal struggle or duress.
But, sometimes instead of providing calm, such refrains may cause us to more furiously try and find the lesson or silver lining out of a situation or the strength we are supposed to extract despite the potentially devastating immediate pain we are experiencing. There is the pressure that we must move past this as fast as we can, but perhaps in the pressure of moving so quickly beyond the pain we forget to take the time to just stop or sit and take stock of how we are feeling…to notice our sensations and emotions, even when they are painful…and just simply be in the moment.
Just be in the moment-what does that even mean in this day in age when almost every answer is at our technological appendages? How-with multiple work assignments and meetings, several appointments, networking, interest groups and social obligations, plus all the other unexpected that come up throughout the day? As someone who has recently embarked on my own personal journey towards a peaceful calm through yoga and meditation, it is easier said than done.
And in the city that never sleeps, where a typical morning commute is something like this (on a good day), it is especially challenging…
But in assessing life’s roadblocks, daily annoyances and difficult relationships, we can either, let them build up and overtake us, heading towards self-destruction (à la Fitzgerald’s Gatsby) or become mindfully aware and eventually remove ourselves from the negative dynamics and more effectively move past them.
So, as we are about to embark upon our journey into the summer, we can use this as a time to re-evaluate, take the good and leave the bad, embrace the positive energy and block out the negativity surrounding us in order to find our inner peace and the strength to deal with all of life’s challenges, whatever they may be.
And whether or not you’re fully on board or still feel like this, a little inspirational music to get you going…
Fom yoga driven motivation-
I Am- Aykanna
to the Icelandic mysticism of Jónsi-
to reaching for that “higher love, <you’ve> been thinking of…”