Life teaches us many lessons, some come easily, others painfully and some only by a special vote of Congress. A few years ago, as I considered the many lessons of my life I had an epiphany. All of these lessons had one thing in common: An individual. This thought led me to consider why some things had come easier than others and over time I designed the following statement to sum up what I discovered:
“Only the moment seems eternal and in a moment everything will change.”
Have you ever waited anxiously for a call or child’s arrival home? What could be delaying them? Why hasn’t the job or loan officer or agent contacted me? Perhaps an important meeting or confrontation is on the horizon? The imagination swirls with the possibilities and internal tension grows. Every moment stretches to infinity. Then the phone rings or the door opens, the moment arrives, and instantly all the tension melts away as our thoughts and fears find release. Everything changes.
I noticed in the last round of ROW80 that many of us (myself included) went through phases where life was not agreeable to our plans. Life is inconsiderate like that. Is there anything that we can do to get through these disruptive times and still keep our goals and desires intact? I think so.
Interruptions are many. They can be something as simple as a child’s urgent (and forgotten) need for our time to those of a more serious nature such as a major life change. Here are some suggestions on how to get through these moments and back to the things we want to accomplish.
- When an interruption, distraction or the chaos of life intrudes, stay calm and relaxed. Take a deep breath. Let the emotion of the moment reside. Doing this helps us gain clarity and manage the moment in a way that is less stressful, keeps us focused and often resolves things in the least amount of time. It is when we resist what the moment brings that it seems eternal.
- Remain flexible in your thinking. A plan that is rigid is easy to break. If you swing a sledge hammer (i.e. life) at a concrete wall (rigid plan) a hole and fractures will result and in time the wall will collapse. Swing the same hammer at a piece of sheet metal (flexible by design) and while the surface of the metal may be scratched it is likely that the hammer will be flung away with ease. When we keep our goals realistic to the needs of our lives and our minds open to the need for adjustments we reduce the impact of life’s moments. Rigidity increases stress and is a prime factor in making moments seem eternal.
- Isolation is a lonely place. When life bogs us down it is easy to fall inside ourselves and enjoy a personal pity party. This is a sure way to make a moment eternal. We all (hopefully) have made at least a few friends through life and ROW80. Finding one (or more) that you can talk to privately (through email or DM’s) is a great way to overcome feelings of isolation when the pressure is on and things just aren’t going the way we had hoped. Having a ROW partner is an excellent way to avoid isolation but the important thing is to remember that we are part of a network of people that share common goals and issues. We also, and I know this from seeing it in the last round, are very supportive of each other through good and bad times. Isolation is always self-generated and when we reach out to others they are always happy to reach back.
Taking these steps is the fast road to “…in a moment everything will change.” While we cannot avoid the distractions of life, we can take effective steps to reduce the impact of those moments, minimize the stress and keep ourselves and our futures on track.