The storm has come. It has passed. We've taken initial stock of what transpired as a result. We have rested and reflected. And now, onward... But what does that really mean?
One consistent thread I've noticed throughout my life is how from one storm to the next, I've figured out how to move forward. Life goes on, right? But I haven't always moved through the pieces of my experience in health or to fully heal. I used to live under a banner that said, "Get over it." This perspective set me into behavior where I "stuffed" what was real and didn't allow myself the space I needed to truly move forward as the storm wrapped up. Have you ever been there? You're over any thought of the storm and all you want to do is pick up the pieces and get out of there? BUT...
- What if the storms we face in our lives actually position us to move onward into the best of lands?
- What if we glean from our experiences and allow them to transform us for the better?
- What if hope reigns and we put disappointment and any defeat imposed upon us in the wake of the storm away from us?
It's not to say that we invalidate our experiences. No, not in the least. In fact, without looking deeply into what a storm triggered in us, took from us and how it has shaped us, we would miss the treasure altogether. But what if we legitimately decide that storms have no power to define us in any way that steals life and hope from us moving forward?
Maybe it seems ridiculous or naive to live with this perspective. Perhaps you're not sure how to walk in this as your reality. If there's one thing I continue to learn over and over and over again in this life, it's that there's always another layer to uncover in my process of growth and transformation. Change occurs one step at a time, after all. To me, this is how we get to the place where we weather the storm in health and rest and ready ourselves for the "Onward!"
At the end of the day, what it comes down to is our belief systems. If we give power to the storms we face in this life to devastate us, they will. It's not that life isn't filled with devastating circumstances. It's about our willingness and ability to be devastated by them. We are profound creatures. Our make-up is one of strength and courage. What we set our minds to, for good or bad, we achieve. Our perspectives literally shape our world!!
And, instead of "handling" a storm by blaming our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors on our circumstances, what if we learned to take responsibility for them despite our circumstances? By taking responsibility for our response to what's happening (or what has happened), we tend to focus more on what we can do to move forward. We get creative, we develop solutions, we seek help, we heal. Plus, we are less likely to hurt the people around us as we navigate our way forward.
It's important to pause here and say: Sometimes we're literally in survival mode and don't have the capacity to sort through all of these layers, though. If you're there, it's okay. This just isn't the last word for you. You may need to come back when you're more fully rested to take a look at what your experience meant to you and go from there. It's a process...
Our individual journeys through each storm will be shaped by the growth and transformation experienced in the last. If we allow it, we grow stronger each time a new storm passes. Our feelings and experiences are valid. We just cannot allow them to rule us. I think we can learn this well over time. It also never hurts to have people in our lives who love us and are willing to tell us the truth. They are beacons of hope who can point out valuable "noticings" to us about our own experience and responses. When we think of moving onward, bringing them into dialogue about what that means and how that might look can be an invaluable decision.
- Will you allow the storms in your life to position you to step into the best of lands by believing that the best is yet to come despite present circumstances?
- Will you allow the storms in your life to shape you for the better by allowing your character to be shaped and molded for the positive in the experience?
- Will you stay in hope by refusing to befriend disappointment and any suggestion that this storm marks your defeat as a person?
Let's dig deep into our experiences. Let's take responsibility for our responses. Let's heal for real. ONWARD.