“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
As I teach in my meditation classes, having a daily meditation practice does not eliminate stress in your life, but it changes your reactions to the stress in your life. Last week, I had several opportunities to put this philosophy to the test and see that I am much less reactive to challenging situations.
I was having a wonderful time camping, when the neighbor who watches our house while we are gone texted to say that part of our roof had blown off. The old me, prior to developing a daily meditation practice, would have worried for the rest of the trip and/or would have wanted to pack up and go home. I would have not enjoyed my time in nature and not have been present with friends as my mind would have been spinning in all directions imaging a variety of scenarios. And the funny thing is when we did pull into our carport the damage was far worse than I expected, but nothing would have changed if I had worried or came home early. It was a good lesson to remind me that worrying doesn’t help and to live in the present moment and deal with the situation one step at a time.
Then two days later after I took my bath, the bathtub didn’t drain and backed up into the other shower and the seal around the toilet leaked and ruined the laminate wood flooring in the master bath and water leaked into the carpet in the master bedroom. We tried valiantly that night to resolve the issues with the tools at home but to no avail. The next morning we pulled up the flooring and padding and we finally got a plumber out here at noon. Our problem is resolved, but now I truly understand the phrase “shit happens” as I experienced the shit first hand. There was lots of cleanup and getting rid of the sewer smell and drying up the carpet in the master bedroom and remaining flooring near the toilet. Now we will need to put flooring in the bathroom as we are down to the cement foundation. But, I am feeling lots of gratitude for plumbers and roofers and all of the things I do have in life. I get to choose my attitude and I choose to be upbeat.
Is this what I wanted to happen in my life? No.
Is this what I planned to happen? No.
But it is what happened. I didn’t complain and say “poor me” and I didn’t waste time worrying about any of it. I accepted the situation, surrendered and dealt with each event as it happened and moved on to the next thing that needed to be done to solve the problem. I didn’t waste any energy being angry or upset and it really was a much more peaceful way to deal with the challenges that occur in life.
How do you deal with the challenges in life?
What can you do to improve how you deal with the challenges in your life?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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