October 23, 2007
We hear slogans and clichés such as "Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!" or "I’m falling apart." We associate a decline in circumstance with falling, tripping, or disintegrating. Instead of using figurative gravity to describe a "downfall," let’s explore ways to redirect our spiritual position from the downward spiral of separateness to an upward climb of completeness.
Sometimes life gets out of control. It’s almost as though you stand apart from yourself and watch things happen to you. While the answers slip out of your grasp like a water balloon coated with baby oil in a tossing contest, you feel almost helpless to stop further decline. If you believe in superstition, you may choose to suffer through the rules of "bad things happen in threes," or surrender to seven years of bad luck for a broken mirror, or try to rub a magic lamp to unleash a Genie. If you rely on a leprechaun to bring you good luck, your rainbow of fortune may be more elusive than you think.
Take back your power the minute you notice life slipping away from you. When that out-of-control feeling creeps up your spine, only you can stop the flow, like a chiropractor eases your pain by realigning a dislocated bone. The important first step: Stop. Don’t invite more negativity by falling into the mental trap of "what’s else?" Stop your mental anguish about your situation, acknowledge it and move forward. Second step: Pay attention. Notice what’s going on around you when the walls of life start to close in on you. Accept what you can change and what’s best left up to Spirit to handle – since you really control little in life anyway. Do what’s within your capabilities to change your situation for the better and take notice of what’s left for God to deal with. Third: Breathe. Get the oxygen to your brain, your nervous system and all throughout your earthly body to better position yourself in your world. In reality, life’s not tumbling away from you, you choose to disengage from life. Imagine yourself and your perceived problems as though you’re stand on top of a sandbar and your troubles wash away from you, out to sea. The only thing left standing is you! If you stop, pay attention and breathe, you possess a greater chance of noticing the perils in front of you and avoiding the whirlpool of your own reactions.
Every situation in our life teaches us something – some more gentle than others. Choices often tear us apart. Sometimes forced to choose between options (rock and a hard place) or even desperate situations (devil and the deep blue sea), we’d rather face better odds and brighter options. However, life presents us with opposing answers and in the process of selecting one route, we must release the other. These in-your-face forks in the road offer us the greatest opportunity to hold ourselves together when disparate options want to tear us apart.
Accept that a choice must be made and that you can never experience both sides of the result of any situation. You can only drive one car at a time, ride one bicycle at a time and live one life at a time. Trust yourself enough to recognize your instincts and use your faith guide you to the highest and best outcome. Know that whatever happens is for the best – really – although you might not see it that way when you’re torn to pieces. Years later, when your dismal dilemma exists only as a dim memory, you’ll appreciate the perfection of the outcome because it brought you to a higher place – the present moment.
Rock bottom, crash and burn, hit the wall – all clichés which describe a perspective of finality. In reality, these notions only indicate a stopping point – a place at which you determine enough-is-enough. Taking pity on yourself, perhaps you believe life beat you up, tore you to shreds and threw you in the well, leaving you alone to face a slick, steep ascent looming all around you. Take a look upward. What you face – and you always face - is the challenge to reach your higher self.
You think you’ve done all you can do. No more bright ideas, your resources depleted, out of extension ladders and, like the well, your luck ran dry. Defeated, your spirit curls up waiting to take another hit from the crash car derby. The only thing left to do is the one thing you’ve resisted in this whole process – ask God for help. Like slapping your forehead with the heel of your palm, you remember your Creator, when everything else fails you.
Only when you face your challenges in the silence, can you finally hear God’s still small voice communicating with you. The boost you require – at exactly the perfect moment for its most powerful impact – may reveal itself to you as a bright idea or solution. Usually appearing from nowhere since, after all, you thought of everything (and look where it got you!), this divine whisper may not contain the entire answer you seek. What fun would life be if God gave us the answers to the test? It’s a hint, a nudge, a jutting edge for you to get a toe-hold to your steep climb back to the top. It’s just enough of a sparkling idea – so you can do the rest.
Consider your new perspective. You’re at the bottom of the well. If you can see the light at the top, you’re happy to climb your way – one step at a time – until you reach the summit of your success. Every time you pull yourself up using your muscles and determination, your spirit repairs itself and the next step appears. You may scratch and claw to find a stable niche to hold on to, or you may learn to trust that the next ledge will appear, exactly when and where you need it.
Just as God was with you at the bottom, providing insight and an a-ha moment for you to act upon, He’s at the top, reaching out a helpful hand to you because you were willing to climb out of despair and walk into a new life. And when you climb out of the well, with your challenges overcome, count your blessings that you learned from this situation and grew stronger. Instead of falling apart, you rose completely – and God was there all the time, even on your descent – just waiting for you to ask to be made whole.
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