As a mum whose husband was always travelling and with two young kids at home, life was busy and hectic. Looking back, I now see that it was a blessing in disguise, as it taught me to cope and be prepared for most unexpected situations. Like avoiding falling sick myself, back up plans if one child was unwell in the mid of the night, to nurturing compassion and kindness while volunteering at adult disabled centre.
You may notice that the universe always approaches us with big and small hassles and hustles, once in a while to keep us entertained. Though the author’s name eludes me, his message addressing cycles of life as being tests, lessons and blessings rings clear in my mind.
The Test, lessons and Blessings
When we are confronted with a difficult situation, it is a test, there is an underlying lesson to be learnt. It provides us with new insights into our behaviours, personal and social values, intellect and wisdom. Often, these lessons are also blessings in disguise reminding us of what we have and how valuable it is. Like how we appreciate our health, our happiness and our freedom from future suffering.
Maintain a good relationship with your whole self
Some aspects of my cycle of life involve maintaining a good relationship with my physical, mental and emotional health.
Be Kind to your Body
Being healthy and free from any major illness is the most tangible and valuable asset for most of us. Our quality of life highly depends on our ability to use our body parts without many complaints or much discomfort. Any acute pain or restrictions to our mobility would definitely cause upset to our daily activities. So it is important to build a good relationship with our bodies, to maintain strong and flexible body function.
The best way to maintain or improve our range of movement is to exercise. Be smart and work within your means. Be committed. Be clear with the benefits for doing exercises eg. feeling energised, supported, good heart function and happy.
Generally speaking, when we are free from pain, we love challenges. We often indulge in high-risk activities like football, rugby, skate-boarding, parkour etc…
Why do we do this?
Simply because it gets our adrenalin pumping, it's exciting. But please be cautious, there is a higher chance that you may break your bones, tear your muscles or dislocate your joints, that is why they are high risk!.
From a Yogi’s perspective, pleasing the ego should not be your priority, as your personal safety in any form of exercise you embark on should always be a major consideration. In short, you may be setting yourself up for less mobility or living with constant acute pain from bad old injuries thereby compromising quality time spent with your loved ones.
The choices we make in the early part of our lives have a direct impact on our older self. So choose wisely and responsibly. Every action comes with consequences, both good and bad. Know what you are bargaining for and make sensible choices. Investing in your future now is a no brainer. ‘While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.’– Stephen R. Covey
Be aware of your mental and emotional needs
Besides making the right choice of how you care for your physical body, acknowledging your mental and emotional health is equally important. Most of us choose not to accept that we have some mental issue at some point in time. We convince ourselves that we are fine and as competent or as successful as ever. But deep inside, we are unable to live up to what we promise ourselves - a happy, fulfilling and promising future.
Suppressing these troubling emotions may blind you to believe that you can overcome such feelings by ignoring them before things get out of hand.
Experts will tell you to make the conscious choice of living in pleasure or living healthily. I say, eat and play as much as you like but come back later to resolve the real problems you have put aside. Pressure from wanting success, to be accepted, coping with stressful relationships, bad work days, insufficient sleep… all mounts up for us to find a quick way out.
Personally, my way of coping with stress is often comfort eating and I am ok with this. Of course there is the serious consequence of putting on excessive weight. But I will take care of that later as I feel that my mental stability is what I should focus on at the moment. Maybe I’ll do an extra walk in the week or eat more carefully for the rest of the week.
My point is not to punish yourself further if the only comfort you can get at the moment is from that piece of luscious black forest cake or decadent ice cream right before your eyes, then treat yourself to it. Once your cravings are taken care of, then steel yourself to deal with the real problems. So the next time you pick up a piece of black forest cake, you are celebrating your wins.
Choosing to eat beautiful cakes in fact is a form of self-care which I consciously allow myself. Believe me; indulgence in a piece of delectable art is meditative. I picture the amount of dedication and effort from the artist who baked and presented it for someone he/she might not ever meet. The artist’s job is simply to ensure the creation satisfies every pair of admiring eyes and every sensation the taste buds receive. That in itself is a lesson in disguise. My problem may not be a problem after all by just understanding the story behind what I am eating.
Whichever ways you choose to handle your struggles, do not just stop there. The universe is always playful and watching out for you at the same time. It will not give you a puzzle of life that you are not ready for.
If it is a complicated puzzle to solve, take your time or even pick other people’s brains. There is no specific rule or time restriction on how you run your cycles of life. Be patient and keep trying. If there is rule, it would be not to push it away. We do not live only for ourselves, we live for others too. Perhaps the light of hope needs to reach you first before it can shine through.
Each of us is destined to deliver our mission in life. We may not know exactly what it is until we have lived through it.
Enjoy the ride my friends and keep learning and exploring all the tests, lessons and blessings that are in store for you.