Be Grateful for the Good and Graceful During the Bad
A time tested and proven fact of life is that nothing is permanent (except that fact). We all have our ups and downs, but when we’re down, we’re more likely to mistakenly believe that this is the way things are going to be forever. Richard Carlson is the late author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff and I’ve adapted a phrase of his that I can help us all through the impermanence of life.
Be grateful during the good times and graceful during the more difficult times.
This sentence helps us be aware of the good when it’s there and find peace during the tougher times.
The Vietnamese Buddhist monk and internationally acclaimed author Thich Nhat Hanh said, “We don’t notice our teeth when they’re feeling well, but we notice the tooth ache.”
How true this is. How can we acknowledge the good things in life while they’re there without having to wait until they’re gone only to lament and be nostalgic for the “good times.”
On the flipside, during the difficult times this phrase can help remind us that this is temporary and pop us out of the inevitable need to fix the difficulty which only pours anxiety on the problem. We can ask ourselves, “What can I do to make this easier on myself while this difficult time is here? How can I be kinder and more compassionate to myself?”
If you recognize the difficult time for what it is, just that, a difficult time that is here now and eventually will pass you can begin to treat yourself well. You can think of it as having a cold or flu. During these times what’s best is to lay low, drink tea and eat some chicken soup. It’s helpful if you have someone around who can care for you too.
In this same vein, you can choose things to do that are healing and perhaps reach out to a friend for support. We now know that literally holding the hand of a loved one during difficult times deactivates a stress response in the brain.
The fighting and fixing that goes on in the mind is the product of the fear that this state is somehow permanent, which is ultimately untrue.
Take this phrase with you, may it bring wonder and ease.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.