Over the past weeks, I have spoken to several clients within different industries, and everyone seems to be experiencing the same thing: massive change, high stress, and not enough time. Added to the work challenge: worry about potential school strikes, waves of flu-like symptoms in the house and the natural stress of family holiday gatherings, things truly seem overwhelming in this moment.
I remember when I was caught up in stress storms in my early 20s, my wise Nana reminded me to breathe, step back and widen my lens. She shared that hindsight is a powerful thing and often, what we thought were the best and worst situations, look completely different when we look back after 3-5 years. Although I loved my grandmother and depended on her sage advice for many things, I am certain, at the time, I rolled my inner eyes, and my inner voice said, ‘she just doesn’t understand.’ Of course, as I close in on the age that my grandmother was, I now see the truth in her wisdom, and this truth was reinforced in my morning CALM meditation entitled “Maybe.” At the end of this 10-minute meditation, which I highly recommend, Tamara Levitt shared the following story ….
There once was a farmer whose horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit; ‘such bad fortune they said with great sympathy’ … “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. What great fortune, the neighbours exclaimed. Maybe” replied the old man. The following day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses, fell off and badly broke his leg, leaving him with a permanent limp. What terrible fortune, the neighbours cried. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The next day the army came through the village to draft able-bodied young men for the war. Seeing his son’s limp, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer. What a wonderful fortune. “Maybe,” said the farmer.
This story took me back to the conversation with my Nana and the second piece of information she provided me at the time. She said that things are always changing, and it is hard to tell in the moment which situation will be fortunate and which will be unfortunate. It is impossible to control the future. All we can control is our response in the moment. The more we can be curious and learn to pause at the moment, the less we will be rocked and thrown around by the change of the moment. The less we are rocked, the more we will truly see and learn within the moment.
It has been a long time since that conversation, and I am still trying to apply this wisdom gift from my Nana. When I am successful, I find peace in the storm and often discover hidden possibilities in the moment.