Is This the Best of Times?
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
When I read Charles Dickens’ words, I think he was describing not only my life, but all lives. Take some time to reflect on the trials and tribulations in your past life and how those times contribute to the fullness and richness of your current life. As upsetting as these situations may have been, ask yourself if they were not in some way essential in making your life more authentic, vibrant, meaningful, and joyful.
I have come to understand that each of us has not only a physical immune system, but also a powerful psychological immunity. This remarkable system is at the foundation of our innate thriving response, defined as total joyful immersion in the simplest aspects of our daily living. We can awaken to that inborn response, and those who have found it through their times of misery can help lead the way.
Only those who have learned to thrive through crises, or learned from others who have, can fully understand what it means to flourish and deeply savor every moment of their lives. You have untapped, innate evolutionary strengths, made not only to carry you through any trauma but also to help you become stronger and elevated by it. Because of your natural thrive-ability, there is nothing that can happen to you that has to prevent you from experiencing a deeply meaningful and profoundly more joyful life.
If life has handed you a dirty deal, it may also have handed you a new lease on life in the form of new goals, new meanings, and an authentic feeling of being alive that you have not yet experienced. You may be ready to learn that your regrets about your past and worries about your future have caused you to lose sight of the present where happiness grows. You may be ready to learn what the new positive psychology is discovering: we all have the capacity not only to survive and recover from crises, but to thrive and flourish more than ever.
Bob Mueller (bobmueller.org) is the mission & stewardship officer at Hosparus Health.