Making life work

Life is not always easy. But then we all know that.
Sometimes it’s like the rushing waves of the ocean rolling in challenges one after the other. And sometimes, it can almost seem endless.

The beauty is that amidst all this assault, life can work, for anybody and everybody. We all just need the right tools for the job.

The possibility of making life work is what gets me springing out of bed with excitement. Next to construction sites, it’s what turns me on. Don’t laugh. I’m sure you have some crazy story of your own!

You know that sense of wellbeing and satisfaction you get after a job well done? It would be wonderful if most of life would be like that. I know that we can’t always feel that way because as we all know, things don’t always go according to our wishes and desires. But generally, there should be a belief that the road our life is taking will lead us to that place. Otherwise we’ll just be drifting on those ocean waves.

We are all so different and we all think differently, and if I asked you what makes your life tick, each of us would have a different answer, a different perspective. And even though that’s true, the bottom line is that we all want the same thing from life – happiness, security, success, fulfilment…in other words, we all want our lives to work.

The trick is navigating the series of directions and paths that tend to intersect and crisscross, much like a maze.

I’ve always been in love with mazes…looking at them mostly! They are always created so beautifully whether they are garden or sculptured ones. Two months ago, I had the opportunity to be in a semi-complicated garden maze. It was fun; my friends and I were giggling away as we wandered around in circles.
Life is just like a maze and as with any maze; the only way to get through is to turn the right direction from the very beginning.

I’m at the moment reading this fantastic book called The Life-Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn and in it she reminisces about her college days when she and her friends ran through a sculptured, greenery maze, often at night. She remarks that every single time they started the maze (whose route was constantly updated) they were instantly confronted with the most important choice: turn left or right?

Choices – this to me is the foundation of life; and making the right choices is what makes life work regardless of whether your life-dreams are different from the next person. And it’s not just making the right choice but it’s making the right choice time after time after time. This is a skill that life demands of each one of us. Of course this is not to say that we’ll make the right choice every single time but at least we should be passionate about and dedicated to that goal.

As Shaunti says, if you turned the wrong way from the beginning of the maze, it doesn’t matter how far you run, you’ll never find your way out. And sometimes you will need to go all the way back to the beginning and start in the right direction.

Whenever I’ve found myself in a pickle, I’ve always cried; “how do I know I’m making the right decision?!”

I suppose one of the things that make this whole endeavour hard is that as human beings we are often unwilling to wait. Many right decisions do not yield instantaneous results. The results may even take years to show. When I remind myself of this truth, the question then becomes, “am I willing to wait this through?” And that my friends, is an even harder question to answer.

Every week for my Yoga class when we are doing the meditation, I imagine myself floating on a leaf in the middle of the ocean. There is an angry storm raging all around me. The waves are turbulent and I am alone. But I am safe. I close my eyes and allow the waves to unleash their fury. I am safe.
I try and carry the peace I get from this exercise into everything else I do. It’s never easy but it’s worth it.

The awesomeness of life is that it can work for you and for me. Even going through a complicated maze or rolling on the ocean waves can be a beautiful experience, if we allow ourselves to watch the textures of the maze paths, the contours and shapes of the waves; to notice how we are being carried along; to remember that eventually every rocky path turns smooth, every storm and wave passes.

These are all choices that have to be made and re-made. That is the tool because life is simply a string of choices.

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