Lurking at the very edge of the shadows, coiled like tight springs waiting to pounce, fearsome monsters stand poised to attack. These are the creatures of our nightmares. Unlike the Halloween characters of yesterday, visible and obvious, these beasts remain hidden and shrouded in swirling, misty darkness.
And that is exactly what happened to me this summer: a metaphorical monster of an illness (in fact two illnesses) brought me to my knees and I really didn’t see it coming. So the universe forced me to slam on the brakes, take my foot off the gas and reassess my life. Whilst family and friends rallied around to ensure that my children were fed and watered, I lay in my bed and contemplated what had happened to me and what I had learned.
Listen to your friends! Several of my close friends predicted my impending doom but I was so busy being busy that their warnings fell on deaf ears. I chose to argue for my limitations…who wants to admit that things are heading south? True friends have got your back; true friends tell you honestly and with love, things that you sometimes don’t want to hear. Listen to what they have to say without feeling the need to defend your position. They may just have a point.
Learn who your extended circle of friends are. I suddenly discovered, when the chips were down, what an amazing support group I really had. Help came from all directions and the most unexpected sources. These amazing friends took my children out and entertained them for the day; they brought home cooked meals to my door to feed a hungry family; they sent messages of encouragement when I felt there was no hope; they drove me home when I couldn’t do so; they came with me to appointments. They dropped everything and gave me practical, emotional and spiritual help without expecting anything in return. They didn’t offer to help – they just helped. Remember there are angels everywhere and they don’t all have wings and a halo.
Don’t take life so seriously. Life is meant to be joyous in every moment and yet it is so easy to get stuck on the hamster wheel and wrapped up in the illusion. Let go of everything that doesn’t matter, which, in most cases, is 80% of what we do every day. Just lighten up and enjoy life unfolding without getting dragged into the drama.
What’s the rush? Where are you rushing to anyway? There’s nowhere you really, really have to be and nothing that you really, really have to do. Nowadays, we are so busy setting goals and crossing off achievements that we forget to enjoy the view along the way. The last man to reach the top of Everest didn’t ask to be airlifted to the highest peak to get it done quickly. He went for the exhilaration of the challenge and to cherish the memories along the way.
Most importantly, I learned that life truly is a blessing, that we should look for the good in everything and cherish every life giving breath that we breathe.