Birthdays – A Time for Reflection
Today is my birthday and I am once again with the familiar feeling that accompanies this day for me each year. This day acts as a bench mark for me, a time for me to reflect on myself and my life – what has changed in this past year? Who am I today? Am I headed in the ‘right’ direction? And the other question that has reared its head this morning is – what is still the same?
When thinking about writing in this space today, a part of me imagined that I would be immersed in a place of delight, ready to enjoy the day with my friends and family and take in all the love that flows in abundance to me; And whilst this is still the case on one level, I am also somewhat surprised to find that I am with a healthy dose of anxiety and stomach churning fear. This, I did not envision!
So the question is with me – what is still the same? Now, this anxiety used to be a familiar friend to me – in fact, when the anxiety was not present, I used to wonder what was ‘wrong’! I became so used to walking through life with this constant and all pervasive feeling of fear and dread that when it was lifted it almost felt as if my comfort blanket had been removed and it was somewhat unsettling – “Ay? What’s up Emma? You seem kind of peaceful right now. This can’t be right, what is it that you’re missing? I’ll help you locate it.” And off my mind would go, racing to try and latch on to something to worry about. Work- tick, friends – tick, college essay completed – tick, uh oh, everything seems to be ok…. no, hold on, there’s something – so and so hasn’t returned my call which could mean any kind of catastrophic event has been set in motion – panic stations! Phew, I knew there’d be something – that’s better…!!
I say this tongue in cheek and at the same time I am aware that when we are in the throws and emotions of worry, it is anything but humorous. Anyone who has suffered with these feelings will know how painful this way of existing can be and how seriously it can affect our ability to live anything like a peaceful existence. I have been without these feelings for some time now and had come to believe that I had graduated this stage and was ready to face my next challenge but no, here I am on this day that ‘should’ be filled with happiness and love and I have been presented with a truckload of anxiety!
So what is this about? In a nutshell, it’s about letting go of control, surrendering the outcome and taking on a commitment of faith and trust – even in the face of feelings that seem to point in the opposite direction. I was presented with a situation where someone did not behave as I would have wished them to and I promptly turned this inward and made it about me. Whether this was or was not personal is actually not important and completely out of my control – what is important however and within my control is what I do with this situation and how I allow it to affect my sense of self and peace of mind.
The worry habit is exactly that – a learned pattern of behaviour that we can revert back to when situations trigger us. It is from a place of awareness that we have the choice to make it different. In my experience, life will present us with opportunities to truly graduate patterns that no longer serve us – it is as if we are offered these situations as a ‘test of faith’ to truly integrate a new way of being that better serves who we are and the life we are committed to creating. It is also a matter of focus, on this day filled with so much love and so many people who are offering well wishes and the hand of friendship, will I allow my mind to latch on to the one thing that seems ‘off’ or will I focus on all the many blessings that life is presenting to me? For what we give our attention to will grow – the choice is ours. Do we focus on the lack or the abundance? Within this, we have the opportunity to shape our reality. Instead of something being ‘wrong’ in being presented with this anxiety, actually everything is absolutely ‘right on’! To truly grow, we must move through and transform old patterns of thought and behaviour that no longer serve and take the lessons that are presented.
“…we do not always like what is good for us in this world.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
For when we commit to truly uplevelling and changing our lives, there will be painful situations and circumstances to navigate. Whilst reading my book of daily meditations this morning, this is what I found:
“There is no guarantee that we will enjoy every experience, but we can be certain each one of them will teach us something we’re ready to learn – “when the student is ready, the teacher appears””.
Painful feelings and emotions are our teachers. They act as signposts, signalling to us that something needs our attention and in moving towards these feelings, we are better able to hear the lessons contained within them; We are blessed with an opportunity to move through them, to choose differently, to transform them and ultimately ourselves.
Today, on my birthday, I will choose to focus on the many blessings that fill my life, on all the wonderful friends and family that surround me, I choose to honour myself and my journey – I am grateful for yet another opportunity to choose love over fear and I enter into a place of gratitude. I will remember “today I’m a student and my experiences are my teachers”.
I have been blessed with another opportunity to grow myself beyond the patterns of the past and this is my birthday gift…
Happy birthday to me!
Sending love to you all.