Imagine you are in a batting cage, and you have balls being hurtled towards you, and you just keep knocking them out of the park in a frenzy. You don’t know how many balls are coming, or how long this game is going to go on for, and you’re not even sure how long you can last here. It’s exhausting. The balls are coming from all different directions with no real pattern to them. You are using so much energy and attention on just avoiding getting hurt, that you don’t take the time to regroup, to question your gameplay and game tactics, or to even change your stance.
Instead of taking this approach to life, we could stop for a second, and figure out which direction these balls (life challenges) are coming from (and realize that there is actually some kind of organization amongst the madness), and how many balls are coming and at what speed. With this in mind, you can approach this game much better. You will actually have a chance to play to win instead of playing to avoid losing.
This is how I believe life works. One fine day you “get born” and then you begin the rollercoaster journey of attracting life challenges that will match your level of skill, intuition, understanding, wisdom, abilities and capacity. These challenges will match your level, but be just a tiny little bit harder, just to stretch you a little bit – in order for you to graduate to the next phase of your life, a new era, equipped with brand new set of life challenges.
You won’t get challenges that are 2 steps ahead of you, just as a 4 year old’s challenges may be to understand that instant gratification of their wants and desires is not always possible, or that now their mama’s love has to be shared with a new baby brother or sister. They don’t have problems with their credit, finding a job, or learning to love themselves. You will only be faced with what you need to learn at the time.
So, what happens if you choose to close your eyes, bury your head in the sand, and avoid these challenges? Well, they will keep coming back in different manifestations and forms until you finally decide to take the test.
Do you think that there will be just one pivotal opportunity in the 4 year old’s life to learn that instant gravitation is not possible or that sometimes love and attention must be shared? That there will be just one single instance where their mother says “Honey, I know you want the candy right now, but you can’t have the candy right now” and the child says “nope mom, I’m not going to learn this lesson. See ya!” and that will be the end of that issue for the rest of their life? Of course not. This little person will be presented life challenges associated with this exact issue for the rest of their life until they decide to learn, whether it’s candy or love or money. And the older they get, the uglier is going to get.
I used a child as an example, but it happens to all of us, all the time.
So how can we get on track with our life challenges and figure out how on earth to tackle them? Well, let’s get thinking.
We always have a few challenges on the go, it is rarely ever just one. For the sake of this blog post, I am going to choose the number 5. It’s a nice round number (and it is all I could think of ;)).
When I look back to my life from about 16 to now, I realize that I had 5 main life challenges. These were:
– Take responsibility for my life and my actions.
I realized I was living my life in victim mode, and when you are in victim mode – bad things happen to you all the time. It just comes with the territory. I wasn’t an absolute train wreck, but there were definitely times when it was easier to blame other people than it was for me to accept responsibility for my life. I also saw life as one big random experience where things happened that I believed I had no real link to. I was wrong. I began to realize that hey, I do have a connection to the experiences that happen to me. I do have a say in all of this. I do attract what I think about the most. I started to see my actions and the consequences. I started to live more consciously.
– Move away from negativity and be more positive.
It is so easy to be negative. It is easy to talk about a bad day, or complain, or bitch, or whine, or think of all the things that could go wrong. It is even easier to write poetry about hard things and hard times. It is much harder to be positive – well, at least until you are in the habit of it. I noticed this nasty habit I had of negative thinking which only perpetuated the negativity in my life. I made the intention to only speak and write positively. At first, it felt false, but it was a habit in the making. Over time it became impossible to focus on the negatives when I was discussing and issue. With the habit of only writing and speaking positively, I noticed that my entire mindset naturally followed and became more positive as well.
– Learn to love and accept myself
There were times when it was definitely hard accepting me (in my head), that liking being me was even harder still. How could I like myself, when there were so many flaws? It was only gradually that I realized that these flaws were only there because I didn’t like myself, not that I didn’t like myself because of my flaws. It was hard to accept who I was, when I knew I was not living my truth. I was so obsessed with creating an identity for myself that I didn’t take the time to just be me. This one was a very difficult lesson to learn. It wasn’t just habit that needed to be changed, it was an entire way of thinking- it was my life. So, how did I do it? Well, I read a lot about it. I read about self esteem, and self love and self acceptance. I started to do more things that made me happy, I put more attention on my body and how I wanted to look, more attention on my personality and how I wanted it to take shape. I accepted all my flaws to the point that I don’t think of them as flaws. I stopped making my sense of self worth dependant on anybody else other than myself.
– Develop of a meaningful connection with my intuition; create an inner foundation for my business.
With this challenge I started to pursue a dream that is aligned with my life purpose. Before this challenge I was ungrounded and all over the place, and never trusted myself or my intuition. I longed for a connection to something larger than myself, and with this challenge – that is exactly what I got. I started meditating every day, and exploring the world of spirituality and the universe, and thus resulted the conception of my business, my work, and my passion.
– Learn to let go of first love and heartache.
This one was also a difficult one for me, and the main component of this challenge was time. The other challenges I worked through only helped me and propelled me forward with this in a way that makes you realize how neat it is when things come together in your life.
So these were my top 5 challenges of 16 year old me. All these challenges are a total no brainer for me now – since I accomplished them all. If someone said to me “Hey, did you know, you need to love yourself!!” I would be like…”Duh.” And if someone said “And did you know that you in charge of your own life?” I would be like “Well, double duh.”, to which they followed and said “And did you know that we have a natural and integrated sense of intuition that helps us get connected to what matters?” I would think “Well no shit, Sherlock!”
But at the time, these challenges were far from obvious to me. They were hard, and confusing, and sometimes just down right impossible.
Part of the confusion was because I just didn’t know what was going on in my life during this time of change. I was certainly learning some hard lessons and making some difficult changes, but now in retrospect it would have been nice to have had this insight back then (but then again they do say hindsight is 20/20). I wonder if it would have made a difference to have recognized and put a label on the challenges at the time, so I had a way to gauge my progress and my direction.
Well there is no use dwelling on the past, so I decided to do my 5 life challenges for right now. That’s right – life challenges 2011! This is where the party is at!
Here are my top 5:
Be more understanding of others and place less importance on being understood.
Accepting new life roles and realizing that happiness is not contingent on how I think things should be, and that I should accept happiness in whatever form it comes in.
Developing my people skills: handling conflicts in a more detached way, and nurturing relationships with love and care.
Developing my skills and roles as a woman: cooking, cleaning, the whole shabang.
Maintaining a high standard of excellence in school, work, and with my hobbies.
One of the harder things is to accept that your old life challenges are done. You don’t need to keep replaying the same lessons to give you a same level of accomplishment or you will just be stagnant. You need to identify your new and current life challenges and pursue them. And they will be hard but they will be moving you forward. And that’s what counts.
My problem was exactly this. I kept expecting myself to keep my life at a life challenge plateau. To keep replaying lessons about loving yourself, because I know I got that one covered. It’s like retaking a class that you already got an A in. You could, but why would you?
But that ain’t going to get me anywhere. I need to know what is current and immediate, and only then I can grow.
I don’t claim to be an expert on any of these challenges that I am learning now. I am far from it. When I write posts on it, it is a reflection of my understanding as it progresses. It is a work in progresses. Essentially, you are taking the journey with me – learning from the mistakes I make and relishing in the successes I encounter. Maybe these are not the challenges you are going through yourself, maybe they are far from it. Perhaps you have yet to encounter them, or perhaps you have been there, done that and got the t-shirt (in which case, please advise me!).
So I encourage you to think of your top 5 life challenges at this time. What are the top 5 issues that keep coming and biting you in the ass? What are the 5 areas of your life that you need to level up in? Put your attention here.
Remember that life challenges are not specific. They are not things like “Get over break up with Pete” or “Make more money”, they are broader than that – they are the spiritual backdrop and foundation that needs to be set in place before these goals can be achieved. It takes a nice hot dose of loving yourself to get over a past love. It takes discipline, commitment, hard work and abundant thinking to make more money.
Well this was a huge rant of a blog post but I hope it has given you something to think about. Identifying your life challenges brings you one step closer to fulfilling them. Sometimes you just need to know what you are working with.