Dealing with Adversity

Thought for the week:  Dealing with Adversity  (June 1, 2015)

I recently came across this quote and found it very timely: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass….It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” This may mean something different to each of us at different times. I spent the better part of yesterday returning from a trip and, like many, I was delayed due to weather. I missed the downpour here – the skies were calm up above – but I heard it was torrential. I was impressed with how the travelers around me dealt with the adversity of the situation of cancelled flights, flooded roadways, and limited options. There was no hysteria nor entitlement. I won’t stretch it as far as to say people were “dancing in the rain”, but they seemed to be accepting of the situation and taking action. Of course people were frustrated, stressed and annoyed, but they weren’t to be taking it out on those around them, nor were they paralyzed in self pity. No one was special. No one was spared. A level playing field where we were all reduced to simply ‘being human’. What does “learning to dance in the rain” mean to you? When were times you felt successful at it, and times you struggled?

As a side observation, I also noticed that many people began talking with others, literal strangers – people they had spent hours sitting next to without exchanging a hello. They were now sharing stories and strategies. “Talk therapy”, whether with a professional or simply talking with trusted friends, family, acquaintances or strangers, is helpful, healthy and necessary. Of course we do need to use our filters in terms of who, what and when. We may or may not benefit from the reactions and responses we get from others, but we do benefit from hearing ourselves say aloud what has been swirling around in our heads. Speaking aloud clarifies our thoughts and feelings. It happens through the process of hearing ourselves say what we are saying while noticing how we are saying it. Most significant is our experience of others hearing us say it. It doesn’t always have to be a topic of major significance, nor pre-planned. Often small, daily exchanges fall within this realm. In addition to clarifying our thoughts and feelings, in sharing with others we stay connected on an intimate level both to others and to ourselves. As we talk about what has been on the forefront of our minds, it allows room for our deeper thoughts and feelings to emerge into our consciousness, perhaps further clarifying our feelings, most importantly, to ourselves.