A few times a year, I send out an update to a small circle of personal friends who live around the world. It’s my way of keeping in touch with people who I may not be able to call or see on a regular basis.
As per my custom, I sent out my end of year reflections and after doing so, I thought these also might resonate with you. So here is my personal sharing on what I’ve been learning on the balance between being proactive and yet staying humble to the reality that we’re never completely in control–and that’s OK:
My learning has centered around three main themes:
- You never quite know what will happen so it’s important to enjoy and accept each moment as it is.
- Life is a cycle of Comfort > New Challenge > Struggle > Fulfillment > Comfort.
- Authentic living requires greater vulnerability, which sounds like truth and feels like courage.
You Never Quite Know….
Life is a Cycle
Once again, this produces a deep sense of humility because you realize that you’re never “set,” you never can just coast or know how things will be. But when you embrace this cycle instead of resisting it or denying its existence, you can experience freedom from fear. This in turn allows you to surrender to the process and to experience peace in each moment. Alternatively, if you resist the cycle and try to make the dynamic nature of life stagnant, you never experience peace. For example if you hold on to comfort longer than the acceptable time, like over ripe fruit, it rots. If you hold on to struggle beyond the time when it’s needed, you never enjoy the fruits of fulfillment. This time a year ago, my book coming out was the biggest thing on my mind, now the book launch is a distant dot in my rearview mirror. Earlier this summer, being on ABC World News was my big thing, now it’s come and gone and I look forward to what’s ahead in the new year.
The fruit of surrendering to this cycle is to experience greater compassion toward myself and others: “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”~ Pema Chodron
However what I’ve found through this process is once again a freedom from fear—when you let go of the pride that you think you actually could possibly make everyone happy, you can live more freely. Also, I’ve found that this process leads to true peace: the type of peace that can only be won after fighting a brave battle.
So that’s where I’m at. Another year done, hopefully another year wiser, and excited to see what’s in store for me next!
About Real Life E®
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished through an exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through custom training programs.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Lifehacker, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and the 99U blog on productivity for creative professionals. She was selected as one of the Top 25 Amazing Women of the Year by Stiletto Woman.