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Weathering the storm: Finding peace in difficult times

April is here, and as the old adage goes, "April showers bring May flowers." So, how do we stay clearheaded during our own emotional cloudy day or stormy mood?

As tough Midwesterners, we know weather can be quite unpredictable, but come spring, the ice thaws, trees buds and birds begin to sing. 

It can be hard to give ourselves the compassion we need when challenges appear in our lives. It's important, yet sometimes difficult, to learn how to let these emotional waves come and not get caught in the undertow.

Buddha describes suffering like two arrows; the first arrow is the pain felt when experiencing a difficult change, but the second arrow is what we create in our own minds. We often get caught up in a swirl of emotions and think, "Why did this happen? Did I cause this in some way?" Feelings of pity, helplessness or anger are the second arrow. One arrow is enough.

Try these tactics to avoid the pain of a second arrow: 

  • Remain open, compassionate and non-judgmental toward your emotions and the emotions of others. There is no need for the extra chatter in our minds.
  • Recognize your tendency to react and respond with deep breaths instead.
  • Build resiliency by practicing patience. By doing so, you'll gain invaluable wisdom, peace, strength and acceptance.

During the rainiest days of our lives, the seeds of self-growth are being watered. It is with this awareness that your heart will begin to open and bloom.

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Uncertainty is not going away anytime soon. During the coronavirus pandemic we are invited to go through a process of acceptance. When we are able to move through denial, anger, despair into true acceptance, it can change everything. It can foster that kind of “increased aliveness, alertness and creativity” that we all long to feel in springtime.

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