We all have times in our life where it feels like we are experiencing a trial by fire. It may come as part of an anticipated transition in life, a purposeful letting go, an unintended consequence of a choice we’ve made, or it may catch us completely off guard and seem to come out of the blue. Often our impulse is to hunker down and wait for it to pass or fight it with all our might.
These times are never easy but they can be especially difficult when those around us seem to be sailing through life having an easy time of it. Or worse still when our challenges or struggles feel like a confirmation of some critical voice sneering that you really don’t deserve to be happy, it’s all your fault you’re in this mess, or really you’re just – take your pick:
- a loser
- damned to a life of misery
But what we often can’t see or don’t realize is these times of trial and challenge are a necessary passageway to a new, larger, more full expression of you. The trial acts like the fire forging the metal to temper and strengthen it. Or the butterfly that always requires struggle as it emerges from the cocoon to ever be able to fly. If the struggle were removed it would be disabled.
So if we can recognize there are times when our challenges and hardships are the gifts of fierce grace, which require a softening of our defenses to genuinely receive them. Sometimes you accomplish this best by surrender and yielding to the ways you’re being reworked. Other times you need to keep going and fight the urge to give up. Somehow it usually requires the choice that feels most difficult and counterintuitive to you. If you’re a fighter then surrender is needed and if you tend to give up easily then you likely need to find your fight.
Even though no one can take your walk through this passage for you compassionate understanding and loving support are always helpful. It eases the anguish, can quiet the critic and bring us together in deeper ways than when all is well and we are happy and carefree.
So if you happen to be in a trial by fire these days take a deep breath and know you are in an important transition in your life, you possess all that you need to make it through to the other side, and you deserve love, care and support as you make your way through. Moving through this passage is the most important work you can be doing right now. Finding people and practices that can support you through will ease your struggle along the way.
During my own times of trial and hardship I have found it helpful to:
-Pray (for clarity, guidance, support)
-Get support from trusted friends, guides and mentors
-Allow & express my feelings (cry, and stomp as needed)
-Get outside and be on the earth
-Move my body (walk, dance, swim, wrestle, pillow fight)
-Crawl under the covers
-write or create art
-Find ways to laugh
-Look for the signs that I’m being supported
-Get out of myself and listen to someone else’s story
-Be still and Listen to my heart