This Too Shall Pass
By Jennifer Snyder
One day, I will remember the
first quarter of 2004 with a smile. For now, Ill remain
positive with the knowledge that its been a time packed
with lessons for me.
With my coaching and workshop
clients, I sometimes utilize a Life Balance Wheel. The Balance
Wheel is a tool that divides an individuals life into eight
segments and by using it they are able to document a current
level of satisfaction in each of the areas. Frankly, there were
days this winter when I could have written a woe-is-me country
western hit more easily than completed a Life Balance Wheel and
felt comfortable about what I saw.
But here I am - still standing
- and the lessons have proven valuable. I would like to share
with you a little bit about what Ive learned.
Lesson Number One: This too shall pass.
Much of my recent focus has been
on my mother. It isnt easy for daughters to see their parents
growing older and dealing with health issues. It also isnt
fun for any woman to coordinate a move - her own, her parents,
her childrens, or her friends.
Recently, I was faced with moving
my mother from her neighborhood of thirty-two years to a retirement
community. Yes, our family has known for two decades that this
would happen someday, but that didnt make it any easier
when the someday arrived.
Between the call Mom received
that she had six weeks to move and the actual change of residence,
she was diagnosed with cancer. One moment I was anxious about
arranging my workshops around a U-Haul schedule. The next minute,
I was terrified that my mother would become increasingly ill.
Through it all, I remembered
growing up and hearing Mom say, This too shall pass.
As a life coach, I know this to be true. At any given time it
might not feel like it, but we human beings really are resilient
and can handle quite a bit. However, as a woman trying to keep
several emotion-laden plates in the air, in my moments of doubt,
I questioned. But it is true - this too shall pass - because
events are simply events until we attach a perception to them.
We have the choice to be dramatic and doubtful, or to do whatever
it takes to get through difficult times. I am delighted to report
that Mom and I had tremendous support and on Move Day
she was completely settled by dinnertime. Next week she begins
her radiation regimen with a positive spirit.
Lesson Number Two: Appreciate your history.
Like many daughters, as I grew
up my mother bored me to tears with stories about her extended
family, her marriage to my father, and her career in nursing.
My attention was always focused on the many important
things I had to do - navigating a teenaged social life, understanding
relationships, or raising my own children. As a result, her stories
got little more than the obligatory polite response so I could
be off in my next adventure.
Recently, I went through my mothers
possessions and came across items Id seen or heard about
for years but rarely paid much attention to. Knowing that Mom
was downsizing and would no longer have room for these belongings,
I had to evaluate their importance in my life. Memories of growing
up among certain objects and realizing Mom wouldnt be around
forever made me more appreciative of my familys history,
Its memorabilia, the hundreds of pictures, my fathers
first medical bag, and Moms mixing bowls all now hold places
of honor in my home.
Lesson Three: Surround yourself with what matters
Mom has dealt with mobility concerns
for the past ten years, forcing her to move into progressively
smaller homes and rid herself of extraneous possessions. At first,
it was a mindless task to dispense with tools, childrens
books, or my dads belongings following his death. Moms
latest move was to a one-bedroom apartment, requiring her to
be very mindful about what mattered most. She cut both her library
and her collection of decorative items by about eighty percent.
I dont believe I could have done it.
The lesson I learned is to spend
focused time deciding what is most important in your life - both
people and possessions - and honor them. Surround yourself with
items that evoke happy memories. Let the people who mean a great
deal to you know that you appreciate them and the role theyve
played in your life. Through the hectic pace of our everyday
life we tend to accumulate too many things and much is left unsaid.
Lesson Four: Practice self care.
With the additional responsibility
of helping Mom move, my schedule became busier and I had less
time to practice self care. More days than I care to admit were
spent simply handling the basics. What I do know is that, in
the midst of the chaos, I felt immensely better when I took time
to nurture myself. Women cannot give to others what they do not
have within themselves. We must replenish our own resources in
order to supply our loved ones with what they need. Take care
of yourself even when it seems like you have the least time to
Every one of us is faced with
periods of lessons. They may run the gamut of job
transitions, relationship upheavals, or finding ourselves drafted
into the ranks of the Sandwich Generation. But we know that what
we focus on expands and trying to focus on the positive makes
any situation easier. We also know that we learn things from
our important lessons. They help us to grow and better navigate
similar experiences in the future.
May you navigate your valuable
lessons with ease and understanding, reminding yourself that
this too shall pass. May you be able to smile about
difficult times very soon after reaching the other side. Finally,
may you appreciate your own rich history, surround yourself with
what you value most, and practice revitalizing self care so your
days are uniquely meaningful and rewarding.