An issue is something that interrupts your thoughts constantly, that’s waiting to drive you nuts when you open your eyes in the morning, that makes you feel wounded or inadequate, that sits in the middle of your path like a giant, immovable pothole waiting to swallow you up. And whether your issue is something others consider trivial, or something so serious that you can’t tell anyone but a professional, as long as it dominates your reality, it will leach joy and light and possibility from your life.
Yet many people with the kind of issues anyone would acknowledge as “serious” – people with disabilities, with terminal diseases, with dreadful childhoods, with chronic pain – can still dream big and make those dreams come true. Many see their issues as sources of strength and wisdom. Let’s examine how they do it.
It’s human to resist unpleasant reality. We all do it, whether it’s today’s shaky economy, an unpleasant or tragic past, or the fact that we simply don’t match the current ideals of beauty and coolness. And the more unpleasant the reality, the harder it is to quit wishing it would go away, that it had never happened, and to just accept that it is what it is and it isn’t going anywhere… at least not at the moment. That’s when we can find a way to live life fully.
Acceptance is not resignation, surrender or martyrdom. Acceptance is starting where you are – good and bad – and, by doing that, preparing the ground for a new reality.
Give trouble a day off
After acceptance, imagine what it might be like just living with your issue. Envision waking up one morning, and there’s your issue, sitting there waiting for you to open your eyes. Instead of clutching, you smile and say, “Good morning, Issue! I see you’re up bright and early and ready to go. However, I have a very busy day today, so I’m just going to let you stay home and watch Oprah while I do some stuff that’s important to me.” Try it. Just leave it at home, don’t let it intrude on your thoughts all day. Even leave your TV on at home, tuned to the Oprah channel. You’ll be amazed how this allows you to move ahead more easily. You can always catch up with your issues that evening!
Check your dreams
Another important part of moving ahead with your dream anyway… is making sure your dreams are current. Have you checked to be sure they’re still what you want? Next, be sure those dreams are the real thing, and not versions which have been scaled down to meet your diminishing sense of what you can actually wrest from an unhappy life. You want the real deal, the full, orgasmic wonderfulness that you crave in your heart of hearts.
Take baby steps
Don’t expect to go from misery to joy and fulfillment in one giant step. You’ve gotta rebuild those dreaming muscles and happy muscles, and, as with any new exercise program, it works best if you start small and build.
And here’s an interesting fact. Most of the time, when people do the baby steps – start doing parts of their dream right now – some of the previously insurmountable issues begin to take care of themselves. That’s what looking for a silver lining is all about.
The deaf community has a saying that deaf people can do anything except hear. Many who are deaf believe that they have more insight into what others, hearing or deaf are communicating, because they also listen with their eyes to the revealing messages of facial expressions and body language. Think of the beauty of a story told in sign language, which was developed because of a disability.
It’s just one wonderful example of the human spirit gaining wisdom strength and depth from accepting and incorporating the reality of their issues into their hopes and dreams and hopes for the future.
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