Maintaining Balance In Time Of Adversity


It’s one things to maintain balance in your life when everything is flowing beautifully…when you’re in your daily rhythm and things are going according to plan.

It’s another thing altogether when unforeseen and challenging circumstances inject themselves into your life.

When we’re presented with difficult times & challenging circumstances, we are often really thrown for a loop. Our daily practices are often left behind while we cope with the challenges we’re faced with. It’s easy to get mired in the emotions and effects of the circumstances, while spiraling into a dark place that can be difficult to emerge from. We can find ourselves significantly set back by the time we begin to emerge again.

I’ve watched myself do this many times throughout my life, during both significant, traumatic experiences and during smaller difficulties. Sometimes the set back is as little as dealing with a cold or flu. Other times it’s something as significant as going through the death of someone I’ve loved dearly. We can lose ourselves and our light during these times.

I was reminded of this cycle this past week. I was in a car accident in which another driver ran a stop sign. We crashed….hard. I saw the impact coming, but not until he was just feet in front of me. In the aftermath of the crash, I found myself unable to get out of my car without assistance, as the damage to my car was significant enough that my doors needed to be pried open. I was shaken and shaking, and hurting. I was grateful to be alive. I was devastated that my almost brand new car was totaled.  I was grateful for the people who stopped to help get me out of the car and make sure I was ok. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get to where I was headed. I was grateful that the other driver was Ok.  And so on…

In those moments after the crash, I had the urge to cry…to release some of the emotion welling up in my body, but another part of me was already busy doing thought work. (What are the facts of this situation? What are my thoughts about those facts? What feelings do those thoughts create? What new thought can I think that will create more positive feelings?) My brain was being torn in two directions. Do I experience the trauma or do I focus on the positive?

It took me a 4 days before I let myself sink into the feelings I was having about the accident and allow myself to feel the anger, resentment, anxiety and frustration that was welling up in me. I finally released some tears…and cleared the first layer of those emotions.

This brings me to Step 1 in the process of dealing with trauma. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you’re feeling! Whether you process those feelings right away, or wait until the time is right, those feelings need to be fully felt and acknowledged. It’s ok to feel emotions that aren’t positive. It’s necessary to allow those feelings to move through you. Let yourself sink into them and feel them so that they can move through you and they don’t get stuck underneath the surface. Not only is it ok to feel all of your feelings, it’s necessary for healing and forward movement.

You can only move forward through an experience and the related trauma by fully feeling. Feel the feelings, let them flow, allow yourself to release whatever is ready to be released. This is part of the process.

Step 2 is to remember what you’re grateful for. Even in times of adversity, your life is full of blessings. Remember to acknowledge these blessings. This will help you to remember that all is not lost. There is still light in your life. Feeling gratitude is more important than ever when adversity is at your door. Make this a daily practice.

Step 3 is to give yourself a break. It’s ok to slow down. It’s ok to cut yourself some slack and deviate from your normal daily rhythm. Maybe you need a little time off work. Maybe you need some extra sleep. Maybe you need to just take your time doing whatever it is that you’re doing. Allow yourself to do this, and release any guilt associated with this. It’s normal to need to slow down when life presents you with challenging circumstances. Plan for, allow and accept this.

Step 4 is to maintain a daily practice. This is something that I believe is very important in any circumstances, but it’s absolutely essential during the more challenging periods in life. Difficult phases are also when we’re most likely to let our daily practices go. I encourage you to hold on to these now. This can be your life line.

Whatever daily practice means to you…priortize this. If you do nothing else all day, do this. Whether your daily practice is meditation, yoga, journaling, visualizing, praying, singing, walking….make time for it. Stick to it. Let it support you through the hard times.

Diversity and challenge are a part of life. Not one of us goes through our lives avoiding this. It’s a normal and necessary part of the process.  Allow yourself to fully feel your emotions; remember what you’re grateful for; slow down; and maintain a daily practice. Remember that this will pass. It’s just a valley. There are mountain tops in your future.



Maintaining Balance In Time Of Adversity