January 30
Anyone can be happy when
times are good; the richer
experience is to be
happy when times are not.

Susan Harris


Today's Meditation:

Many of us certainly have gone through the "when times are not" phase over the last few years, especially when we talk of economics.  And when times are rough for us financially, it's very easy for us to face difficulties emotionally and spiritually, as well as in our relationships when the difficulties have become severe.

But if there's one thing that I've learned in my years on this planet, it's that life is cyclical, that there always is a light at the end of the tunnel whether we actually see it or not.  And knowing that helps me immensely not to lose my peace of mind or my optimism just because of a setback or three.  When I was laid off a few years ago, I was very fortunate to be able to look at the situation as a challenge, not as a disaster, and doing so helped me to stay happy even though the future had suddenly become very uncertain.

Keeping in a mode of still enjoying life and living helped me to make plans for dealing with our situation, and it helped me to do so with positive expectations.  I ended up finding work four hours from our home, my wife and I ended up living apart for eight months, but that didn't affect our overall happiness.  We had some down moments when we had to part each weekend, but we still had our lives to live and challenges to meet, so we allowed ourselves to feel those down moments--which helped us to recover from them quickly.  And we always appreciated the fact that at least I had work in an economy when many people didn't.  So when we lost our house to foreclosure, we were able to shrug our shoulders, smile, and move on.

Our situation was easier than the situations of other people, yet it does remind me that when times are not good, it's still possible to find the silver linings. It's still possible to see the good and the beautiful in life.  It's still important that we appreciate this miracle that we call life, and take advantage of the many opportunities and blessings that we still have, even if life has become challenging.

Questions to consider:

When times are not good, what are the most damaging thoughts--fear of an unknown future, or resentment of the difficulties we face?

Is it true that the difficult times in our lives build character and compassion, while the good times are nice, but do little building of our selves?

What are some strategies for keeping our peace of mind in hard times?  On what things should we continue to focus if we want to maintain that peace of mind? 

For further thought:
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant:
if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,
prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet


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