No, I don’t have a new passion for bikes nor am I planning to do the Tour de France any time soon. So the title of this post is not a literal reference to cycling. I will explain what it is in reference to, but first, let me start by stating that today’s post has been inspired by the fact that I’ve had a few lousy days this week. You know, just those kinds of days when your mood is low for no particular reason, just feeling like you are kind of in a foggy state of mind. You’re sensitive, emotional, your energy is low. Sounds familiar? And no, the title is not a reference to that kind of cycle either. It’s not that time of the month for me right now, and I don’t think my recent dreadful days are hormone-related (although, they could be, who knows; those little suckers, hormones, can play nasty tricks on us women at any given moment).
Despite having had such unpleasant last few days, I’m hanging in there quite nicely. I have managed to still keep some of my inner peace and clarity, even through the tears. What’s my secret to getting thru those awful yet inevitable days in life with some degree of ease? Real simple, just knowing that everything in life is about cycles, and using one of my favorite mantras to bring some peace even to the worst of times: “This too shall pass.” So that’s what the title of this post is about: life’s cycles, any of them, all of them.
It doesn’t matter the situation, the circumstances, if they are good times or bad times, whether we talk about relationships or the economy. Everything in life moves in cycles. Life itself is a cycle! We are born, we grow, we die. C’est la vie!
Nothing is permanent, we know this. At least, we rationally know this. Still, so much of human suffering (in developed countries anyway) comes from the lack of a true and deep awareness of this fact. When we are going thru bad times, we torture ourselves fighting against them, refusing them, resisting them with thoughts of “I don’t want this, I wish this was different, this should not be happening!” And then acting like they will never end. On the other hand, when we are going thru good times, we still might torture ourselves, this time over the fear of good times ending, and the desperate need to try to hold on to them by avoiding change at all cost. Either way, both attempts, the attempt to deal with bad times by resisting them and the attempt to extend good times by avoiding change are futile, a complete waste of time and energy.
The best way to deal with the imminent ups and downs that come with the territory of simply breathing is to adopt the ancient philosophy of… going with the flow. Just accept what is, accept that whether what-is is good or bad, it will undoubtedly change. Of course, accepting a difficult experience for what is, especially a painful one, doesn’t necessarily make it any more pleasant, but it does make it more tolerable. When we don’t lose sight of the fact that the end (of an experience) might always be right around the corner, pain becomes more manageable and joy becomes greatly appreciated.
Consider the ups and downs of life like waves in the ocean, you can’t fight them, they’ll drown you; and you can’t hold them, they will inevitably dissolve. But you can always learn how to ride them. Recognize them, stay still, and soon enough you’ll be floating right along. If you get really good at this, you might even be deftly surfing the waves of life (guess this post could’ve been called ‘Surfing thru Life’, ha!).
So, I’m on my fourth downer day in a row, but I’ve already felt some slight improvement in my mood yesterday and today, so hopefully tomorrow will be much better; and if not, even if I have another emotionally under-the-weather day, it just means one less lousy day to go, one day closer to the end of the down cycle, right? That’s all I need to know, this too shall pass; I don’t need to know when, just that it will. And of that I’m certain.
Now, how do you get thru your own lousy days in life?