Three Ways to Navigate the Ups and Downs of Life by Living Peacefully in the Moment
By Emil Nazaryan
The first week of June of 2023 was a rather memorable week in my life. I had a wonderful family vacation at a five-star resort in the Bahamas. It was marvelous! Perfect weather, picturesque setting, shining turquoise water, warm tropical sun, water park, cocktails on the beach, unforgettable fun memories with my wife and two children. It was paradise itself! There was probably nothing better we could have wished for at that time.
Then, two hours after we got back from our vacation, I learned that my father had just passed away. Imagine that. Since he lived overseas, I almost didn’t have time to unpack my suitcases before I traveled to Armenia for the funeral. Just five days after our return from the vacation, I was standing in front of my father’s casket in the cemetery, on top of a beautiful hill, with tears in my eyes, looking at all my relatives mourning the huge loss.
Have you had similar experiences in your life? One day you are on top of the world, and the next day it feels like your life goes upside down? Something great happens, and it’s followed by something horrible. How do you handle these ups and downs, especially the downs? It’s easy and natural to enjoy the good, but how do you react to the bad?
Let’s get back to my story.
A soft breeze was brushing against my face as I stood there in disbelief. Just a week earlier I was sipping down a margarita on the white sands of a magical Caribbean beach, and here I was a week later, 6,000 miles away, surrounded by pain and sobbing. Then something hit me.
I realized, in the deepest possible sense, that this is life. It’s a package deal. It’s a combined total of the positives and negatives, pain and pleasure, war and peace, failure and success, adversity and happiness. As much as we would like it to be otherwise, we can’t have one without the other. I had an intuitive flash that life was like that by design. In the midst of somber music, the crying of my loved ones and my own tears, a profound peace filled my essence. It was the acceptance of life as it is.
Of course, there was still deep pain and grief for the loss of my father, but there was no added pain of “it shouldn’t have happened.” It had happened, and there was acceptance of it happening. There was no artificial escalation of pain that would inevitably arise if the question of “why” kept coming back. And yet, that’s how most of us live our lives.
Think about your life, your problems at the moment. What’s causing you to worry? What’s causing your suffering? Is it something that is actually happening right now, at this instant? Or is it something that you are afraid that may or may not happen in the future, or something you wish hadn’t happened in the past? Stop and think about it. I venture to say that at this very instant, while you are reading these words, there is nothing that worries you. As soon as your thoughts about shoulds, woulds, mights and shouldn’t haves arise, the worry comes with them.
Is there a solution? I say yes. Learn to live your life as it happens, and not how you think it should have happened. That reduces unnecessary suffering. You start living only in the moment. When there’s grief, you grieve, when there’s joy, you’re joyous, when there’s laughter, you laugh. The mental drama falls off gradually over a period of time. This concept may sound abstract, unattainable, unrealistic and not very appealing. No one can actually help you grasp the benefits of this approach, this way of life. The only way for you to experience the power behind it is to try it yourself and keep moving forward. Here are three things you can do.
- The first approach is to consciously and wholeheartedly make a decision that you accept life as a package deal that includes all the interconnected opposites. Understanding this ahead of time will soften the impact of anything unpredictable or undesirable that happens in the future.
- The second approach is to start becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings. When you become aware of your feelings, there is a detachment, a separation of you from those feelings. You realize that the feelings may be in you, but you are not the feelings. Watch how you feel as much as you can, and as often as you can. See what happens.
- The third one is a bit unconventional and paradoxical, but here it goes. Focus on helping others. When you silently help others without expecting anything in return, your heart opens up to healing grace, which swaddles you in a blanket of love, compassion, forgiveness and peace.
Any of these three approaches will position you to navigate the ups and downs of life without drowning in them. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself!
Emil Nazaryan is a motivational writer and a contributor to the monthly Motivational Corner column of HR Realtor Magazine. He has undergone a spiritual transformation which has led the way to sharing the insights he has experienced with the others. He is well acquainted with all major spiritual traditions of the world, but it is the direct experience of the essence of these teachings that is responsible for the altered life outlook and the motivational articles that stem this. In his daily life Emil is a successful REALTOR and he resides in Norfolk, VA, with his wife and two children. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.