By Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed.
While leaving for vacation I have often stated to myself and others that I really want to take everything in because I know that I will blink and find that the whole experience is over.
Then, as the vacation comes to a close, I look at my wife and say, “I blinked.” They say time flies when you’re having fun, and in many ways it’s true because you are in the moment, consumed in what you are doing. Luckily, this does not mean that you have to make your life miserable to feel like you have lived a longer life. However, there is an important lesson that I have learned from seeing life pass in the blink of an eye.
In the most challenging times, remember that “in the blink of an eye” it will be over. This, too, shall pass.
Throughout my life, every time that I have had an extremely challenging experience to deal with, I have reminded myself that no matter how difficult the road may get it is only temporary. I would blink and it would all be over before I knew it. I would choose to ask myself, “what can I learn from the experience” and to focus on what I wanted. I’ve always tried to look for the positive and look toward the future, not neglect to see the situation for what it was—a learning experience—knowing if I avoided growing through it I may just prolong it. No matter how difficult life has been, I have found that I can see the good in the situation. Challenges have always helped me to grow in compassion, strength, and ability. At the same time, knowing that in a blink of an eye my life can change, I have found hope and determination in places that there was little of it to be found. I have always found a greater purpose within the pain; even when I could not find one, I created one—finding meaning that genuinely believed.
Choosing this perspective—both that this too shall pass and that there is purpose within the pain—has not only helped my life but the lives of many of my clients as well, by helping them know that not only can they deal with tough situations, they can thrive through them. I have always been amazed and in awe of the human spirit—it is something to be reckoned with. Humans are extremely adaptable.
For example, as I looked at the latest terrorist attack in Paris, France I could see the pain and devastation, but I also saw the love and compassion. One occurrence of the human spirit in action that many people missed was that a large number of residents in Paris took to Twitter to tag themselves in order to let people know that they were opening their houses if anyone needed a place to stay. Within the chaos and fear, you had all these people willing to open their door to strangers. At the same time, even though people were being told to stay home and not be in crowded places, you could see lines of people, wrapping for several blocks around every hospital, donating blood to help those in need, in essence putting their life in jeopardy.
You see, when your eyes blink as you pass through a negative experience, you can also choose to see the strength, love, compassion and opportunity within it.
It is the light that shines from the darkest places that often shines the brightest.
At the same time it is also important to recognize that we need to be gentle with ourselves as we grow through life’s bumpy roads. It’s okay to be vulnerable, cry and express frustration. It’s also okay to deal with things as we can, in stages, and not to try to take on everything at the same time. It is not a sign of weakness to need time to heal, to feel overwhelmed at times, and to tell others, “I just can’t deal with this right now.” It’s actually a sign of strength to set boundaries and allow yourself that space to process what’s going on. By remembering that soon enough this will be another experience that, in hindsight, seemed to be over “in the blink of an eye,” you give yourself some relief. It lets you off the hook from feeling like you’re stuck or will never get past it because you KNOW it always passes.
You are always being led to something.
If you listen to your inner voice, you can see what each experience, whether negative or positive, is leading you to. If you implement this practice of looking for the positive and remembering it soon WILL pass, you’ll feel better through the difficult moments and over time you’ll learn how you can experience peace, gratitude, love, and happiness no matter what life throws at you.
So ask yourself, “What is life leading me towards?” And, “When I blink, what do I want to open my eyes to?”
Joeel A Rivera, M.Ed., is a visionary, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. From an early age, Joeel faced adversity, including immigrating to the United States, failing his freshman year of college, losing his brother, and being in a nearly fatal car accident. These experiences inspired him to return to college, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Education and is currently completing his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Psychology, with an emphasis on happiness. Joeel opened a non-profit teen center in honor of his brother and developed curriculums for the Juvenile Justice System. In almost a decade, Joeel has reached over ten thousand people as an educator, entrepreneur, speaker, and consultant. Visit www.ignitelife.me.