Have you seen the movie Gravity, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney? I loved that film. It spoke to me in so many ways.
There is this one scene that I’ve been thinking about lately. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry, I won’t reveal the story line 🙂
It’s the one where Sandra’s character finally finds herself on the shore. She finds her legs, braces herself, and slowly gets up. She rises.
I get goosebumps just thinking of that scene. Crazy. (You have to see the film!)
Isn’t that what we all must do throughout our lives, though?
Rise. Up from where we have fallen. Out of whatever situation in which we no longer wish to be.
During the last couple of weeks in 2013, I noticed several people were happy to bid the last year Au Revoir. It seems quite a few found last year difficult and challenging, and they were happy it’s done and over with.
I’m one who’s more than ready to welcome a new year. Last year was one big year of challenges for me.
I remember welcoming the year with dread, knowing even back then that I was in the middle of a transition that felt like falling in a deep dark well. In retrospect, 2013 was for me, about falling into the hole, landing in darkness, and crawling out.
Yes, that’s it. Writing this now, I finally find the words. 2013 was about crawling out. And 2014 is about finding my legs, just like that scene in Gravity.
Finding my legs. Rising. Rising up. Rising out.
With every challenging experience, we learn. I certainly have key takeaways from last year that will guide me in 2014 and the years to come.
Lesson #1: Don’t be afraid to let go.
Last year, I finally learned the true meaning of making space.
Sometimes, we keep holding on to things, situations, people—even when these hurt us. We hang on because we are afraid to let go. We are afraid of the uncertainty… of what happens next.
But “better” isn’t going to happen unless we let go of “what is”.
The new cannot find its way into our lives if we continue to hold on to the old.
It took me a while to figure this out, and a huge brick had to fall on my head to realize this.
Lesson #2: We are always a little stronger than we think we are.
It is so easy to get discouraged when the chips are down. You wonder if you could ever find your way out of whatever dark space wherein you’ve found yourself.
The thing to remember, especially when things look so hopeless, is that deep inside you is a strength that you may not know anything about.
Maybe you’ve never called upon it before. Maybe you’ve never tested it.
You have to believe that it’s there. You can trust it.
I doubted this myself. But after crawling out of my hole, I see it now.
Lesson #3: Pay attention to all parts of yourself.
Over the years, I’ve been quite myopic and only listened to that part of myself that was ambitious… the part of myself that wanted to achieve so much professionally and be successful in my career.
The single-mindedness certainly brought me so many graces and a sense of achievement of which I am proud. But it also caused me to ignore the other parts of myself that have somehow atrophied through the years. It has led me to live a very imbalanced life.
This realization hit home in 2013. Now, I am learning to listen to the parts of myself that for years, did not have a voice. Of course, this is now at the heart of my second break.
Certainly, no one wants a setback. And while you’re in the midst of one, it’s the farthest thing from having fun.
We can sweep the whole experience under the rug. Pretend it never happened or at least forget that it did.
Or we can spend the time—once we’ve put some distance from it—to pick it apart and gain insight from it. After all, since we’ve had to go through that not-so-fun experience, the least we can expect is to learn from it, right?
The most valuable takeaway from a setback is knowing you can rise. And that you will. Stronger even.