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Giving Ourselves Grace in Challenging Moments

I’m not going to lie this is the blog I have been avoiding writing for months. If you are looking for light and fluffy affirmations, that will make you feel warm and fuzzy then this probably isn’t for you. If you struggle with thoughts like “Why is this happening again?” “Why isn’t anything working the way I hoped?” and “I feel like I’m never enough” then you’re in the right place. We tend to view obstacles, especially the painful ones, as mistakes that shouldn’t happen rather than opportunities for reflection and growth.

Most times in my life when I have been knocked down by something I have gotten back up and pushed through. I feel proud of that fact. However, in this season of my life God has given me a different challenge, “Be still. Don’t fight life even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it hurts. And show up as your real unfiltered self when you communicate with others.” Ugh, that’s not the path I wanted, but I know it’s the one I need.

So here is the truth. I have found great peace in my spiritual journey and practices, but life is still a challenge some days. I know I make progress every day, but I’m not where my ego tells me I “should” be, and that’s hard. As a 44-year-old woman, especially one with ADHD (and some other struggles I won’t get into) midlife has involved some painful self-reflection. There are a lot of “shoulds” in my mind. “I should be further along in my path” “I should be as successful as the peers I went to college with.” “I should be making more money” “I should be more organized like the other moms.” It goes on and on. Maybe you relate. Maybe you don’t. It’s ok. Everyone’s journey is different.

Here's the bad news. No matter what you do there will be pain in your life, there will be things that don’t make sense to you, and that’s a hard pill to swallow. The good news is that we can give ourselves a lot more grace. Learning to speak kindly to myself, meditate, pray, get grounded, breathe through the hard times, and be honest with friends and family is how I find peace these days. It’s not the exciting part of the spiritual journey and it’s not always pretty, but it’s essential.

If you’re like me, you want to “do something” when life is tough. However, sometimes it’s not so much about doing as it is about accepting what is and looking for silver linings in that. Sometimes obstacles appear to show us there’s a better way around, a gentler way. When there are rocks in a river the water flows around. I’m learning to be a little more like water these days and flow rather than force my way through, even if that means taking a little more time.

So I planned to run my business and not work a separate job. That plan didn’t work. I realized that not only was I short on money, I missed my co-workers and I missed something else. I missed serving the community. So, I’m returning to work in a position that will allow me to help vulnerable people in the community. It feels like the right choice, but it means reassessing my business goals. It means making peace with the fact that I don’t have the energy to get my online store up and running before Christmas and start taking orders. It means maybe the newsletter goes out late. It means accepting my limitations and accepting that sometimes I need more time and more help than I initially thought. It’s very humbling and if I focus on that it feels bad. But I know that’s just my ego talking.

My soul knows my worth is inherent. And so is yours. Your worth does not come from your accomplishments or productivity. You are worthy of love, and grace on your worst days as much as you are on your best days. There is a deep peace that can be found within if we are willing to sit with life in each moment. There is a deep connection that can be found when we are as honest with each other about our challenges as we are about our successes. It can be a beautiful journey. It’s not for the faint of heart though and I wouldn’t recommend going it alone.

So, if you’re looking for support on your spiritual journey, and you’re willing to work with a guide who still struggles sometimes, I’m here to help. We’re all in this together. As Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home.” I hope your day is full of blessings, and if it’s hard right now know that you are always loved.

Shelley Hartman

Awakening Spirit LLC

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