Life’s Hidden Agenda

zen proverb cropped

The soul wants growth and that doesn’t translate into a smooth ride.

I think life is akin to climbing into a canoe and paddling down a stream that’s rife with challenges and uncertainties. Yes, it’s risky and stress-provoking—to say the least. But if we hang in there, we get really good at navigating obstacles. Call it “personal evolution.”

Frederick Douglass, the slave who became a highly admired writer, said: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

One of the first obstacles we encounter in life entails our physical body—it’s limitations. As babies, we stretch to reach a brightly colored toy but our body won’t budge. We haven’t mastered crawling yet.  And when we do, we move on to tackle walking.

But what if someone rescued us from that particular struggle and just carried us everywhere? Would that person be doing us a favor? Not at all. Our muscles would remain soft and our potentials would come to an abrupt halt. Not only that, life would become rather beige.

It’s unlikely that someone would actually rescue us in such an extreme way, but rescuing in the form of overindulgence happens everyday. Click here to read a column I wrote on the subject and how it impacts us no matter what age we are.

Here’s an excerpt:

Overindulgence stifles personal courage. Consequently, adults who were overindulged as children tend to avoid taking personal risks. Even if their current life circumstances are miserable, they’re too mortified and paralyzed by fearfulness, and they feel too incapable of trying out different possibilities or options.

So despite our irritations with life’s bothersome problems, they benefit us. I like comparing it to garbage and manure. Both are nasty but they do fertilize our gardens and make things grow.

We need to be asking ourselves: Who are the people who possess wisdom, courage, stamina, flexibility and an understanding heart? We all know the answer. It’s those who have encountered and tackled countless obstacles. They’ve suffered losses and disappointments, endured mistreatment, experienced frustration, abandonment and betrayal.

Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth, expressed it well: “The challenges of our life situations draw out that which is deeper in us.”

So let’s grab our paddles and go out a bit deeper, shall we? 🙂


Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free, Parenting

12 responses to “Life’s Hidden Agenda

  1. Don

    Well said! The message is clear: we must have the courage to live life. If we lack that courage, we’re really not alive.

    Too . . . It isn’t the circumstances in life that make us strong, it’s what we do with them—how we respond.

  2. My goal for 2014 is to tackle life lessons with joy in my heart and release anxiety and anger. I struggle with feeling powerless but control is an illusion. My husband replied to a comment I made recently. He said, I don’t want to be the source of your anger. I was speechless. I was feeling he has control and I am powerless. I will choose joy through the challenges and uncertainties. I will choose to treat my husband, as per your advice, like every day is a first date.

  3. Jennifer

    I totally agree! It’s interesting how different people respond to the same challenge. Such as, in a family tragedy, for example. It says a lot about where the person is in their “personal evolution”. My parents are stuck in a heavy traffic jam, making their journal very sloooow. They choose to NOT talk about or deal with the issue. It’s very frustrating. I need to work through it and find peace. Maybe they will catch up with me someday 🙂

  4. Rachel

    I can so relate to you!

    I like your response. That sure is peace!

  5. I have made so many “mistakes” in my life but were they mistakes, really? I can honestly say, I would do them all again to get to exactly this place I am today and to have my children be exactly who they are today. I am so grateful for those hardships because it prompted growth. I would not have said I was grateful at the time though!

  6. YES, YES, YES. Thanks for sharing that!

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