A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle
Standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony’s your heaviest load
Get used to a country mile
When you’re learning to face
The path at your pace,
every choice is worth your while
…we have an opportunity in those challenges to create meaning. Now it’s not the challenges themselves that matter. We have no say in what Fortune throws at us. The opportunity is in how we respond. So how are you responding today when Fortune challenges you with difficult times?
Challenges. Are. Inevitable. It’s how we respond that matters.
Ok, Mark. How inevitable are these challenges?
Well let’s look back in history and see if we can find a pattern or two. How far back? Well, how about 2500 years? Would that provide enough perspective?
In about 400 BC Buddha imagined the Four Noble Truths. Truth number 1: Life is suffering. Fifty years before that on the other side of the world, Plato was reminding his followers to “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Still in the Mediterranean half a millennium later Epictetus was teaching that “it is what it is.”
Hmm. Can we just skip over the Dark Ages and come right to the 20th century? In 1946 we received Viktor Frankl’s wisdom. He posited that life is not so much a quest for pleasure or power as a search for meaning. Then in 1978 M. Scott Peck wrote his controversial (at least in my world) book, The Road Less Traveled. Chapter 1, page 1, line 1: “Life is suffering.”
Right back to Buddha.
Seriously? Is that the best we can hope for? Absolutely not!
Every one of these individuals used those ideas as starting points in a conversation about how to find joy in an imperfect world..
May 18th 2012 I had a profound opportunity to join that conversation…
I woke up on that trail, my nose and mouth filled with the dust of the Utah desert. The sun, earlier hidden by overcast now making itself fully known on my face and in my eyes. Pain building steadily between my shoulder blades and at the base of my neck as I became more and more aware. With that awareness came clarity and I told myself I must remain still until I knew more. With absolute care not to allow my head to move I took inventory of my extremities. Left toes? Yep, they work. Right foot? Check. Left fingers? No problem. Right arm…?
Right arm!!…? ? ?
In the silence of that moment Fortune presented her challenge in great big letters across the sky: Your neck may be broken. Your right arm is gone.
How are you going to respond?