Let’s not pretend that there are not hard times.
Let’s be real that we all go through them, are going through them, and will go through them again.
Hard times are just a natural part of our growing process. If we are open to, we can learn so much in them and from them.
Hard times are relative to the person who finds themselves in them, so we can never understand the full scope of someone else’s hard time; it is not our job. What we can do is have immense compassion as we see others struggle and fumble in their own hard times. We can share that compassion with ourselves as we go through our own hard times.
During one of my many hard times, a mixture of needing to find a place to live, looking for work, and feeling the heat of so many literal fires burning around me, and a struggle to make life work, I had this thought…“What if there was no struggle?” What would my situation look like if I stopped struggling against it, AND what if instead of struggle, there was hope—hope that everything would work out, hope that I would rise to each challenge as the time came, and hope that I would handle myself with grace.
At first, I resisted the idea of going through a hard time without struggling—wasn’t that what we were supposed to do? Struggle to make things work, struggle to find our way? But under my patterning and the stories of toil and turmoil, I knew there was the alternative of accepting the challenge and engaging it without building additional challenges around it in my struggling.
The idea of replacing struggle with hope felt like the perfect solution to rising up to my current situation instead of sinking into it. With hope, I could feel my energy and strength return, with hope I could feel purposeful and focused.
The Ultimate Trade in Tough Times
I chose to have infinite Hope replace my limitless Fear and made it a practice to grab on to Hope each time Worry started circling in. It is a practice to remember Hope when things feel like such a struggle. It takes a lot of faith to stop tangling ourselves in resistance to what is and focus instead on what we want to be. Sometimes Hope can feel like a stretch, but even hoping for the smallest thing ("I hope I can make it through this afternoon" or "I hope some help comes to me today") can help us shift from feeling lost and hopeless and that can help us find more to hope for.
Remembering Hope has gotten me through the tough times that came next and took the toughness out of them. Hope has given me energy to keep on or start anew.
Just like Socrates says, “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Worry and Fear won’t help us build anything or improve our situations. It is only when we transform Worry and Fear into Vision and Hope that we can create the life we want without having to dismantle the old. That is what tough times are for—clearing house of what is no longer needed.
Just like in the story of Pandora, when all the ailments of the world are unleashed Hope remains. No matter what, there is always Hope.