Do we really have to hit bottom to learn our big life lessons? Instead couldn’t we simply choose to stop the downward slide a little early and learn the lesson before major damage is done?
Inertia being what it is, we are all in a downward spiral in some area of our life. The big question is what to do about it?
You don’t want to catch a break.
When things were tough my Dad was always hopeful of catching a break. But the trouble with catching breaks is you’re putting your faith in the random generosity of others. Wanting to catch a break is a passive position where you are not in charge of creating your own good. Instead I’d rather know where they are tossing breaks so that I can put myself in position to receive one. Better yet why not make your own breaks?
No pain, no gain is bull.
Instead of catching a break how about you catching you? Once during drunken horseplay with fraternity brothers I fell head first and backwards over a third floor landing. I flipped completely over and somehow reached up at the last minute and grabbed on to a railing to break my fall. To the delight of my fellow inebriated brothers I landed on my feet and they cheered for an encore.
Couldn’t we decide at any time to stop our fall and land on our feet?
Just because we usually wise up after a great deal of struggle and adversity, we aren’t obligated to only learn so dramatically. The trouble with hitting bottom is it’s a long and painful way down. We really don’t have to fall that far to decide that it’s time to change course.
Invite the big lesson.
Most likely our next big lesson has been swimming in and out of our awareness for some time now. We can choose to invite it to surface and then pay attention. Here’s how to consciously look for your big lesson and put it on your plate. Answer these questions.
If I had a big lesson to learn right now, what might it be?
What have others in the same boat learned that could be useful to me?
In which area of my life is my current course simply not working well?
What are five new and different approaches I could try to turn things around?
Big life lessons are there because we have put them there. Some part of us attracts challenging situations so we can realize the life-changing big lesson and move on. But we aren’t obligated to repeat third grade three times to learn our lessons. I think we can even skip a grade by becoming more conscious of our big lessons as they first come into view. Why not grab the bull by the horns the first time it pokes you?
What do you think?
What do you think about hitting bottom and big life lessons?