Learning to Bend With the Winds of Health Challenges

We all have those days when nothing helps, when symptoms knock us low and it seems there’s nothing we can do.

Lately I’ve been thinking of myself as a tree and my health challenges as strong winds. Even the strongest, oldest trees sometimes can’t stand up to Mother Nature. Rigid, old trees can’t sway with the wind very well. Their branches snap off, endangering the health of the tree as a whole. But young branches are soft and flexible, and so they move with the winds that blow against them. When the storm is over, they simply bounce back.  They’re resilient, and better able to endure.

Likewise, no one can keep bad days or bad things from happening, but we can try to accept and adapt. Rather than wasting energy resisting every force that blows against me, I’ve been trying instead to move along with it, to accept and adapt to its pull or its pain. I imagine this force as a wind that blows around me rather than within me. As I feel its mighty force coming on, I acknowledge it and respect it.

It helps somehow to imagine these difficult things as mere winds blowing through my life and to think of myself as a supple tree bending as it moves past me. Like martial artists, I’m using the force of an opponent to my advantage. I’m taking the momentum of whatever life is throwing at me and converting it to something that can help me build resilience on this journey.

So the next time you feel a powerful wind coming at you, rather than fighting it, lean into it. Imagine it adding to your grace and grit. Sometimes I imagine myself at the center of a hurricane, in the center of the eye, calm and strong, as I wait for it to pass me by. And as I wait, I think to myself, this, too, shall pass.

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