"Pain shapes a woman into a warrior." - R.H. Sin
It's a sunny Dad's Day and I'm lounging in the sunshine on the back deck, thinking how much Dad would have loved this day. It's the perfect day for a road trip to the lake, taking the back roads, in search of the sandy beaches of Lake Huron. Instead of being at the lake, I'm on my deck, reading quite a variety of material...everything from the Summer 2018 Issue of Magnolia Journal to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.
Joanna Gaines writes about 'A Time to be Playful' and the importance of stepping outside of ones comfort zone, to be curious, to choose discovery. If there was one thing my Dad was was curious. We could never take the same route twice on our road trips and he never cared that it took an extra few minutes to get somewhere, as long as we took the scenic route. Joanna writes about something similar in this issue of Magnolia as well (I don't want to give it all away, but let's just say Chip loves a good 'scenic route' too).
Mark Manson writes about happiness coming from solving problems. He states, "Don't hope for a life without problems. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems."
"Our problems birth our happiness."
Perhaps one of my favourite lines yet in the book states, "What determines your success isn't, 'What do you want to enjoy?' The relevant question is, 'What pain do you want to sustain?' The path to happiness is a path full of shit-heaps and shame."
I never would have thought that by happy accident, I'd be able to draw a comparison between these two VERY different sets of reading material, but....I sure did...and reminded myself of a very valuable lesson along the way.
Let's use the analogy of learning to drive a standard vehicle for instance. My Dad, the oh so patient man that he was, taught me how to drive a standard shortly after I turned 16. Talk about stepping outside my comfort zone, choosing discovery and the 'birth of problems'. I honestly, to this day, don't know how I didn't end up dropping the transmission right out of the truck as it shuddered and shook across the field Dad was teaching me the art of 'driving a stick' in. Yes...a field...not the road....a field. Through a few tears and frustrated comments in a raised tone (both by yours truly), Dad remained calm, cool and collected, guiding me through this unknown activity to a word of discovery that is driving a manual transmission vehicle. To this day, I still get nervous when I get behind the wheel of a vehicle with a stick shift, but, I quickly think back to those days with Dad and his soothing tone and coaching and away I go. This was a 'good problem' to have (learning how to drive a standard) and yes, it has allowed me a great deal of happiness, even with the 'sustained pain' of the first time I stall after not having driven one for a while.
This may be a fairly 'simple' analogy, but as Mr. Manson also states, "Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for." "Our struggles determine our successes." These two sentences bring some pretty hefty 'AH HA' moments to mind for me....
What does success truly mean to me and how much pain and struggle am I willing to bring into my life and muddle through (and potentially sustain) in order to achieve that success? A new challenge or goal can be a very scary and daunting thing to face, but again, if I truly do want it, I must be prepared for a certain amount (and sometimes a lot) of pain. Sometimes life events occur that are out of our control, such as the passing of a loved one, and all the pain and struggle that goes along with that and how we maneuver through that situation, can in fact lead us to happiness again, along with many lessons learned and a deeper sense of resilience to face the next unknown or struggle. "To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it's an activity, not something passively bestowed upon you." Our happiness needs to include the process to our desired outcome, not just the outcome. At times, the process can seem far from happy and we will experience pain, but again, the pain is part of the process and we must embrace that pain to reach out desired outcome.
I couldn't agree more with this by Mr. Manson..."Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems. See: it's a never-ending upward spiral. And if you think at any point you're allowed to stop climbing, I'm afraid you're missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself."
Today was a day filled with mixed emotions, "ah ha' moments, great reading and some key take aways to help me move forward.
First and foremost, choose discovery and keep climbing. As I get older, I see myself trending towards the known and comfortable....I'm not doing myself any favours by doing that because secondly, in order to continue on the ever evolving journey of happiness, I must be willing to experience and embrace pain, to continue to learn and grow and better myself. I'm prepared to 'struggle' for many things, but one thing I have realized over the past few years, what I struggle for or through, had to be of the utmost importance to me and not anyone else. I must put myself and my needs first in these 'struggles' to truly reap the benefits of the outcome.
I cannot recommend both of these reads enough, though for very different, but yet similar reasons. I hope you can find some time this week or in the weeks to come to pick up a book or magazine that inspires you like these have inspired me.
I'll leave you with this....one of my favourite quotes about the formation of a warrior...
"The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace, did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways, on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes." Elizabeth Gilbert