I did an interview a few years back for my book “Chocolate Souffle” where I was asked how my character dealt with her insecurities around having sickle cell anemia. My answer was, “the same way we all do – we all have internal struggles.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a disease no one knows about, negative self-talk, body issues, drug dependency, family issues, financial problems or any plethora of worries, fears and anxiety. The internal struggle is real. Maybe even more real than the very familiar external struggle.
In my meeting with a life coaching client last week we referenced two ancient “wheels” used to portray the stages of life. The first was the Medieval “Wheel of Life,” which looks at life as constantly going through four phases: Happiness, Loss, Suffering and Hope. Happiness is our state of normalcy when things seem to be going well. Loss is when something happens to knock us off our equilibrium. Suffering is a state of transition – we walk through the fire and deal with unpleasant emotions to get to the other side. Hope is when we can see the pathway to Happiness again. Does any of this sound familiar?
The second “wheel” is the Buddhist concept of “Samsara,” which repeats over and over again for countless lifetimes. In this scenario we experience Birth, Sickness, Aging, Death and Rebirth. While the Medieval concept happens multiple times throughout a single life, the Buddhist concept repeats over and over again for countless lifetimes.
The question then becomes, is there a way to get off the wheel?
Can we experience Happiness all the time?
The answer to this question is part of the Buddhist path to enlightenment and is a lot more than I can get into in my blog, but I will say this: Happiness is a state of mind, the same way our internal struggles are. We are as happy as we decide to be. We all know situations where people who seem to have everything are miserable, and those with very little are full of love and joy. I believe one of the differentiating factors is Gratitude. It’s very difficult to be Happy and Ungrateful at the same time.
Whether either of the “wheels” resonate with you, one thing we can all agree on is this: life has ups and downs, and none of this is permanent. The good times won’t last forever and neither will the bad. Whether you believe the end game is a permanent sleep, a visit to heaven or rebirth as a brand new baby, there is an escape. In the meantime, be grateful. Notice things. Breath the air, smell the flowers, say hello, smile more, laugh more, love harder, be kinder. This really is a bittersweet and beautiful world.
I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. Check out my interview here https://www.blogtalkradio.com/educatedhustle/2017/01/17/a-chocolate-souffle-on-life and take a peek at the Wheel of Life here http://lessons4living.com/wheel_of_life1.htm The photo is a depiction of the Medieval Wheel of Life from lessons4living.com.