"Life is Hard"-and other theories

I haven’t written in a long time. Truth be told, I haven’t known what to say. I’ve been diving deeper within myself, and been having experiences I’ve been sharing just with those few close friends around me. 

If you follow me on social media, you know that I’ve been traveling a bit. (and if you don't, join me.) My job in NY ended in September and as soon as I found out, I decided I would take a little hiatus. Take myself on a little adventure. 

I was already planning to go to my BFF’s yoga retreat in Italy, but I decided to stay longer. Sublet my room for 3 months, and practice the things I know I’ve been wanting to practice. Things like letting go of attachments, listening to my intuition, connecting with the divine, going with the flow, and most importantly having faith in that which I cannot see.

Currently, I am in Israel hanging with my grandmother who is 95 years old. (actually today, October 8th, she is 94 and 5/6ths which we celebrated at both lunch and dinner with wine. Coincidentally my birthday is May 8 so we were celebrating my 5/12).

My grandmother, and my mother both have a mantra that they live by. It is “Life is Hard.” I am writing about it now, because my grandmother said those words during lunch. It pains me to say it but even more to hear it. I believe it has been my mantra for much of my life too. As a default. Because it’s what those around me believe and said.

( By mantra I mean a saying or phrase that one repeats out loud or to oneself consistently either intentionally or not.)

Only recently, when I started venturing on my own spiritual path, and following my own curiosities, did I realize that not only do I not want to have that as a mantra, but I actually don’t have to.

This is not to say, that I think life is easy. Let’s clarify that. I think about how lucky I am to have “won the lotto” so to speak. To have drinking water, and a place to live, and parents who love me, and my health. I am lucky. I am aware. 

But it is to say that it’s about perspective. and it’s about choice. Yes, life can be hard. And right now, some shit is going down. It’s palpable. If “Life is hard” was my mantra, Icould choose to see all the struggle and chaos and turmoil. Especially since it is EVERYWHERE. 

I could choose to look at what I have and see only what I lack.

I could choose to say life is hard and not appreciate all the gifts of life I have received. 

Or I can choose another perspective. I can choose to believe in the mountains, and the ocean and my connection to them. I can choose to say I have so much, thank you! 

I'd like to point out that my grandmother’s life was indeed a lot harder than mine. She lived through a completely different time. Before phones and internets. She escaped the nazis and has stories that are hard to fathom.

So yeah- I'll give that to you grandma.

But as far as mantras go? " life is hard" is not the top of my list. 

How about " holy shit we're alive!"? How about "this isn't a dress rehearsal "? How about "the universe bends to support me"? Or “slow and steady wins the race”. 

I can choose to see all that is right. That today I woke up and I am breathing. that I have food on my table. That I have people who love me.

Because. Ya know. Perspective.

I know there are people who don’t have food on their table or people who love them. and for that I feel sad. For that I am sorry. For them life is hard. And for that I have no explanation. 

I was just listening to a podcast today (Elizabeth DiAlto’s Untame the Wild Soul with guest Christine Hassler) and they were talking about the state of the world. About how hard it is to deal right now. They said something that was a great reminder.

Christine said “ I’m not God. It’s not my job to understand WHY all this is happening. Why the hurricanes are destroying cities and counties. why some people are born with this and others with that. I will never understand that. We try to understand with our minds something that is not for us to get”. 

“It IS my job to not contribute to more fear, anxiety and chaos on the planet. That’s my job”. 

Elizabeth goes on to say that “trying to understand it, actually IS a spiritual bypass because then all your effort, energy and attention is going towards trying to process and understand something that you’re not capable of and not built to understand. instead of doing what you can do to actually help, to actually contribute to care for yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed.” 

It hit home with me because often when I’m feeling good among all this turmoil, I feel like I’m doing something wrong. Like I’m not allowed to. There is a guilt that goes along with it. 

After hearing these ladies speak, I realized it’s actually exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Not to say I ignore the happenings of the world. but being sad and angry and trying to understand it helps no one.

So what I can do, is be conscious. Make sure I’m doing everything I can to cope with the emotions and triggers that are coming up. It’s my job to take care of myself first and foremost. Because that then affects all the people I come into contact with. And who they come into contact with. And so on and so on.

I can choose a different life mantra. I can reject “life is hard” and I can say “this life is a gift”. Even with all its hardships, the experience of life is the greatest gift of all. We get to feel the sensations of being human and those sensations won’t always be pleasant. But sometimes it can be down right ecstatic. Our souls wanted to come here to experience what it's like to be human. It’s all a part of the process.

What do you say? Do you have a mantra (either conscious or not) that you repeat to yourself? Is it of the “life is hard” variety or the “holy shit we’re alive!” variety? Can you choose a different one?

Thank you so much for reading. For giving me the space to write about such things of the heart. This is me doing my job to NOT contribute to more fear, anxiety, and chaos on this planet. Won’t you join me?

All my love,
Dana