“The sea ebbs and flows, but the rock remains unmoved.” ~ Robert Murray M’Cheyne
It was a cold winter afternoon when I first felt my growing son dance around inside of me. The sun was beaming through my bedroom window, making a golden pathway of warmth and light on my bed.
I was writing my statement of purpose for graduate school furiously typing away, deleting and editing, afraid to lose myself and my goals.
I wasn’t prepared for pregnancy.
How can I be a mother? I’m not ready.
Will I love him?
What if I can’t handle all of the responsibilities?
I was afraid I wouldn’t be the mother he needed or deserved.
But, from the moment he was born, I looked at him—blood, mucus, and perfection—and fell in love. I knew I would protect him. I knew I would love him. And I knew I would do anything for him. All of the fears and doubts I had had during my pregnancy vanished in an instant.
The Ebbs and Flows of Life
After a few weeks of parenthood, I found a real flow and started to enjoy things I never imagined I would, like changing his dirty diapers and waking up at night to feed him just to hear his sweet coos and look at his beautiful face.
But then something really unexpected happened — when my son was 10-months-old his father (who is Australian) was banned from America. I spent an entire week living in fear and crying — convincing myself there was no way I could parent alone.
How will I manage on my own?
Who will watch him while I work?
What do I do now?
Little by little, and with a lot of trial and error, I learned how to be a single parent. And now it’s not something I view as challenging, instead, I see it as empowering because I know there are no limits to what I can do and accomplish.
The reality is life is full of ebbs and flows, and when things happen (even when we aren’t prepared for them), it’s our job to keep on riding with life.
Learning how to navigate life’s constantly changing circumstances with a positive mindset is a crucial part of really experiencing life because it means we’re allowing life to happen, rather than attempting to block or deny it.
3 Ways To Navigate The Ebbs and Flows of Life
1. Recognize Everything is Temporary
When I stopped resisting my life’s circumstances and started immersing myself into single parenthood, I quickly realized the pain and fear I was experiencing was temporary. This understanding allowed me to break free from limiting thoughts and behaviors and move past the suffering and truly enjoy my new position in life.
As the ancient philosopher, Heraclitus observed,
“All things are in motion and nothing is at rest…you cannot go into the same river twice.”
And Heraclitus was right. Life is always in a state of flux — it’s constantly flowing and constantly changing. Everything around us on this physical planet is temporary, including our hardships and challenges.
If you’re having a hard time conceptualizing this, take a look at a picture of yourself from 10 years ago. Or when you were a small child. Or when you were first born. You’ve changed entirely from birth to now, as have we all.
Nothing physical lasts forever, so if you find yourself in the midst of a difficult time in your life remember, “this too shall pass.”
Sometimes in life, things happen that seem unfair, inexplicable or challenging. But, when we open our hearts and minds and acknowledge we’re being guided to our destiny we can sit back and understand why things happened the way they did, and why certain experiences are necessary for our growth.
For me, I now know my path into single parenthood was no coincidence. Instead, it was exactly what I needed to push me outside of my comfort zone (a place that sometimes feels great, but doesn’t promote growth) and fearlessly travel down my true path.
By shifting your perspective, and looking at this time as an opportunity for growth, renewal, and learning you will come out of this experience more enlightened, mature and experienced than you were prior to it.
Follow your heart and intuition because those are your internal guiding forces, and focus on your own journey. And always allow others to do the same without judgment.
When difficulty arises in your life, don’t ask — “what did I do wrong?” instead take a step back and let life unfold — the story isn’t over yet so don’t assume you know the entire plot.
When I first dried my tears of fear, took a deep breath and dove into my new role as a single parent, I quickly found I wasn’t sinking! Instead, I was able to swim.
There is always a bigger picture at play — a lesson to be learned, an experience to be had, an unexpected redirection that’s really a blessing in disguise. Allow life to show you what the bigger picture is and try not to get stuck on isolated scenes.
Keep your eyes out for winks from the universe, also know as synchronicities, that are direct messages from your spiritual team. Things such as repeating numbers, overhearing a conversation that answers an internal question you have, new people coming into your life at just the right moment, a sequence of events happening so spontaneously leading you to a new direction it can’t be explained etc.
Above all, trust the process and have faith in the universe. Know that you’re always being guided to your purpose and truth.