This week I’m sharing a perspective I’ve had to actively practice to get me through the past month. On the surface nothing’s wrong, all is wonderful, and I’ve got a crazy amount of reasons to be delighted and grateful.
But I’ve not been feeling that way. I’ve actually felt quite languid and uninspired – just generally down. I’m not flying as high as usual and it’s taken a tremendous amount of effort to get through my professional to-do list.
Worries pop up that this dark period might never go away. I fear that the amazing, empowered, and prosperous place I was in prior might never come back.
What if I’m stuck languishing in “meh” energy and my life passes me by?
Ok, I know that’s a bit dramatic but you probably know what I’m talking about. I bring it up because I’d like to offer that these worries only exist if I forget the biggest truth about our universe.
Contrast is inevitable.
The universe grows through continual expansion and contraction, as does our being through each breath and pump of our heart.
The foundation of our existence is built upon the reality of contrast. If there wasn’t a thing called dark, we wouldn’t know of a thing called light. We see and rely on contrast everywhere in life.
Contrast is what feeds growth: without sleep, we would not have the energy for wakefulness, without dark stinky soil we wouldn’t have colorful blossoms. Contrast, or expansion and contraction, is as real and reliable as gravity.
Here’s where we get stuck though: we know this but we act like it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, apply to our emotions. We frantically hold onto the good times, fearing its inevitable end. And we dramatically lament and push against the bad. We forget that without the dark times we wouldn’t grow and experience the “good.”
And that’s why I share this. It’s a reminder that as the sun will always set, the shadows will always appear too. It’s a beautiful part of life.
So instead of doing whatever we can to keep things amazing, desperately fearing and avoiding anything that might upset the high flying feeling we’re in, we can actually shift to being super present and honoring the bliss for what it is. We can delight in the idea that it won’t last forever.
And when it starts to turn, we honor the dark period for what it provides: growth, cultivation, understanding, humility, and experience. All the while trusting it, too, will morph and dissipate like clouds.
Happiness is the art of experiencing and growing the good times. Joy is embracing the contrast of life and gracefully accepting, honoring, and moving through all that is.
I believe in both, trusting the impermanence and living on purpose. I invite you to join me so that everything, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, is equally welcome and nourishing.
Now it’s your turn. If this hit you just when you needed it, tell me what’s going on and share how embracing the contrast of life can bring you more joy, peace, and freedom. Can you practice both happiness AND joy? What would it take to do so? Thanks in advance for your courage and honesty! 🙂
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.