The storm brews just off the horizon, you look away to get back to what you're doing and the next thing you know it's on your doorstep about to rain, storm and blast gail force winds. What do you do?
Are you the kind to prepare yourself and brace for the storm or do you say "nope" and bury your head in the sand until it passes?
It's tempting to stick your head in the sand and ignore the storm that is over the top of you, but let's get real. Just because you're ignoring the storm doesn't mean it's gone. That's the equivalent of a 3 year old covering their eyes and believing they're invisible.
We all live out our patterns of beliefs and perceptions on a daily basis as a way to grow and evolve.
Patterns are the result of having conscious perceptions becoming unconscious. Think of when you learned to drive. Initially, staying in the lane felt like it required all of your conscious attention let alone, avoiding other cars, indicating and navigating your way to your destination.
But once you nailed down being able to keep the car safely within your lane, you started to flick that ability over to autopilot (your unconscious mind). We do this with all kinds of things in life as a way to manage the overwhelm of daily life. It's a brilliant function of the mind. It allows us to develop these cycles or patterns of operation to make things a little smoother and simpler through each day.
These cycles are sometimes called habits.
Could you imagine being consciously aware of every single thing you do and decide each day? Yeah, just thought of it is overwhelming.
So how does this effect the way we live out our lives and the patterns of our bigger picture experience?
Re-enacting the Play
Here's a simplified version of what happens in the mind. At some stage in your life you experience an event. During that event you have a positive or negative perception of what happened. In that moment, you develop a belief that says "Situations like this lead to a bad experience." Moving forward, anytime you experience an event with similar characteristics unfolding, you unconsciously regress back to the original experience and react in the present moment the same way you did back then.
You reacting or re-enacting in the same way, creates the same outcome.
Now, imagine doing that every time the same situation unfolds, what do you end up experiencing? A pattern. A cycle. A habit.
Why does this happen in spite all of your efforts to change it?
Death Spiral or Life Lesson
Your original perception is polarised. You either see it as good or bad. The thing is that life's events are neutral, yet your perception has been polarised because of the way you've seen it.
If you've seen something as a negative or painful experience it's because you weren't looking at the valuable pieces or beneficial components of the event.
So what if the point of you recreating these events and patterns over and over again if it's happening for a reason?
That reason is to help you change your perception. Recreating these patterns in life, in relationships, in business, in work, with money, in your social life, with your health are all an unconscious attempt to resolve your perception of the original experiences and events of your life.
Believe it or not, your mind, your beliefs and your experiences are all trying to help you break your patterns by repeating the lessons over and over again until you get it.
Think of being in grade four. If you don't get the valuable lessons from that grade, you will continue to repeat the grade and it's lessons until you get it. Once you get it and you show the signs of actually comprehending the lessons, you graduate from grade four and progress to grade five.
The only thing is that this cycle of lesson-learning doesn't end in your schooling career. It never ends. Your learning, growth and evolution doesn't end. It's not meant to.
Do you ever feel like you have some kind of storm following you around and it doesn't matter how far you go to get away from your troubles? It's like no matter what you do it's always there.
Well, what if storms were real? But instead of being called a 'storm', they're actually called 'problems' or 'challenges.'
That's right. What you might call a storm is actually just the problems you've been avoiding addressing.
You may know that I have a tendency to go on about how life is balanced with good and bad, positive and negative, challenge and support. If life has this maintained balance, and you keep avoiding your problems, then where do you expect them to go exactly? You're not going to live a problem-free life. That's impossible. No one has—no matter what Hollywood portrays.
Each and every one of my clients have faced challenges every step of their journey. No matter how much money they make, what relationship they're in or what country they choose to live in.
So if we can't escape problems and challenges, what's the value in running from them? Every time you try to turn away from a problem, you'll find that it just shows up in a different form in your life.
The truth is that avoiding our problems only breeds the strength that they show up with. It's like the faster you run away the faster and bigger they get.
Where things get especially challenging is when you realise that new problems also come into your life while you're still running from the old ones. So they start accumulating and building up. They even gather together and start a group called the Your Personal Problems Support Group just to make sure none of them get left behind.
Is any of this sounding remotely familiar?
Yeah, that's because most people do this.
Buffy, The Problem-Slayer
So how do you deal with the support group? Simple, by confronting every single one of your challenges.
That's right, in order for your problems to make their way out of your life, you'll have to face each of them and get to the heart of the matter.
If we personify your problems for a moment, you'll realise that they just want your attention. The more you ignore them, the more they'll grasp for your attention. They escalate and get louder until you can no longer hear anything else. They're tapping you on the shoulder and doing everything they can to show you something but you keep ignoring them.
The truth is the problems you're running from are actually gifts in disguise. They're lessons, growth opportunities that harbour gems inside of them. By ignoring them you're actually running away from the gold mine of opportunities that they are.
Think about mining for gold or diamonds. It requires digging in really dirty, dusty and dark places to extract them. It's no different with life. Looking at the dirty, dark mines where your problems live can be reframed as gold mines, waiting for you to cash in on the riches.
The way to slay your problems once and for all is to ask yourself how each of your problems are helping you. You don't have to confront them all at once. Just work on one at a time until each one is resolved. Start with the small ones if you have to. Either way, ask yourself what are the upsides to having these challenges, and keep looking for the answers until you uncover the underlying reason why this problem might be in your life in the first place.
Change Your Glasses
The only reason you call them problems is because that's how you perceive them. It's the lens that you're looking through.
What some might call a cave, others call a gold mine. What some might call a storm, others call an opportunity. A simple change in perception can change the outcome of how you live your life and face your challenges.
Problems, challenges and obstacles won't go away. You'll face them every step of the way on your journey through life, so why not build the muscle of confronting them instead of opting for burying your head in the sand.
I haven't met anyone who has truly confronted their challenges without it being deeply valuable to them. Give your problems the attention that they seek and you'll start the process of problem-solving. Do it often and long enough and you'll start looking at them as gifts and doing it with enthusiasm.