I recently reconnected with a long-time friend whom I first met in Costa Rica in the 1990s. We worked together at a bilingual, environmental education focused school in a remote rural setting, a place that challenged me to stretch beyond my perceived skill set, embrace previously untested strengths, and step more courageously and confidently into leadership positions.
My work and life experience there magnified the importance of personal integrity, along with articulating and advocating for what was right and best for students, teachers, parents and the community at large. Innumerable growing pains accompanied our efforts helping this fledgling grade school succeed, and I was proud of the considerable progress we achieved toward making this endeavor a reality.
“You will grow from this,” my friend commented at the end of a recent phone call. Her encouraging words continue to have a profound impact, prodding me to revisit how I’ve grown and changed recently, revealing greater clarity as to where I am today, and what I might become moving forward.
On one level, it’s been mighty hard these last few years, having lost both my parents, a longtime childhood friend, and other people we have cared about and loved.
We’ve witnessed firsthand a palpable diminishment in the mobility and independence of other people we know. We realize that although this can be a hard part and stage of life for many, it can also be lived with grace, dignity, appreciation and a healthy dose of irreverent humor!
And then of course there’s been Covid-19. Its deadly capacity for disruption has battered so many things we hold near and dear. It has continually challenged people to isolate, go within, and do their best to heal; hopefully we’ll emerge from our chrysalises more resilient and confident in the present, while building toward a brighter future.
On another level, these times reflect how perceived hardships have actually helped me change, grow and become a better person, despite all that has happened and is happening. I have learned to tap more deeply into my strengths to serve and support others in more accessible, positively life-changing ways. I have more clearly identified where I struggle most, and would greatly benefit by doing things differently.
One area is not giving up when the going gets challenging.
I’ve re-framed this into a positive personal mantra moving forward: “You can handle this.”
Another insight is that finishing things generates momentum, greater confidence and energy to tackle new and different challenges.
I’ve also re-framed this challenge into a positive personal mantra moving forward: “You will grow from this.”
On a global level, it’s invaluable to acknowledge that as human beings, we are so much more (and greater) than our problems and challenges.
Don’t let problems and challenges define You.
Remember that You can handle this.
Know that You will grow from this.
No matter what’s happening in your world, keep taking action, keep showing up, and stay open to different ways to continually keep moving forward. Embrace, welcome, envision and trust rapid change, growth and transformation.
And no matter where your feet are, identify which personal strengths have supported and helped you push through in life. Lean and tap into your strengths.
Spending time in nature provides invaluable support as well, helping us notice more clearly what’s going on in our lives, and what we may need to do (or not do) to make desired changes.
Consistent nature connection helps reveal what’s most important in life, at times gifting us with insights, epiphanies and other personal life-changing discoveries.
So spend more time immersed in nature, by yourself and with others. Notice and observe what stands out for you. Whenever you make time for consistent nature connection, you’re creating boundless opportunities to grow, thrive and prosper.