It seems many of us tend to forget that when the going gets rough, there isn't a quick fix we can resort to. We have to be patient with ourselves, no matter how distraught we are. I recently needed to be reminded of this and hope that my experience sparks inspiration within you as well.
It all started when I returned to Norway after a tiring Transatlantic trip. I felt myself slipping away after countless hours of hard work to the point where I just hit a wall. I hurried to the doctor, and although I passed all of the blood tests with flying colors, it was clear that I was suffering from exhaustion. My body was screaming for a break. Those viral memes were spot-on...2016 was rough for everyone. It had been the longest year of my life and I couldn't wait for it to be over.
As anyone experiencing severe exhaustion will say, I felt completely defeated and unable to handle the simplest of tasks and challenges. I was constantly in "I-have-given-up" mode, so I didn't stand a chance when trying to motivate myself to power through. My tearful breakdowns became routine, as the tissues grew into piles. My lack of sleep turned me into a hopeless zombie who couldn't physically hold herself up. Just as I was falling deeper into the rabbit hole, I had the most vivid dream that changed everything.
It was one of those picture perfect days soaking up the sun on the local ferry headed towards my house. As I was enjoying the breeze, I noticed someone driving a smaller boat towards me. He looked so familiar. I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of excitement come over me; it was my beloved late father. There's nothing better than reuniting with your family through dreams. I get to enjoy their company, which I miss so much.
Both of our boats stopped and everything became still. My dad gave me a serious look, and I knew that something important was coming.
“Life isn’t supposed to be easy," he said.
I quickly raised my hand, just as I would in school, and asked, “Always?”
True to form, he seemed a little bit annoyed that I had interrupted him.
“Most of the time, it's hard,” he said. "Our problems and the lessons we learn polish us. We have to go through challenges with extreme focus and trust; trust that it will eventually be over.”
Then, a string from his boat somehow snagged and he couldn’t drive. He focused all of his energy on figuring out how to untangle the knot. He knew that with patience and determination, it would be resolved. When the string finally came undone, he went off on his way without worrying he'd get stuck again. This, he explained, is what life is all about: we get tired and feel hopeless, but it always passes.
"By complaining and whining, our troubles spread around us, and so does our energy. The key is to harness it, and it will subside," he explained. "It's important that you remember to do this with your head held high because problems aren't supposed to disappear, they are meant to make you stronger.”
I woke up from my exhausted state feeling so moved to see my father again. My pillow was damp from my tears, but they were finally happy tears. For a few minutes, I just laid there and took everything in. I felt a powerful wave of love and gratitude come over me.
If you feel yourself slipping away, let my father's words of hope inspire you to focus and trust the flow and purpose of your life. Problems will always surround us, but they're negatives that can be turned into positives. All you have to do is remind yourself that "this too shall pass", and hold your head up high, as I was reminded.