I wrote this quote a while ago and for some reason today it caught my attention in a way that it hadn’t before. Funny how that happens … I guess it’s an example of how as time goes by, we alter our perception and suddenly something hits us in a new way.
So what does this quote actually mean?
“It’s the things we can’t change that change us the most” – Allanah Hunt
I see that in life we have two choices when presented with a difficulty, a loss or a challenge.
Option one, we can allow the difficulty, loss or challenge to be the defining moment in our lives by stopping exactly where we are, wishing and praying that something will change so that we can feel better, achieve our dreams or have what we want.
I know a lot of people who feel that one event ended their future dreams. In a moment of loss or fear, they gave up on their desire for more. Their desire for love, their desire for progress or their desire for life. They became stuck, forever frozen in the emotions of a single event, catastrophic though it may have been, life changing as it ultimately was, but that’s the point. That’s the first choice. To remain frozen in a moment in time, almost as if the spark that once lit them up, that drew everything they so wanted or once had to them, has been instantly and forever blown out. Extinguished.
They go through the motions of their life with no joy, no happiness, believing themselves to be the victim of circumstance rather than understanding they have ultimate power to stay or to move. And that by choosing to stay stuck in a moment of change, they have made a conscious decision to stop living, to stop exploring, to stop experiencing.
Do you know someone like this? Maybe it’s how you feel …
I think most of us have times when the fear of the future overwhelms us and causes us to freeze. Those feelings of ‘what if’ come soaring in and bring our deepest fears out of the darkness and into the light. Those ‘worst case scenarios’ stare us in the face and we can’t see anything else. Terrifying and ultimately paralysing. I know I’ve had times where the future looked very bleak. As if I was looking into an abyss with no bottom, nothing but blackness full of the unknown. And I froze. I stopped in my tracks, scared to put a foot wrong, scared to take a step at all for fear of falling. Hoping that something would change so that I could move forward. Standing at the foot of a towering wall that had suddenly arisen in my way.
Which brings me to the second option. You can choose to change direction, to adapt with the flow of life and to find another way to go on. It’s those things we can’t change that change us the most for they force us to be creative, they force us to grow and they force us to alter not only the way we’re going but who we are.
I found this poem that I thought I would share with you as a way of demonstrating this concept. When you can’t go over or under, go around.
A baby mole got to feeling big,
And wanted to show how he could dig;
So he plowed along in the soft, warm dirt
Till he hit something hard, and it surely hurt!
A dozen stars flew out of his snout;
He sat on his haunches, began to pout;
Then rammed the thing again with his head–
His grandpap picked him up half dead.
“Young man,” he said, “though your pate is bone.
You can’t butt your way through solid stone.
This bit of advice is good, I’ve found:
If you can’t go over or under, go round.”
A traveler came to a stream one day,
And because it presumed to cross his way,
And wouldn’t turn round to suit his whim
And change its course to go with him,
His anger rose far more than it should,
And he vowed he’d cross right where he stood.
A man said there was a bridge below,
But not a step would he budge or go.
The current was swift and the bank was steep,
But he jumped right in with a violent leap.
A fisherman dragged him out half-drowned:
“When you can’t go over or under, go round.”
If you come to a place that you can’t get _through,_
Or _over_ or _under_, the thing to do
Is to find a way _round_ the impassable wall,
Not say you’ll go YOUR way or not at all.
You can always get to the place you’re going,
If you’ll set your sails as the wind is blowing.
If the mountains are high, go round the valley;
If the streets are blocked, go up some alley;
If the parlor-car’s filled, don’t scorn a freight;
If the front door’s closed, go in the side gate.
To reach your goal this advice is sound:
If you can’t go over or under, go round!
By Joseph Morris
Although this poem was written for kids, the message is clear.
When life presents us with a difficulty, a loss or a challenge, we must become adaptable, we must become malleable or we will be forever stuck in a moment that defines our future and ultimately defines our life.
But there’s something more to add.
There is beauty in change. There is freedom in allowing life to unfold and to ‘go with the flow’.
That’s not to say you will find it easy. But then the diamonds we currently find so precious are honed through hardship and through pressure. They are forced to change form or be destroyed. And by changing form, by adapting to the pressures they face, they become a brilliant, shining perfect light onto all around.
So those things we can’t change that change us the most?
Allow them to. Roll with the punches. Go with the flow. Find your rhythm and if you can’t go over or under, go round.