Living in ‘and’ moments
I’m often asked how I stay positive through so many life challenges. Clearing three cancers, a divorce and my dad’s death are certainly reasons to fall apart and be cranky. And I assure you that I’ve had those moments. But I’ve also learned the importance and beauty of living in ‘and’ moments. What are ‘and’ moments for me? Keep reading to learn more and how to apply to your life.
The beauty of being human is that we have the capacity to live and feel many things….often at once! Unexpected things happen in our lives. Both good and bad. And we react to those things. Both in good and bad ways. Right?
If you’ve spent any significant time living on this planet, you probably learned that we can’t always control what happens in our lives.
But perhaps you’ve also learned that we do have a choice in how we react and respond to situations and events.
We can choose to resist, blame others, get angry and resentful, avoid, ignore, give up. Those actions and emotions are choices available to us.
And we also can choose to acknowledge what’s happening, good or bad, and then choose to react and respond in a way that offers more ease to us. Perhaps we choose to respond to moments in life with optimism, determination, love and understanding. Those actions and emotions are also choices available to us.
We often look at emotions such as sadness, anxiety, uncertainty as negative. In reality, these types of emotions are often necessary to allow us to acknowledge what we’re experiencing and make decisions. They also allow us to then recognize the ease that other emotions, such as happiness and relief, can bring.
The questions that I often ask myself include:
What will I choose today?
What can I acknowledge that feels heavy/negative? I often give thanks for bringing these feelings to my attention and decide if I need to sit with these for a little bit so I can then let them go. And then ask how can I choose to lighten these feelings for myself?
What possibilities or opportunities can I see in this situation?
What can I choose to help bring ease and joy to this situation?
For me, living in ‘and’ moments means I’m making a choice to acknowledge a challenge or uncertain time with both sides of emotions. I’ve found that when I choose to acknowledge what’s occurring in my life rather than ignore it (no matter how much it sucks), it lightens the impact. Facing challenges with optimism has helped make situations a little more manageable and make decisions with a clearer head. It also helps me stay in the present moment to find joy, no matter how seemingly small, and be open to welcoming possibilities into my life.
Here are some examples of living in ‘and’ moments in my life:
- When I finally finished 13 months of chemotherapy for bone cancer at age 22, I was relieved and excited, and also nervous and anxious about what life as a young adult cancer survivor would look like.
- I was so nervous and full of self-doubt the first time I joined Livestrong to bike across Iowa at RAGBRAI, and also proud of myself for even trying this challenge as a bone cancer survivor.
- I’m really excited about the work I’ve been doing to build up my personal business (more to come!) to help me have a fantastic future, and I’m admittedly a little nervous to take this next big step.
A relationship ending may bring sadness and also hope for a better, happier connection with someone else. Starting a new career may bring nerves and uncertainty, and optimism at learning new skills. Booking a solo trip may bring nerves and also excitement at exploring a new place on your own terms.
Choosing to be present in your own life
Choosing to live in both of these moments helps us also become more aware of the present moment experience. It allows us to move forward from the past, let go of any future tripping and become more aware of the present moment experience.
Have you faced an ‘and’ moment in your life? Share in the moments if so.