How many of you have been taught that success is gained through hard work and difficulty? How many of you think true growth comes only through hard work and toil? How many of you see trials as these big challenges that need to be overcome? Success is only at the top of a hard and craggy mountain that you have to climb with your bare hands?
Well, it can be. Life can be this endless string of stressful, difficult challenges that we need to sort our way through in order to learn our lessons.
But it doesn’t need to be.
Let that sink in a moment. It does not need to be hard.
Let’s look at it this way. We all have the specific lessons we are supposed to learn in life. Let’s say there is a list. A list of lessons. We can choose to learn them quick, or learn them slow. We can go over a lesson 15 times, or learn it the first time. We can learn it hard, or learn it easy. The difference is how long it takes us, and how many extra bruises we got along the way.
The point is, though, it does not need to be difficult.
Try this on for size: the path to success is the path of least resistance.
Wary, aren’t you? (Yes, that was rhetorical…)
Yes, the path to success is an upward one. Yes, there is a mountain. But instead of taking the path with no support, no footholds, without the proper gear, or a guide to help you up, imagine taking the path with other people ahead of you showing you just where to place your foot, what obstacles to walk around instead of over, and to hold your hand as you climb.
How does that feel?
Who said it had to be difficult?!? To me, that is a prescribed notion of the past. Shake it loose. Try on a new perception. There is a mountain, and you are climbing to the top. In the most direct and easy route possible.
You still wind up at the top. You just got there with a lot fewer bumps and bruises - and a lot less stress - than had you taken the lonely, craggy path up.
What does this have to do with parenting, you ask? Well, it applies to every area of life, but with parenting, let’s take a basic example. You want to be The Best Parent, right? That is the top of your personal parenting goal mountain. How hard do you think that path is going to be if you strike out on your own, with a preconceived notion: “this is going to be difficult”? How lonely, and how exhausted are you after just, say, 5 weeks of that? Imagine how much easier it is to get up that mountain if you have the proper tools, like, say, your intuition, and the proper guides, like a trusted mentor who is a great parent? You feel that sigh of relief, right? And what about a partner or friend to come relieve you for a while so you can have a rest with this upward climb you are on? Yes! Wonderful – please do come in! And now, you are energized to climb more! With more resourcefulness and energy and tools! So you get there faster. But in reality, so many of us push away help or support or guidance because we are programmed that THIS NEEDS TO BE DIFFICULT. In other words, if I do not figure this out or do the hard work myself, it doesn’t count. WRONG. G-d wants you to learn the lesson, and He’d love for you to use the resources He placed in this world to make it EASIER for you! He did that! For you! You don’t need all the answers, you don’t need sleepless night after sleepless night to prove to anyone you can do this yourself. G-d did not place you in this world alone. You know the saying that everyone has exactly what they need right now to be their best selves right now? (I know…one of the most annoying lines in the Oral Law of the Bible – totally negates any notion of the well-deserved pity party, right?!?) Well, lack of pity-party aside, it is totally true. (Wipe that frown and “bummer” expression off your face…;)
You have what you need in your life right now to navigate every part of your life, to learn your lessons, as easily as possible. (In case you haven’t gotten this yet, no – you do not need to do this by yourself, or in the dark.) This does not mean, as I have recently picked up on, that you have it all in your pocket right now. That’s one of the best parts – but I’ll get to that in a moment. It means you have the means at your disposal. You know exactly the right people/person to give you the advice you need. You have the money at your disposal to hire that expert or babysitter or go out because if you don’t you won’t be able to do more of this. USE these tools. ASK for support. INVITE in guidance and expertise from those who are further up the mountain. It doesn’t need to be hard.
What do I mean by not having all the tools in your pocket as one of the best parts? We are all part of a greater society. We are all connected. We all have knowledge and experience that is valuable to someone else. Imagine if we had to have all the tools and know everything and have everything in our pockets all the time to manage all aspects of our life?! Major stress and major backache! G-d created mankind in all its wonderful variety so that everyone holds something that someone else needs. And guess what? All that you need – it is in your life already. You have abundance. Look at who you know, what they know, what you know…and you will find you already really do have everything you need right now. It is just a question away. “Can you help me with this?” It’s that simple.
[OK, I’m going over my usual quota of words here, but here are two examples: (if you’d like, just skip to the bottom where it says “Because” to wrap it up…)
When my oldest was a few days old, my mother-in-law was over helping out. My baby woke up one night in the middle of the night crying. I rocked her, tried to feed her, did everything I knew how to do . After ½ an hour of patiently looking on, my mother-in-law finally said, “Devorah, you are tired and stressed. I am here. Let me take her and you go back to bed. I promise I will take care of her as if she were my very own.” I finally gave her the baby, but not so happily, feeling like I must be failing if I can’t get my own baby quiet. Really!? Where did that idea come from? Even the best and most experienced of parents can be overtired and stressed and therefore not be able to quiet their child. When we invite in help, we make the process easier and richer for everyone involved. Happy Baby, rested Mommy, and ecstatic Grandmother. Win-win!
Alright, that’s enough here. I will try to post the other example to the Beit Roga facebook page.]
Because of our predisposed notion that good things are supposed to be hard won, we think that hard work must be involved. Think again. G-d wants you to get as far as you can in life. By learning your lessons quickly, and moving on!
Go with your gut, let it be easy, and move on.
With so much love and serenity,