"A calm sea never made a skilled sailor," now this is a quote that pertains to life as a whole. I am always looking for quotes that help to reflect the journey to one's spiritual path and this quote just reminded me about balance, which is what life is all about. In other words, a sailor could never become a skilled sailor without the ups and downs of the rough seas, the torrential storms and the rogue waves. If he/she were to have only smooth sailing during the course of training, this is one particular sailor I would not relish at the helm.
I wonder where we all get the idea that life "should" be happy and "should" be perfect all the time (by the way I despise the word "should." It is one of the most harmful words on the planet). We are guaranteed nothing as we enter this world, with the exception of the chance to give it a go and learn along the way. There is another quote I love that, "Only the strong survive." In order to be strong, one must understand that there is no state of constant happiness nor perfect bliss. We must string together all of the small and seemingly insignificant moments from our day and pull the happy and triumphant times from those. We must take the lessons we learned from everything else and chalk those up as additional ammo we can add to our emotional and spiritual armory. When we become excellent at riding the rough seas as well as the calm, then and only then will we be able to navigate life with finesse.
Often times we shoot ourselves in the foot with expectations. I was notorious for always thinking that because I enjoyed helping others and would always do the most I could for someone I considered a friend, that they would always be there for me and invite me to things and include me and so on and so on. I realized before I moved here that I have exactly five friends on the face of the planet who I could actually expect those things from and who would deliver. Anyone else in my life could not be counted on and I did one of two things; I cut ties and eliminated the need to expend my much-needed energy on them, or I pushed them back to arms' length where they will be considered acquaintances and no expectations shall be present. I think everyone should take stock of their lives every now and then and weed out the excess things and the people that waste so much of our time and energy.
We all have or have had people in our lives that I call suckers, i.e. they suck the energy right out of you by being so needy and always taking and taking and never giving in return. I will no longer abide people taking from me, but I will offer to help them once. If I see that they will take the help and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, i.e., make a real effort, then I will either stay and help until I can help no more and our relationship changes for the better, or find them someone who can help them in the manner that will be most beneficial for them. I respect myself so much now (a huge turn-around from my past) that I will only allow positive, strong and conscientious people into my life. I respect me and so shall they, or they can move on. I no longer care how others view me, nor will I accept their judgments into my life.
We are all sailors learning to navigate the rough seas and thereby able to enjoy the calm ones. Take stock of what you have in your life, throw all the bad and insignificant things overboard, and hold onto everything else. You will see as you filter through this process just how wonderful your life will become.