The Courage to Thrive

Whenever evil befalls us, we ought to ask ourselves, after the first suffering, how we can turn it into good. So shall we take occasion, from one bitter root, to raise perhaps many flowers. 
Leigh Hunt

I have been handling a lot of frustration, desperation, and depression this summer.Struggling to keep afloat, I experienced a leak in my boat. And I’ve been drowning in the negativity and fear that we all feel like a miasma around us, fed by the media and by economic woes. And I have been tempted to give in to the most frightening thoughts, the most troubling images. I doing things that I never thought I would have to do, facing losses that are hard to bear. 

But I refuse to be defined by my failures, my losses, and my fears. I am choosing to move beyond limited definitions of who I am and what I am capable of being. 

In the process of seeking answers to my own dilemmas, I have met some amazing people and found some helpful resources that tell me we can do more than just survive in hard times. We can learn how to thrive.

I am reading an inspiring book by Paul Pearsall. It’s called The Beethoven Factor: The New Positive Psychology of Hardiness, Happiness, Healing, and Hope. Pearsall’s own story of surviving cancer is inspiring, and he introduces you to the people he calls thrivers, individuals who face life’s unavoidable challenges head-on and grow stronger and more vital as a result. He offers a course in “thrivology” that teaches you to tap into your God-given powers to transform troubles into triumphs. Beethoven wrote his best-loved symphonies despite deafness. And we can write a more meaningful story for our lives even in the face of loss and difficult times. 

This is not just about positive thinking. It’s about being willing to live fully, even in the face of death. It’s about being willing to risk, even if you have no guarantees of winning. And it’s about choosing to love life, give it meaning, and adapt to the changing circumstances of life with grace and courage.

If you are in the midst of a crisis, I know that words often slide off the surface of your mind, making no impact. You have to give yourself grace and time. But when you are ready, the right phrase, a new idea, or something that lets you know you are not alone in your struggles, can reach the heart. I’m writing not because I have the answers, but because I have found some comfort and inspiration to help me make a choice for life, and to choose to thrive instead of merely surviving. 

The Daily Coyote, a book (and website) by Shreve Stockton, tells the story of a young woman raising a coyote in the wilds of Wyoming. One of the most inspiring ideas I gleaned from her relationship with Charlie, the coyote, is about becoming an “energetic alpha.” Shreve says, 
“By energetic alpha I mean a solid, unwavering conviction in oneself. On that cannot be broken by intimidation from outside sources.… Energetic alpha is a combination of confidence and grace, and this translates seamlessly to every area of life—personal and business relationships, even our attitudes regarding work and personal trials—and the manner in which we move through life.” 

Paul Pearsall writes: “Thriving is defined as reconstructing life’s meaning in response to life’s most destructive occurrences. It is not only rising to the occasion, but being raised by it. Thriving is a renewal of faith, energy, trust, hope, and connection just when doubt, cynicism, fear, fatigue, and alienation seem at their worst. It’s not just bounding back, but up and beyond. It is the emergence of a new creative spirit through and because of the darkest times, a spirit that can guide us to the Beethoven Factor so we too can creatively conduct our daily life as an ode to joy.”

Are you willing to consider the possibility that there is more to you than meets the eye? Are you willing to come with me on a quest for a more meaningful and vibrant response to the challenges life presents? I can’t guarantee that we’ll get out of this unscathed, but I do guarantee that we can find grace and a new kind of wholeness and sanity if we will face our fears and failings with courage, and move deeper into the heart of God for our strength and comfort. This is my quest. I hope you’ll join me. 

Here are a few more quotes that I hope will inspire you if you are facing a crisis or challenge in life:

The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns.
I Ching, The Book of Changes

All suffering prepares the soul for vision.
Martin Buber

The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals, and emotional patterns not longer fit; the time for a passing of a threshold is at hand. 
Joseph Campbell

To a poor sailor the winds are always against you.
proverb

The winds of grace blow all the time. All we need to do is set our sails.
Ramakrishna

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
William Shakespeare

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves—regret for the past and fear of the future.
Fulton Oursler

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
Pablo Picasso

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ 
Eleanor Roosevelt

Things seem to turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.
Art Linkletter

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
Oscar Wilde

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the conquest of it.
William Danforth


Affirmative prayer

My mother recites this prayer and I, too, am finding great comfort in it.

The light of God surrounds me,
The love of God enfolds me,
The power of God protects me,
The Presence of God watches over me,
Wherever I am, God is.
--prayer card/author unknown 

Introducing an inspiring friend: 

Just for fun

Remember the old Exxon slogan, “Put a tiger in your tank?” Chris Guillebeau offers a new take on that with his blog entry Visit to Tiger Kingdom. The photos do not lie—he’s cuddling up to a very big tiger. “What’s new, pussycat?”

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/visit-to-tiger-kingdom/

Get serious about play:

With all the dire headlines and my blog about finding meaning in trials and difficulties, it’s easy to forget that one of the best things you can do is play. If you want to be fully alive, play with others. Interplay groups offer one of the most wonderful ways to play meaningfully. I took the Interplay Leadership course and will be forever grateful to Diana Morningstar Ault for introducing me to the joys of Interplaying. I give you the national website and our Tennessee site. Come have fun and heal your heart!

http://www.interplay.org/
http://www.interplaytn.org/


Action Whey

I don’t normally endorse products. However, I have enjoyed so much success using this whey drink that I have become a distributor. I'd love to have you check it out and see if it would work for you, too. I’m offering my personal experience with the product and if you are not interested in a commercial, just skip this part of my blog. 

I have been drinking ActionWhey since late June, and I'm so grateful for the extra energy it gives me. I'm eating less (so I'm saving money on groceries!), feeling better, and even losing weight! People tell me I am looking great. 

Not only that, ActionWhey tastes good, with no bitter or gluey aftertaste. I like to blend it with water, milk, rice milk, or almond milk, and a banana. Chocolate is my preferred flavor, but the vanilla is also excellent. I drink one serving in the morning for energy, and if the day is hectic or I'm feeling the need for extra nourishment, I'll drink another serving later in the day. I have always struggled to eat for energy and tend to wilt pretty quickly in the afternoon, even when I eat well (salads and fresh fruits). 

Since I have been using ActionWhey my energy continues evenly through the day. I'm also handling the heat of Nashville summer better, too. No more wilting for me. This has been a special blessing in the last few weeks as life has been more stressful than usual recently (hasn't it been so for us all?). 

Oh, and did I say how helpful it was when I traveled in July? I had plenty of energy for the five hour flight, and when I was at my destination, one serving of ActionWhey kept my energies up so I could enjoy time with my family. 

I also sleep more soundly. And my digestion is better. They say it helps you feel younger—and I do feel younger, lighter, and less weighed down by life itself (this is a neat trick, considering what's going on in my life right now!). 

One new thing I've noticed: clear sinuses. This may not be a big deal in other parts of the country, but summer in Nashville, especially on hot and humid days, can be hell on sinuses. I have had something that gives me sinus headaches every July since I moved here in 1993. Not this year. I'm sure it's the ActionWhey helping my immune system. Clear breathing is a gift, especially when the heat is on and the humidity makes you sweat. Clear sinuses mean more oxygen in the body, and that means more energy. 

Gail Goad, my friend and yoga instructor, introduced me to Action Whey. Her son has helped develop the product, and Hugh Downs chose to feature the product and company on a recent PBS program. It also features Dr. Mark Houston from Vanderbilt, Director of the Center for Anti-Aging and a Board Certified physician. 

I have also learned that it's easy to build a business quickly (low key, absolutely nothing pushy, no financial investment, no complicated systems or sales meetings). I can soon have the monthly cost of my whey drink covered, just by introducing others to what I already use and enjoy. And as more people join under me I can also earn $$$$. All I do is tell them about the product and send them to my website. 

But you don't have to build a business. You can just go to the retail site, read about the product, and download the free report on Glutathione, with no obligation. 

If you decide to try ActionWhey, let me know if you like it. Email me if you have questions. I'll do my best to answer them. I think the website is pretty self-explanatory, though.

I'm putting links for Action Whey here. One takes you to my website. 

candypaull.myemeraldbiz.com

The other link takes you to the Action Whey page for information on the product I'm using.

candypaull.myemeraldstore.com/actionwhey