Appreciating Adversity


Life is full of ups and downs. And sometimes it's everything at once.

This weekend I fasted for 43 hours. It wasn't until the fortieth hour that I actually enjoyed it, experiencing the often associated “fasting high.” I used those few remaining and joyous hours to reshape my goals for the coming weeks, as well as my exercise routine.

Yet things kept going wrong for me this weekend, especially on Saturday. A stopwatch I had just bought quit working and I had to order a battery for it. I was stretching in the morning and pulled a muscle in my neck, which still hurts today. It was cold outside, the coldest day of the year I think, so I didn't dare go walking.

Despite this I battled through, and I meditated on “adversity.” We all face it, but how we deal with it seems to separate us from each other. Adversity can destroy us, but it can also strengthen us, and not just by making us bitter or giving us a “stiff upper lip.” In fact, if adversity has caused us to swallow our feelings, haven't we lost?

But there's always hope to continue, unless we die. This brings me to Whitney Houston, whose life was cut short at the age of forty-eight. She has zero opportunities to right the ship that took on water with her sordid marriage to Bobby Brown. No more opportunities to love someone.

I believe this weekend taught me a lot about myself. I learned to respect and appreciate adversity. Those times when the Cosmos reminds me to enjoy life. Life won't always be.

I hope I can appreciate and respect even more those quiet times when everything goes right, and not fear the inevitable ups and downs.

The Cosmos will remind us of our fragility, but so that we do not take for granted and fail to appreciate our strengths.

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21 Responses to Appreciating Adversity

  1. Cool Blog, J.R. Interesting concept: Fasting. I like eating and do not think that would work for me. Glad you found something this weekend you were looking for. Renewed focus, maybe? Goals?

    Digging it!

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    1. Peace of mind and clarity, and I've got that!

      Fasting isn't for everyone. I enjoy it, but if I didn't I would never force myself to do it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Digger :)

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  2. I think everyone encounters adversity in life. Sometimes everything runs smoothly and then all of a sudden absolutely everything seems to go wrong at the one time. But I believe that it is through adversity that we learn and we grow. I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones. I seem to have been born with a positive outlook which is a huge help in dealing with life, especially in times of adversity.

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    1. I tend to think a positive outlook is more important than not facing adversity at all. So long as being positive doesn't make us complacent ;)

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  3. J.R. I just received a call from my daughter telling me that she fell while getting out of bed and badly bruised her elbow and knee. Adversity jumps out at us sometimes doesn't it.
    This was a great post on the subject, and I must say that I'm a bit impressed with the fasting. I can't go without food for very long because my sugar drops and well... it's not pretty. LOL!!
    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  4. So true...life is certainly fragile and fleeing. Impermanence is a law that defines our existence. Sometimes that can be a disheartening notion but when fully absorbed it will oftentimes prompt us to live more fully. That's been my way of thinking of it, and seems you might have a similar take as well. To have compassion towards the times that don't seem to be working for us..to let them work themselves out, to flow in those moments, knowing better ones are to come and to immerse ourselves in the present as to experience all we can while we are here.

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  5. As the saying goes - What doesn't kill us will make us stronger.
    Adversity does make us appreciate more the peaceful and joyous moments in our lives and to appreciate life itself.
    Great reflection here, J. R.!

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    1. Agreed, though I'd replace "kill" with "destroy" since not all things in life that can leave us incapable of becoming stronger automatically mean our death. Some are in the throws of a slow kill.

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  6. I agree with you completely..Life is like a coin which has two sides and we cannot have life and choose one side, but we sure can make the most of both the sides..Check this out http://jerlyt.blogspot.in/2011/12/secret-called-duality-equilibrium-5.html

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  7. You have no idea how much this hit home for me today. My weekend too, carrying through today was fraught with adversity. I have been trying to figure out why instead of recognizing that it is what it is and dealing with it and forging ahead...smiles work wonders in the face of the adversity.

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  8. very nice and thoughtful post.
    -Portia

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  9. A very powerful post...am now temporarily disabled with a fractured leg and now I know the life of the disabled/handicapped people. A nice reminder.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Janaki, and I hope you heal quickly.

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  10. I don't think that we lose the capacity to be loved, simply because our physical bodies cease to exist. That, of course, is a whole different topic! Instead, I will say that I have found it both curious and fascinating that several bloggers - you and I included - have written recent posts with a similar theme. It must be that "100th monkey syndrome" energy going on, because I hadn't read any blogs for weeks until AFTER I wrote my own post about the kanji symbol for the word "crisis". Then I come here and find you discussing a similar theme. The energy must really be resonating at a high frequency! Btw, I thought I had clicked to follow you weeks ago, but I was wrong. I rectified that oversight just now. :)

    - Dawn

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  11. Another great post JR. "It will do this when a loved one dies, jerking us awake." It seems life has no problem throwing at us conflicts that at best are frustrations in our day tediously worked out, at worse, tragedies plunging us into despair.

    Those moments that remind me of life's fragility cause me to want to seize each moment and its potential to the fullest...to hold my kids a little longer, enjoy the stars above while taking my dogs out at night, hearing the breeze through the woods that causes the trees to creak and moan. They don't lament at their impending fate..the trees and stars, my dogs loping around looking for a suitable tree to do their...business. No, they are perfectly content with the way they are at each moment. And that's how I try to live..fully in each moment, through triumph and adversity..sometimes soaking in joy, sometimes bathing in sorrow...but aware of it all knowing that the law of impermanence assures us that through life's most painful adversities, this too shall pass.

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