Saturday, May 16, 2015

Life Is Like a Roller Coaster

"Life is like a roller coaster.  You can either hang on for dear life and scream in terror, or you can put your hands up in the air, enjoy the ride, and scream ‘Wheeeeeee!’"  (Karen Langford)

The very first time I rode on a roller coaster, I thought it would be an exciting adventure, but instead, it turned out to be one of the most terrifying experiences of my young life!  After the ride was over, I was never so happy to see land, and I never wanted to go through that again! But I did and now I love roller-coasters!  

Life is like that.  We have our up's and down's, our joys and sorrows, sometimes we're beyond happy and ecstatic with the way our life is going, and other times we're living in fear and wishing we could get off this ride we call life.  

It is said that we are spiritual beings living a human experience.  True…yet we also need to embrace our humanness, which includes all the perceived good and bad.  Since it is part of our experience, we need to be careful not to trivialize being human.  Spiritually, we came here as humans to learn and to remember who we really are and to be the greatest expressions of who we were meant to be.  That’s what Jesus came to teach us.  He was one of the greatest examples of living the life of a spiritual being inhabiting a human body, though there were many other spiritual masters who also came to teach us this.

Jim Palmer wrote in “Notes From (Over) the Edge,” “Jesus spoke of being ‘in’ the world but not ‘of’ it.  It’s not so difficult to do one or the other, but the way of Jesus is both…to embrace and feel all of life for what it is AND to find one’s ultimate peace and well-being in the truth of the way things really are.  By all means, embrace and feel all of life for what it is; just don’t attach yourself to it as the source of your peace and well-being.  Your source of peace and well-being is not contingent upon what happens in your circumstances.  People, places, or things cannot make you or break you.  Non-attachment is taking life as it happens and responding to situations as they require, but not attaching your state of being to the rollercoaster of life’s ups and downs.  If something brings pleasure, enjoy it.  If something brings pain, feel the hurt.  But in both cases, let it go.  Don’t cling to the pleasure or pain as if it is the determining factor of your well-being.  Start living this way right now.”

Spiritually, we know that no matter what happens in our lives, all is well.  I totally believe that everything happens for a reason and everything is for our highest good.  We are also human and make human choices, and it’s almost impossible to avoid it while living on this earth plane.  Along with being human, we have everything that goes with it in the way of feelings and emotions.  And that is where the roller coaster comes in; sometimes we’re feeling on top of the world and other times we’re feeling so low we don’t even know how we’re going to face the day.  But we also don’t have to let those experiences define us.

It really does come down to our attitudes and beliefs about life, whether we’re optimistic or pessimistic, and do we look for and expect the good or the bad?   These greatly influence our experiences in life.  And like being on a roller coaster, we know that we are on it from the beginning to the end, so it’s up to us as to what those experiences will be like.  Many believe that life is full of challenges, but I prefer to call them adventures.  It’s my way of putting a more positive spin on whatever I may be going through. 

David Cunliffe said, “Our reality is a complex blend of true and false beliefs acquired over the course of our lifetime.  Thoughts that can become the foundation of our personality and thinking.  Yet the key to a fruitful spiritual journey is to have the courage to surrender all thoughts and beliefs that limit our spiritual progression and happiness.”

Our spiritual and/or human experience is what we make of it.  Like the roller coaster, as long as I know that the up times will come once again, I know I can hang on and not take the down times so seriously.  Life really is like a roller coaster and I’m really trying my best to put my hands up in the air, enjoy the ride, and scream, “Wheeeeeeeee!”

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper May 15, 2015.

1 comment:

Sharon Warren said...

Another excellent article, Karen! We always have a choice whether to see the positive or negative or to be an optimist or pessimist. It is a matter of focus and what we think about expands.