“A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind.” -Chinese Proverb
How we come to interpret the events in life is everything. This is most especially true at the most unstable moments in life. Whether in the passionate beginnings or abrupt endings of relationships, how we come to think about the transitions and change we experience is the most dramatic influence on the outcome of most everything. Our thinking is the blueprint for what we create and attract into our days.
John Kennedy reminded us, “When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters-one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” Both conditions are present when the ground shifts dramatically under our feet, but where we hold our gaze has a lot more to do with the outcome than we might realize. By embracing the uncertainty and groundlessness we experience with an eye for opportunity, we transform the events by our way of seeing. Looking for opportunity, by definition, requires witnessing what is good and workable during changing times. Fixating on the danger celebrates anxiety and allows fear to be the leader.
Trusting that unpredictable life changes are a sign of growth and a gateway to new opportunities requires a kind of surrender. It isn’t that fear isn’t a factor if you look to the opportunity, it’s that you make friends with your fear. When you keep your fear and insecurity close by you, not trying to run away from it, or make it look like something else, it has the chance to surprise you. Most emotions are only asking to be witnessed. Usually just shining a light on our feelings is enough attention for them to morph into something else, something workable.
On the other hand, if we let our fears strangle us with desperate threats, we are captive. The dangerous winds of life are in charge, the more we resist. When this happens to me, I am also generally filled with self recrimination. The more that I believe that I should be able to stop or control the outcome, the more out of control life becomes. Learning to ride the wave of the unpredictable, is kind of like intense surfing. The surfers are literally on the edge, aware of the uncontrollable nature of the water that holds them, but looking to the opportunity, the hole that will bring them to the other side.
I have never ridden anything but a small boogie board, so I don’t speak from experience, but I am transfixed when I watch the brash courage of opportunistic surfers. In the changing waves of my life right now, I aspire to their grace and raw bravery. I don’t just want to hang on for dear life, I want to find the center and ride it into the sun like the best of them.