I struggle. I struggle every day. Everyone struggles. It may be momentary or last the whole day. Life is struggle. Is this bad? Not necessarily. What does this mean? We struggle with our thoughts, our feelings, our hopes and dreams, our spouse, our kids, our jobs, our goals, our finances, our friends. Everything. This is life. How do we define struggle? Merriam-Webster says struggle means “to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition” or as a noun, struggle is “an act of strongly motivated striving.” Ah. Striving in the face of difficulty. What if we give up the striving part? Does the opposition melt away? I think it does. Striving is your own creation. This is really the heart of mindfulness. When you are able to release striving, what is left is the moment where you are. This was a real epiphany to me. My mantra truly used to be, “Life is a struggle.” It still rolls off my tongue occasionally out of long-term habit. But really what I realized at some point through reading about and practicing mindfulness meditation is that life is just now—this moment. It is not yesterday or tomorrow, just now. It isn't even your thoughts or feelings or sensations. The struggle somehow evaporates in this realization. Now I’m not saying this is easy. There is continual work involved in maintaining this. This is a process of which I remind myself constantly. Nevertheless, I know it, and it is not something I always knew. I learned it through experiencing mindfulness. Anyone can learn it. It just takes practice.
Dr. Heather's musings about medicine, mindfulness and life.
Heather Krantz, M.D.
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