Simple (not easy) Practice: Rewriting Challenge
Today’s Simple (not easy) Practice is taken from the “Challenge Audit” in Part III: Challenge of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Self-Study Guide for Wellness. Challenge is at the heart of knowing who you are which is one reason why it is smack dab in the middle of the book. Challenge is at the heart, the crux, of self-study for self-realization!
In the “Challenge Audit,” I encourage you to slow down, to stop and reflect in writing about your challenges. (Writing is a powerful therapeutic tool!) Most people are too busy or too afraid to stop and take stock. But, if people are in enough pain or their lives are unsatisfactory enough or completely falling apart in various ways, they may finally be more willing to slow down enough or stop long enough to take stock of the landscape (i.e. look at what the hell is going on) of their life and the things that are causing such pain and dissatisfaction. Those things may be external, internal, or both, and it takes honesty and study to discern the truth.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom to start paying attention to your challenges–– you can practice surveying the landscape of your life regularly, as a habit built into your moments of your days, through practices like this one, journaling, meditation , yoga or however else you can be quiet, introspective, and breathe easy. Introspection and reflection are always available as tools for wellness, but for many they, too, are challenges. Sometimes when we are searching frantically for answers or to calm down, we miss the solution, literally, right under our nose.
There are several writing prompts listed in the “Challenge Audit,” but here’s a few for today’s Simple (not easy) Practice:
“Specify and categorize your challenges using the List of Common Human Challenges categories. Merely listing or writing about them (however poorly) may be a step forward in facing them, understanding them more clearly by using specific language to define them, and creating a plan to cope with them.”
“Can you define your challenges as problems to suffer with or as opportunities to define yourself and grow–– to become more alive? In other words, what’s your mindset when it comes to your challenges?”
“Can you rewrite one or some of your challenges as opportunities for learning?”
(This is playing with the very notion of challenge, how you perceive and define it, how you relate to it, feel about it, and behave toward it.)
Try writing about how a/some/all of your challenges contribute to your personal wholeness (i.e. the ‘whole of you’ as a human person).
Notice the way you look at things….
Notice the language you use when writing about challenge…
There’s no wrong way to answer these prompts or to write about them or to think about them. They are meant to get you to pay attention to yourself, reflect on the notion of challenge and your personal challenges, and to notice and learn, a little bit at a time. The more you learn about your challenges and the role they play in how you construct your world (inner– how you see and relate to yourself, and outer–they way you see and relate to “what happens” out there), the more wisdom you’ll acquire for your wellness.
Rather than relating to this as a task to accomplish or as finding the answer to your challenges or to making pain disappear, try to relate to it as a process. Focus less on outcomes and more on experiencing the process of learning.