Last week the wonderful group of women from the Life's Third Act workshop met for session #3. In this one they tackled one of their Old Stories and looked at moving towards a New Story. This wasn't an exercise in Foo-Foo and Fairy Dust or in wishful thinking. Every one of these highly accomplished individuals has had some very difficult situations in their lives. And in the midst of them have pleased, pacified, made themselves 'small' and struggled to understand why. No small potatoes here. We are talking about physical, emotional, sexual abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse, invisibility, the one on which everything got blamed.
This is also a group that has spent a lot of time, energy and in many cases significant money on counselling to make their way through. As each is approaching their Third Act, there is a desire to place what they have experienced and are learning into a larger context. Now into consciously co-creating the Design of their Lives. It's comes down to meaning-making and unintended benefit finding. How has this shaped your thinking and behaving? What do you do differently now? What hasn't changed no matter what? What's important to you going forward? Not simply putting a positive face on events that are just plain wrong.
With this, the resiliency of these women shines through. Each is working on compassion, forgiveness, truth telling, risk taking, gentleness. In large part for themselves as well as for others. The other thing is, even with the benefit of time, distance and perspective, all agreed there is no way around it. Sometimes life is just hard. Here's some of their wisdom from down the road;
'Hard isn't the whole of your life.'
'The satisfaction from hard is way more than the satisfaction from easy.'
'We fight 'hard'.' (how can we deal with 'hard' differently )
'Everybody has a story.' Their version of hard.
'Get help, give help.'
Beware of the 'Just be Positive' mantra. It can keep you from acknowledging what is. Life can be hard. The bright spot from the experience of these women is one day you realize you are Okay!