There is a series of cliffs and small grottos along the Roman Coast that holds sun-drenched villas on its foundation and is draped with lush greenery. Located nearby the medieval town where I live in Italy, I’ve appreciated its beauty during the summer months and have spent lovely moments of reflection there. From antiquity through present, these incredible formations have withstood both manmade and natural impacts with the shifting of countless tides. Here is how we can also learn to approach the ebbs and flows of life with strength and ease.
1. Build a “rock solid” foundation.
After living various experiences through the beauty and brutality of life itself, a dear Italian grandmother remarked that she had to become “una roccia di una donna”. This literally translates from Italian to English as “a cliff of a woman” and signifies that she possesses great strength. Even when we are crumbling into pieces, our core is stronger than we may think and the soul is quite resilient. With each challenge, another opportunity presents itself for personal self-growth. When our emotions are on an even keel, we can rely on our deep reserve of perseverance and patience to help us navigate and handle whatever comes our way—for better or for worse.
2. Discover a way to float rather than sink.
There are many times that we may feel like we’re in too deep, drowning in confusion, and perhaps even internally shipwrecked within moments of difficulty. But by remembering that we’re going to breathe again, we can safely make it to shore by providing ourselves a sense of personal security. By regaining focus, we can rebuild ourselves piece by piece once the calm after the storm has arrived anew. The more coping skills acquired through experiential living, the easier it becomes to appreciate moments of smooth sailing while being better prepared to battle a tumultuous sea.
3. Preserve your life as your own lifeguard.
As humans, our time here on earth is forever changing, in flux, and moves in a forward motion. In the grand scheme of things, we’re here for a short time. Life is one of the most fragile yet precious gifts we have been given. It’s up to us how we “use” it. If we proactively make choices for keeping ourselves out of harm’s way—both inflicted by self and/or others, we’re taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions. The more self-love and self-respect we have for ourselves, the healthier we become in mind, body, and spirit.
4. Accept the brevity of life by maximizing each day.
There are three choices of time periods to live by: in the present (the now), in the past (which has already happened), or the future (which has yet to exist). When one chooses to remain in current reality, that’s where equilibrium and neutrality is found because everyone and everything is taken as it comes on face value. When one lives in the past, it’s a place of sadness for what could have been and what was—whether it be a beautiful or painful memory that one re-lives based upon recollection. When one lives in the future, it’s a skewed perspective based upon guesses, hypothesizes, betting, bargaining, and anxiety for what will or will not happen. Depending on where we decide to keep our headspace, life itself still happens whether we’re aware of it or not.
5. Create a safe harbor with gratitude rather than resistance.
On some level or another we all seek to find safety and shelter as it’s an essential need for our survival and the utmost comfort of both the mind and heart. Whether we’re striving to earn as much money, create a long lasting career path, marry the perfect partner, constantly monitor our children, juggle various social circles, and buy the biggest house, these “ideals” all have one thing in common—wanting maximum security through external factors. By providing internal care and nurture in the development of self-confidence and trust, we can then give and receive with ease rather than disharmony. We can accomplish, build, and grow from a place of being whole rather than compensating for what is lacking.