I have recently come across the expression embracing what’s challenging from two different places, and just realised that embracing what I personally find difficult is what is needed of me too! Life is sending me into deep and clear reality…

Let me start by saying that I like the word EMBRACE. There is a warmth to it, a caring feeling in it. Embracing what’s difficult, doesn’t that mean you bring your arms around an area in your life that you find hard, that you are meeting a challenge with love?

The first time I listened to someone speak about embracing what’s difficult was while watching a documentary this summer about the rivalry between the top tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In the documentary, Federer is describing how difficult it was for him that Nadal was such a great player, he made it very hard for him to retain his world number one title. Federer goes on by explaining how it became clear to him that what he needed to do to deal with this challenge was not to be against having a rival, but embrace having a great rival. He had to embrace the fact that he had to make changes to his game in order to win. This was not what he wanted to do! However, as soon as he understood that a new perspective on his main rival and the situation was needed, he changed and his game opened up to more greatness.

The second time I heard about embracing the challenging part in one’s life was while watching a talk by the very cool spiritual leader Gabrielle Bernstein. She is all into the universe having her back and following its guidance. In her speech, she opens up about her struggle to get pregnant. She had organised everything in her life for her baby to arrive at a specific time, and then her baby didn’t come as planned. This lead to all kinds of negative thoughts about herself. It was only when she realised that she had to let go of control and embrace the fact that she was given time in her life to learn to really care for herself that things changed for her. The baby would not come before she had learned just that.

It seems that embracing what is difficult opens up for good things to happen. And notice the big role the mind plays in both examples above. We all have a mind we need to deal with, whatever our profession or interests.

The majority of us, if not all of us, have an area in our life in which we struggle. It could be about a person, a situation, an illness. And often we don’t tell anyone as it feels so very personal. It is important to realise that we cannot control what happens around us. Probably the best way to deal with what is hard in life is by changing it around, completely. I think it takes a lot of courage to do so. We have to be brave enough to take a real look at ourselves, be really honest, and be clear enough in our head to see what the situation is teaching us, instead of blaming what’s happening around us.

I like the quote about life happening for you, instead of to you. Just as your body wants you to be well, life wants you to thrive, to be happy. I believe in opening up to the challenges we experience in life. They won’t stop coming! So now, perhaps you are ready to do so too? To open your arms and choose to embrace what you find hard in your life. To be okay with seeing that what you find challenging is here to teach you something so that you can truly thrive once you meet it with love.

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.