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The calm after the storm

Life can, and does throw some hard things at us at times. But I have discovered, like so many, that there's a rhythm in the way life works.

Yes, difficult, wrenching times come to us all. But if we persist through our challenges, and trust our own unconquerable spirit, we are led, with absolute certainty, to a deeper experience of peace and well-being that perhaps would have been unimaginable to us before.

Take the time I set out on my first cruise in a small sailboat from Victoria, B.C., many years ago, for example.

I had a preview of the way this remarkable rhythm works when a strong headwind blew up and took me by surprise.

It was a scary time. Yet less than two hours later, the wind died away and I entered the safety of a beautiful cove. The water was as smooth and calm as velvet as I sailed deeper into the cove with the barest hint of a breeze. I was overwhelmed with the magic and peace of the moment.

There was no other boat in sight. There was just me, the smooth surface over which I was gliding, and the stars that were beginning to appear in the night sky.

I had never felt such peace in my whole life. I felt as if God himself had reached down to bless me, and I knew that my passion to discover the truth of life was not in vain.

There is a place of perfect peace in each one of us that nothing can harm or disturb. It is waiting for you in this very moment.

Bless you and thank you for your interest and support. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend. And if you have any thoughts you’d like to share please write.

Picture credit: by dropsixty

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine February 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I injured my back at work Thanksgiving night. My company threatened to fire me if I didn’t recover quickly enough. I was in physical pain and worry of losing my job through the holidays, then in early January my brother died unexpectedly, three weeks later my mother was diagnosed with cancer and one of my supervisors at work started harrassing me.

It was a lot to take on all at once. I struggled more with the possible loss of my job in the initial days of the threat, than I did later. I pushed myself to recover, because I could not receive a promised transfer with an injury.

Now that all has passed, I have no after thought of what just took place. When I was younger I would have been plagued with thoughts of retribution from God, that I was somehow a bad person and was being punished. But at 52, I move through it without looking for judgment and punishment as I once did. I now know that life is life and that God does love me, and works on my behalf as I grow through the challenges. Life is good!

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

Katherine, your story sure pulls at my heart. But it pulls at my heart in two ways.

I often think, as I read stories telling of the events going on in people’s lives, how incredibly painful or sad the stories are. But I am also so impressed with the remarkable strength and resilience that such stories also illustrate.

It’s hard not to be very moved by these events you describe, but what really resounded in me as I came to the end of your beautiful comment is the victorious spirit you reveal in your words. And I do so agree with you. You are loved. Truly, you are not alone. And LIFE IS GOOD, just as you say. Blessings to you Katherine. Be well, and stay strong.

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Elke February 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Timing, as so often, is everything. Thank you for this, I needed to read these words right now.

If I’ve learnt anything in life, it appears that it prepares me for the next challenge. I rarely get to deal with anything that I haven’t in some way been exposed to, usually in another form. And when I’ve gone through a tough stage I actually am far more aware of the calm thereafter and therefore can enjoy it for what it is.
Thank you!

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

There’s a lot of wisdom in your words Elke. Thank you so much for sharing what you have learned, the wisdom your own life has taught you. You’re moving with life’s flow and it’s very inspiring to share your first-hand account.

We’ll keep right on going, right? Enjoying storm (well, as much as possible anyway in the heat of the moment:-) and enjoying calm. Blessings to you and thank you again for your comment.

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sheila zarvie February 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Good day Christopher

How interesting you posting this theme… I am in the middle of reading a short novel written by M. Wylie Blanchet called ‘The Curve of Time”

It is a biography of her life as a young widow, being left with 5 children in 1927 on Vancouver Island. She decided to take her family on adventures summer after summer in the 25 foot boat that she had bought with her husband before he died. Its a lovely tale of their yearly journeys up and down the coastal waters of British Columbia.

As I continue to read this wonderful tale of an adventuresome family, I realise the strength this woman had, instead of becoming lost in grief over her husband’s death she grabbed life for what it was for herself and her children.

It may be a good coffee shop read one day for you, she brings to life all the wonders of nature they encountered, whether it was in the waters or onshore… might bring back some of those peaceful feelings you had during your sailboat days on the BC Coast, I know it has for me !!
cheers
Sheila

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

This is awesome, Sheila. Mmm. First time I’ve used this word, I think, but it fits. I just love the sound of
this book you are reading, the courage and wonderful spirit of this young widow. It also brings up a ton of memories of the West Coast.

I know it will be a great read for me whether at home or at the coffee shop, just as you say, and I’m sure others will enjoy it too. I want you to know I appreciate your comments so much, and the lively, unconquerable spirit you express in words and in your life. Blessings to you Sheila. Be well and stay strong.

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Terry Fischer February 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm

thanks for your posts. it’s like a slice of calm in the jumble pie I call my life.

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

Terry, thanks so much for your comment. I shared it with my wife. I want you to know your words mean a lot to me. They encourage me and give me new assurance that it’s all worthwhile as I pursue this strange adventure we call blogging. All the very best to you.

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Sian February 27, 2012 at 5:52 am

I loved reading this – thank you for your wisdom and for being you.

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

Hi Sian,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write. It’s a privilege to connect with you in this way and I send you a ton of blessing across the miles. It looks like you’re in UK, whereabouts do you live? (An innocent query — no need to respond if you’re busy:-)

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Sian February 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

Hey Christopher,

It’s a pleasure to speak with you – I’m accross the pond in South Wales – UK.

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Christopher Foster February 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Hi Sian, I was brought up in South London. One summer my parents and I went for a holiday in a spot called Aberdovey. Had a very nice time, except one time when I was out in a small rowboat in the middle of the strong-flowing river and nearly lost both my oars. Is Aberdovey anywhere near you?

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Sian February 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Hey Christopher,
Aberdovey is Mid Wales about 2.5 hours from us – we’re South Wales right by the City of Cardiff.
Lovely countryside here – plenty of lakes for rowing but you would need to keep your oars 🙂
Glad you enjoyed Wales – it is a beautiful place.

Sal February 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Chris,

Thank you for the encouraging words. They couldn’t have come at a better time!

I just turned 62 in December and I’m in the midst of retiring from a medical transcription job which I have been working at the VA Medical Center here in Milwaukee for almost 20 years. I had an accident this past summer (August) and broke my hip. It didn’t dampen my spirits, but it sure did change my ability to sustain stress and get around.

I find that no matter how hard I try, I tire easily now (physically speaking). The doctor said it would take a full 18 months to recover but it seems to be very slow on some days. I have had more sick days as a result, (I am also an insulin-dependent diabetic since 1980 which doesn’t help anything as my sugars are affected too). I have decided to retire earlier than I was planning and I have many fears regarding this decision.

I so hope that beautiful cove of peace is there for me! I know it won’t always be as scary as it is now. I have always worked, and since I’m a darn good medical transcriptionist I should have no trouble contracting for a private company such as MedScribe out of my home part-time. So, I’m hoping to get over the jitters of the unknown the sooner the better.

Your friend,
Sal
I’ve come to learn that I should appreciate every good day I have when I feel physically well.

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Christopher Foster February 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Thank you for sharing Sal. JoAnn and I were talking just this morning about how as we age, it seems to get harder in some ways to handle stress. And yet the paradox is that we both find a deepening experience of peace.

I’ve found there is a ‘hump’ so to speak, or a crisis point in any process, when things look a bit dark, or doubts arise. But if you trust life’s ways the darkness does lift and light does shine through. I would agree with you 100 per cent that this painful onslaught of “the unknown” will be very temporary. I think you’ll end up with a very nice situation, perhaps, as you say, working part-time out of your home. Please keep in touch, okay? A ton of blessings to you.

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Sal February 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Chris and JoAnn,

Thank you both for being there for each other and for all of us who faithfully follow your wisdom. You have been more helpful to me than you can ever know just in sharing that wisdom. I have just gotten through most of the paperwork involved in retiring, both on the VA side and the Social Security side. It hasn’t been as overwhelming as I had thought it would be.

Needless to say, this whole experience has been daunting to me, as I have always worked. Luckily for me, I live with my youngest son and his dear wife, both of whom are very good to me. I surely can go through this, as I brought my youngest up as a single mom with no support from his father, sometimes exhausted and working as many as three jobs, one full-time at the VA and at the worst of it, two on the side part-time. I managed that at one point even with health problems, so I guess I am deserving of my retirement even if it is earlier than I planned. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t live with my kids. It’s a blessing.

I am so proud of both of my sons. My eldest son Troy graduated with a Master’s in chemistry from the University of Illinois (Illini) and he’s a spectromotrist here in Wisconsin (about 90 miles away) at the age of 43. My youngest Zac, is a Marine having done two tours in the mideast, the last in Afghanistan. He’s in school working toward his EMT (medical emergency technition) and is on the waiting list for the Fire Department here in Milwaukee. He has to get the EMT because in Wisconsin you have to have that license to become a firefighter. He’s 26 and a really fine young man. I have so much to be grateful for even though I don’t always see it. I have two wonderful grandchildren also. If I didn’t live with my kids I would most likely not be able to afford to retire now, but with a good pension I should be just fine. Many many blessings to you and your wife!

I so much appreciate your love and support.
Sal

Evan Griffith February 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Christopher —

Your blog site is the calm IN the storm . . . . No matter what is going on, I always feel becalmed and blessed by immersing myself in your words.

With a grateful heart —

Evan
Evan Griffith recently posted..Yoga as a way of extending what you do: Martial arts version

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Christopher Foster February 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

The gratitude is very mutual Evan. So happy that in the midst of this whirling world we’ve found a connection. Stay strong and all the very best.

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Sandra / Always Well Within February 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Christopher,

This is such a great example of how success and adversity cycle through our life, but our underlying spirit always remains the same!
Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..The Joy of a Meaning-Less Life

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Christopher Foster February 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Thank you so much Sandra. I think this is the central truth that when we see it, and keep our focus on that “unchanging” aspect of ourselves, really does transform our lives and set us free.

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Noch Noch | be me. be natural. February 28, 2012 at 11:14 pm

it’s a bit like, after a huge migraine, and embracing the pain, there is some sort of peace in waking up, the pain is gone, and the sun is shining…
Noch Noch
Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..writing poetry again

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Christopher Foster February 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Right on Noch. The sun, that’s to say the sun of our own reality, is there before the migraine, it’s there during the migraine, and it’s there after the migraine, untouched and unhurt by any of it. So happy to be sharing this life journey with you.

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camilla dunn March 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

I appreciate your posts …
Thank you for your consistency and care
camilla

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Christopher Foster March 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Camilla, thank you so much for your kind message of encouragement. I appreciate your words immensely.

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Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being March 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Hi Christopher,
I so relate! Not in the way you’re meaning it, exactly, but it’s right where I am. I spent a long weekend first at a memorial service which ended up taking a whole day (all told), followed by a day where we scattered the ashes, another long one. Besides all the work I needed to catch up on, I felt I hadn’t had a moment of down time.

So I’m taking today off! And I get to visit some blogs (wink wink) and just enjoy the calm. I plan to meditate, touch in with myself, etc.

I normally like shorter rhythms, where I can find time for myself every day, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen!

Thanks for the post. Blessings to you!
Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..Timely Tidbits: Something Important? Begin It This Week!

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Christopher Foster March 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Thanks Patty, it’s lovely to hear from you. Good for you for taking some time off after that busy and I’m sure stressful weekend. I think it’s so important to listen to what’s happening with our body and be as kind and reasonable to our body as we possibly can. It really is our best friend in all the world, isn’t it?

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Sal March 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hi Chris,
Well I have a new one to report…The other night before I went up to sleep, I noticed an unwrapped package that was to be a birthday gift to my son’s wife Mandy’s lil’ 3-year-old niece. I decided to put off going to sleep right then and decided instead to wrap the present for Mandy (She doesn’t like doing it as much as I do).

So, I gathered from my room an old Kewpie who was gathering dust (about 6 inches tall). She was without clothes with her sweet lil’ tummy sticking out, but I thought for some reason she should have a diaper, so I grabbed an old white linen hankie from my grandma Sinden (that epic problem solved).

I then gathered some pink silk ribbon from my box of ribbons, and before I knew it I had turned out one of the better presents I’ve wrapped in the recent past. The wrapping paper was pink, ribbon pink, and the ol’ Kewpie with sweet white cotton diaper just finished it off!

You might be wondering why I bring this whole silly matter up, but after I looked at the wonderful package sitting on the couch before I did actually turn in, I felt like “I” got the present!

It is so much about the little things, the things we don’t think that much about, that really matters!
Blessings,
Sal

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Christopher Foster March 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm

What a delightful story Sal. You felt a nudge in your heart re wrapping the present and you followed your nudge and a blessing resulted. But the blessing didn’t stop with you, now others can share the story too.

Oh yes. I think it always comes down to the ‘little things’ and the ‘little moments.’ And also the ‘little nudges’ that we receive all the time really but we sometimes are too busy to notice. Good to share the journey with you Sal.

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Sal March 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Chris,
Happy today. There will never be another! Thank you for your reply. The package with the Kewpie doll worked into the bow was a huge hit. I think Mandy took pics. I can have her forward the best one to me on my phone, and I can send it on to you, so you have some idea what this rather large package looked like. I’m always so proud when I finish any “art” project. At my age, can you believe I still love to color? For real. I have all sorts of coloring books, meditative, Art Deco, stained glass windows, Angels…a whole bunch of them. I work with colored pencils and just love to bring images to life through shading techniques. Now that I’m retired (ahem) I plan on finding some old dolls to restore, some art projects, and any other thing that talks to my soul…lol!
Blessings to You Always,
Sal

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Christopher Foster February 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm

You have a valiant spirit Sal. I’m delighted, absolutely delighted, to be getting to know you and your unconquerable spirit better. So often I think to myself it is not by chance that we meet the people we meet in life. There is a gracious hand on all our lives, and its name is Love. Eternal love.

You are going to come through this major transition just fine. I’m proud of your sons too. And I haven’t even met them, or maybe I have now, right:-)?

Love to you Sal. Stay strong.

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