These days I’ve been thinking a lot about how different life was for many of my friends and me, say, five years ago. Even if we’d grown up with difficult things, most of us hadn’t yet seen our adult life be rearranged by them.
Now, when I look at my circle of women?
I see women in the trenches. One is on a plane right now to say goodbye to a dying friend. Another is fighting hard for funding for needed services for her child. Another is finalizing divorce papers. Another working hard to pay the bills for her parents. Another is trying–again–to get her sister to rehab.
Yes, there is a lot of joy and love and so many blessings in each of our lives too. But it feels like someone is whispering in my ear: Tara, what you used to think of difficult crises, extreme circumstances, are in fact, entirely ordinary parts of adulthood. This incarnation is not for the faint of heart.
If any of our hardships take us away from joy – which I’m not sure they do – I know this: they also bring us closer to love.
When I look around my circle now, I see women whose faces have been made soft by tears and tiredness and trying to change things they had to eventually realize they could not change. Because of all of that, you can see in their faces that they are ready to listen, and empathize, and love. And they do. We are far better to each other because of what we’ve all been through.
Life carves us into warriors, and life kneads us into softness.
Sending love to you today.
photo credit: Kelly Sikkema
Join the discussion 56 Comments
This message is very timely for me and so true! Thank you for being an inspiration and a voice of reason for life’s realities.
Always inspiring and I am so grateful.
Exactly what I needed to hear. I went thru breast cancer a couple years ago at a relatively young age, and I can totally relate to your words.
Great reminder that no matter how tough we think we have it, we need to be thankful for the small things as there are always others facing more than we are. We all know that inner strength comes from experiencing those tough times and getting through them. We are always able to handle more than we could ever imagine.
As I read this, I’m living at my parents’ home, 2200 miles from my own. My mother lost both her legs last year at 86 and my father is 89.
We laugh a lot – at my mom’s electric scooter crashes that tear the molding off the wall, our well-known differences of opinion, and fart jokes that have gotten even funnier with age. And we love a lot – sensing the delicate balance, the fleeting nature of what we know and the preciousness of this time that somehow we didn’t expect to have together.
I’m taken by surprise these days when people sympathize, because I’ve found that when I slow my mind to the present moment and rest in the richness it contains – that is the speed of joy.
I believe you’re right – hardships do not by necessity take us away from joy – and through the experience of opening to vulnerability, we can find a deeper capacity to love.
Meanwhile, for the 3rd time since I sat down to jot this note, my mom needs help to figure out how to send an email. 😉 And love goes on …
Thank you for the reminder that we learn from pain and that loss instructs on how to be more compassionate to others.
Good Morning Tara, Thank-You so much for the wonderful message today. I think we often times focus on the negative and forget that there is always a rainbow after a storm. I choose to be grateful for all the little and big things that happen in my life.
Thank-You again for the inspiration….
Brought a tear to my eye in the recognition of seeing my life and friends struggles as well……..I have also experienced the deeper love side of this spectrum….Thanks for putting this aspect of life into words.
Love this message–so often we think everyone else has “perfect” lives–it’s only now, in my early 50s, that I realize everyone is struggling with their own issues–and they can’t be resisted or avoided, it’s part of, as you say, “growing up” and being human.
One question: I tried to share this on Facebook and it’s coming up as “Dispatches from the Fog” Is it the same column??
whoops, sorry about that! I edited out another part at the last minute (other part coming in future blog post soon….) but if the link works, yes that’s it!
Its refreshing to hear/read words that resonate, far too often the news and world that surrounds us is heavy and disheartening. I am grateful for the inspiration and the acknowledgement that living with empathy, challenges & tribulations, successes, tears and joys…I am not alone. So thankful ox
Beautiful. Well written!
, what you used to think of difficult crises, extreme circumstances, are in fact, entirely ordinary parts of adulthood.–when I realized this, it changed my life. These things are still difficult, but I no longer feel that I’m facing an insurmountable disaster, and now I see the small things as small.
Truly beautiful wisdom. Thank you.
Moments of Joy is a wonderful little book that has relieved some of the suffering in our family as my mom shifts into the next level of Alzheimers. I got copies for everyone and on our recent family vacation I could see that understanding that it’s the moments that matter transformed our relationship with mom/gammy into laughter, warm physical touching (holding hands every chance we get), and open patience.
We are all living only moments of joy…we just forget.
With love for our journey,
Difficult times ground you, make you stronger & then more able to help others
A testament to living in the moment and feeling all of it (versus waiting to get to the next happy place). It’s all good even when it’s not.
Thanks so much Tara. Your words ring true to me today. I fell and broke my elbow 6 weeks ago and needed surgery. I am now starting rehab. It has been very challenging. I have shed many a tear through all of this. But, I also realize there is a reason why this happened. Perhaps to tell me to slow down and focus on the love in my life. I have received a tremendous outpouring of love from family and friends. We are all stronger after hardships.
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Thank you Tara.
Thank you, Tara. Your timing is impeccable.
Yes to this, Tara. Having gone through the toughest times in my life thus far over these past several years, I now see that the tough stuff has made me more empathetic, kinder, softer, slower to judge and more relatable. Giving thanks. So glad you wrote this.
Wonderful post, Tara.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how helpful it would of been to learn how to be resilient as a young person and how glad I am that Social and Emotional Learning is becoming more of a part of today’s school curriculum.
Tara, thank you. I often fantasize that you and your circle of friends have far more peaceful, problem-free lives. I look around my circle (I’m 36) of women, and we are all really struggling in some way. It breaks my heart, but I do see that–all of a sudden, I am able to empathize–to just be like, yes, I know this struggle. And be here for those people. Much love to you and yours, and thanks for writing such an honest post.
This email was so very profound for me. I don’t usually make comments and things but I just had to as all of the things you said I am living and relating to about what I used to think of difficult crises, extreme circumstances, losing my husband 3 years ago, my employment, and dwindling finances are in fact, entirely ordinary parts of adulthood. This incarnation that I’m experiencing is not for the faint of heart. Had I been any less stronger, I realize I would not be able to bear it all. It shows me I am stronger than I think.
Because of my hardships that are painful, I have not lost my joy I am still able to give and receive love. I remain diligent to rise up higher and hopeful. And I am grateful.
Love your blogs…thanks for what you do…inspiring woman!Peace and blessings!
So freakin true!!
Sums up me and my girlfriends! And they are always there to listen and be my friend.
Oh, I love this. I wrote a somewhat similar piece for tomorrow for my blog and just went in to link to this, because what you say adds so much texture and dimension to what I’m saying. As always. xox
Yes, our adult ‘trials’ give new meaning to love, to its depth and breadth – lovely post – thank you
Like you, I’m not sure our hardships take us further away from joy, and I am absolutely certain they lead us to love. Thank you for giving me permission to be a soft warrior.
Dear Tara, Thank you!
Your post is much appreciated. My mom was diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s today, her next challenge in life. I hope I can be the daughter she needs to see her through this with love.
“Even if we’d grown up with difficult things, most of us hadn’t yet seen our adult life be rearranged by them.” I like this distinction. As one who had her childhood rearranged by adult issues, I’ve had to find a lot of self compassion for myself and those that didn’t understand the rough edges that come from a lack of adults dealing with issues that allow children to know themselves. Thank God for adults prepared to live like adults, and thus allow children to be better prepared for adulthood. Reading the book, Going On Being by Epstein M.D. changed my life.
This is a brilliant soulful post!
Thank you very much, Tara.
Your post gave me sweetness and hope for the future.
Very nice and encouraging words, Tara. I am writing to you from Luxembourg, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean (sorry for my English which is far from perfect!). The experience and issues here are so similar. Your message is universal. I loved your book and I still get back to it from time to time, when I need particular strength to deal with a challenge. And there are many of them here as well. Merci beaucoup et au plaisir de vous lire à nouveau!
I am so grateful for the way you express things. This is a profound idea. I am going through the toughest time right now, my son has been in a mental health unit with suicidal compulsions due to gender identity issues. My past difficulties seem so insignificant. Instead of my self centred seeking of joy, I now want tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and love, and these all lead to joy.
I can almost not trust, or relate to those people who seem to never have a struggle in life. I have grown up with more than my fair share and I know in my heart that every experience has made me more resilient and brave. I have huge respect for people who can share their struggles, it is what makes us human.
Thank you for this encouragement. I struggle with chronic illness and other significant life challenges, and for years I resisted playing big because I thought I had to feel strong and powerful in order to do so. But I’m finally starting to see that feeling weak–sometimes broken–in an imperfect world is simply part of being human. It’s impossible to succeed, to be fully me, without embracing the hardships that strengthen and transform me and equip me to play a unique role in the world.
Spoken with grace and truth.
Tara, Thanks for putting ‘crises’ in perspective and sharing feminine wisdom with guys like me. JP
Even though I’m not even close to grown up (I’m 16 ) I can find myself in you words. When bad things happen you can feel super miserable, but you can also choose to stay possitive and count your blessing. (altough it’s also super inportant to just feel what’s inside, to heal yourself). When I was a young age, a lot a people I loved past away. It made me depressed but later a warrior. Now live is kneading me into softness. just like you said.
I’ve read your book, and I loved it. Thanks to you I have recently started my fashion and lifestyle blog. So now I can inspire others, just like you. Thank you 🙂
I felt every single breath of this. Thank you for being so open and so true. I have read your article many many times today and it will be travelling with me for a long time to come.
Your post makes me think of the poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, in which a very little girl, Margaret, cries to see the golden autumn leaves falling from the trees. The poet is touched; he recognizes the intuition beneath what other adults might find silly or amusing.
Soon enough, the time will come when falling leaves may go unnoticed; “but you will weep, and know why.”
“It is the sorrow [we] were born for
It is Mar-ga-ret’ you mourn for.”
On another note:
A warrior cannot show her vulnerability; surrounded by warriors, you or I may think only we are struggling, stumbling, failing. Then self-pity can be kneaded into oddly arrogant forms:
“Catch, catch me, if you can–
You can’t catch ME, I’m THE GINGERBREAD MAN!”
OH NO, MR. BILL!
“No one can see God and live.” If we could see ourselves–and our lives–as God may see them–or as other people, indeed, may see them–we would find it hard to go on. I think you are telling us, Tara, that as women were are then called to go on.
Hello Tara! Thank you for these words, they are true and resonate deeply within me! Thanks to you and the Playing Big course I’m starting to “playing big” even through life challenges. In spite of life challenges!
Wow! You went straight for our hearts this time! Truth.
Just a hug to you, my dear. Cause,…yeah.
Thank you, this came at the very moment I needed it most.
Thankyou for reminding me that I’m not alone in struggles – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in my current behind the scenes reality especially if I find myself comparing it to the highlights packages friends post on FB . Timely reminder to reach out amid the vulnerability for 3D hug empathy & support. Love & kindness Kate
Amen Tara! So poignant, vibraqnt, and so darned TRUE…
Thank you so much for this soft reminder.
Lisa, thank you for sharing this very inspiring piece too about your mom.
My heart is bigger now because of this post and comments.
Thank you all!
[…] Growing up from Tara Sophia […]
Tara that’s exactly what I needed to hear today. A line from one of my favourite children’s books “sometimes you have to be flat on your back in order to see the stars”
[…] “Yes, there is a lot of joy and love and so many blessings in each of our lives too. But it feels like someone is whispering in my ear: Tara, what you used to think of difficult crises, extreme circumstances, are in fact, entirely ordinary parts of adulthood. This incarnation is not for the faint of heart.” Growing up – Tara Sophia Mohr […]
“Tara, what you used to think of difficult crises, extreme circumstances, are in fact, entirely ordinary parts of adulthood.”
That is exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately. I used to think most people drifted happily through life with few problems, yet I was struggling to cope and keep up with all the things I had to do. But then I realised everyone has bad things happen in life, dark secrets and struggles.