Brody's graduation :-)
Well, you can see by the look on Brody's face that he found the whole "graduation" thing a challenge! He has been "in school" for close to 5 months with holidays and spring break (lol), but he did pass his AKC Canine Good Citizen test last week. It was a bit of a challenge for him to stay at the end of a 20-foot leash while I walked away, but he did a great job with that and the other 9 pieces of the test. It is a bigger challenge for him to do what I ask when it's something he reallllly doesn't want to do - like get off the chair where we sit together so I can straighten his blanket! And it's a challenge for me to lift him since he now weighs nearly 75#... Our next challenge will be to see if he enjoys therapy work. Our goal is to visit a local hospice or nursing home once a week. It will be up to Brody whether or not we continue to do it after a few test runs. If it is too much of a challenge and it stresses him too much, we will discontinue the project. He's been through too much to stress him out intentionally.
Brody is facing somewhat minor challenges, of course. But we all face more major challenges from time to time, don't we? Sometimes it's health-related, as with my husband right now. For the past month, he has been unable to open his mouth far enough to eat. HUGE challenge in keeping his weight up, keeping enough nutrition in him, keeping his energy level up, keeping his temper because of the stress...and keeping my patience, I hate to admit.
I have a couple of friends who are facing significant health challenges, too, both related to that dreaded "c" word - cancer. Every day is a challenge to stay positive, to try not to get consumed with what the future might hold.
Sometimes our challenges are relationship-based...whether that's with a significant other, a sibling, a co-worker, an elderly parent, a friend...dealing with other humans can present unique challenges to say the least.
Sometimes the challenge is with finances. Those kinds of challenges can appear overnight with car repairs, household maintenance, helping someone else, medical bills...the list could go on and on.
And sometimes the challenge involves our work - or for some of you, lack thereof. I have friends who are searching for work at an age when they should be planning retirement. Jobs for those of us over a "certain age" can be a challenge. Learning a new job can be a challenge. Finding work that we enjoy can be a challenge. Finding a job that pays enough to allow us to eat can be a challenge. Finding enough work when we are self-employed can be a challenge.
For me, it's apparently a challenge to keep up with my blog - even though it's something I love. I feel an obligation to stay ahead of my workshop schedule, help my husband, pay bills, shop for groceries, do the laundry...you know, all that "fun stuff"! So the blog doesn't always get the attention I would like to give it. But I can't beat myself up over it. I have to prioritize so as not to cause myself additional anxiety over what I left undone.
Obviously, what I'm getting at here is that there seems to be no shortage of challenges for most of us. But truly, how we respond often determines whether or not the challenge gets more daunting or we learn to handle it with the least amount of stress. If we focus only on the negative aspects of a challenge, we can pretty well bet that negativity will continue to hound us. If we at least TRY to find the positives, for those brief moments when we are in the "positive zone," things will be easier to handle - and those brief moments might stretch out to not-so-brief moments of being in that zone.
The ultimate challenge, of course, is how do we stay in the positive zone more??
What do you think? How do YOU stay in the positive zone when faced with significant challenges?
Let me know - I love to hear from you!