How Do We Move Forward When Life Is Pushing Us Back? is a question I’ve asked myself over and over during my lifetime — although in many different ways and for many different reasons. There were times in grade school when I had to keep on showing up even though I felt like I didn’t fit in or couldn’t keep up. There were painful relationship break-ups in my teen years and twenties. And then, the biggest hurdle of my life … struggling with chronic Lyme disease for a decade, and having to find a way to overcome it when nothing was working to fix me.
But something I’ve learned about moving forward when life is pushing us back, is that life isn’t actually pushing us back — it’s usually slingshotting us forward. We sometimes need to retract to grow forward. And if you’re anything like me, the only way you’ll evolve and grow is by feeling like you’re losing your grip on everything you know and trust. That’s what my health crisis was for me in the end — the ultimate opportunity to move beyond illness and struggle, and persevere.
Advice on moving forward from a millennial (Me) and a midlifer
My own experience taught me a lot, but there’s so much we can learn about moving forward from each other, too. That’s why I’m thrilled to be paired up with Laura Munson, founder of Haven Writing Retreats and author of This Is Not The Story You Think It is, for the Bridge the Gap campaign by Fierce Fifty Revolution — a project that is bridging the gap between millennials and mid-lifers.
Laura is a badass. She’s smart. She’s hilarious. She’s talented. And she’s helping authors move forward through writing what’s in their hearts waiting to be written. I knew I was going to love Laura from the moment I started reading her book, which had me thinking the thing I always do when reading writing that transforms others: “Omg, I can’t believe she’s writing/sharing/telling this to strangers.” Laura is brutally and beautifully honest, baring it all when her life becomes an experiment about maintaining her own inner peace and happiness while the family life she knows seems to crumble around her.
Four powerful questions about moving forward
Laura and I, being from different generations, decided to ask each other four powerful questions about moving forward, which not only will help bridge the gap between millennials and midlifers, but also human beings. Because right now, more than ever, that’s important too.
I think moving forward is always good. But were there any times in your life you pushed forward or through and wished maybe you hadn’t tried so hard?
Laura: All my life I have pushed forward and hard. I have been ambitious to a fault, perhaps, but I wouldn’t take any of it back. That’s why I live in Montana and ride horses and write things for my eyes only. They help me to go slowly and to trust that there really isn’t any finish line. Funny how when I let go of “success”…that’s when I gained it, at least by society’s standards. But I have learned that the only success is in the process. That’s the only thing you can control. And that’s good news.
Do you have a mantra for your life that helps you get through when everything sucks?
Laura: I am shedding old patterns and moving forward in my life. I am shedding old patterns and moving forward in my life. I am shedding… Sometimes it even works!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to try to move forward after? Do you think you’re past it now?
Laura: The break up of my family of four. Even though I knew it was time to move on from my marriage, I still struggle with not having the life that I promised these kids and the security we had when we were four people strong. But when we were in the Netherlands for Christmas and New Years last year, splurging on a five star chateaux with people who looked like they were out of Town and Country magazine, distinguished hounds and all, all paid for in full prior, thanks to extra writing projects I took on…and we were all sipping a glass of champagne and basking in the glow of our happy family of three…I thought: We made it. I made it. We’re okay. We’re better than okay. We’re fantastic—a united front of three. Powerful and in love with each other and our life, wherever we are, as long as we’re together. And I sighed the deepest sigh of my life.
What’s the one thing you think is most important to teach your kids about moving forward when they are having a hard time?
Laura: Don’t wait for your life to fall apart before you know what your passions are. Create, develop, and fasten your heart and mind to your passions all along the way and they will carry you through the toughest times. Writing helps!
Head over to Laura’s blog to see my answers to four more powerful questions.
About Laura Munson
Laura Munson is the author of the New York Times and international bestselling memoir This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn/Putnam 2010) which Book of the Month Club named one of the best books of the year. It has been published in nine countries and has been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, Redbook, Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and many other newspapers, magazines, and online venues across the globe.
Laura is the founder of the acclaimed Haven Writing Retreats and speaks and teaches on the subject of empowerment through creativity at conventions, universities and schools, artist retreat centers, and wellness centers.
Her work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, O. Magazine, The Week, Huffington Post, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, More Magazine, The Sun, The Shambhala Sun, Big Sky Journal and others. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, WGN, many NPR stations, Hay House radio, as well as other media including London’s This Morning and Australia’s Sunrise. She lives in Montana with her family.by