When the Going Gets Tough...

Monday, April 20, 2015 - 6:31am

When the Going Gets Tough...

When the going gets tough may I resist my first impulse to wade in, fix, explain, resolve, and restore. May I sit down instead.

When the going gets tough may I be quiet. May I steep for a while in stillness.

When the going gets tough may I have faith that things are unfolding as they are meant to. May I remember that my life is what it is, not what I ask for. May I find the strength to bear it, the grace to accept it, the faith to embrace it.

When the going gets tough may I practice with what I’m given, rather than wish for something else. When the going gets tough may I assume nothing. May I not take it personally. May I opt for trust over doubt, compassion over suspicion, vulnerability over vengeance.

When the going gets tough may I open my heart before I open my mouth.

When the going gets tough may I be the first to apologize. May I leave it at that. May I bend with all my being toward forgiveness.

When the going gets tough may I look for a door to step through rather than a wall to hide behind.

When the going gets tough may I turn my gaze up to the sky above my head, rather than down to the mess at my feet. May I count my blessings.

When the going gets tough may I pause, reach out a hand, and make the way easier for someone else. When the going gets tough may I remember that I’m not alone. May I be kind.

When the going gets tough may I choose love over fear. Every time.


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Katrina Kenison

has explored the seasons of a woman’s life in three memoirs, most recently Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment. She celebrates the gift of ordinary days at her blog www.katrinakenison.com.

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Amen & Thanks for that

Oh my this is just what I needed this morning...thank you. I have been embroiled in what I often refer to as "1st world problems," but lately that notion has been about as effective as my mother chiding me to "remember the starving children in China." Thank you for reminding me that my problems are my present...not something to be fought, fixed, or avoided. They are meant to be lived. Your post was an answer to a prayer & a reminder of what we all deeply know.

Thanks Cathy. I feel I need this reminder myself, all the time. And yes, it's ALL meant to be lived.

Such a beautiful reminder to reflect and accept all that has been given before taking the responsibility of action to change things. I'm so grateful for this. I'm going to keep these words near by!

Thank you Samantha. That pause before action: it's a precious moment, all too easy to miss it.

Beautiful. ..thank you.

I thank the heavens that this found me.

Thank you Paul. I always love it when words find their way to the right place at the right time!

This magically appeared at the right place & time. Always better to reach out with love then to cower in angst. Thank you, Katrina Kenison.

For you to have and read

Thank you for reminding me how to start every new day!

Mary, I too like to start my day with a few words of inspiration. Honored that these will be yours!

Utterly perfect timing. I'll keep this close in the next days. Thank you. With metta.

Thank you Katharine. The right words at the right time can feel like a hand at my back. Glad these offer that support to you now.

As an aging woman living with my adult son who has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia -- and now a host of other serious health problems he can neither understand nor is willing to treat -- I live in fear of my limitations and sorrow that I can't do more to help him. For me, the going is tough every minute of every day. Having been abandoned by everyone else, we live together so that I can do what I can to keep him housed and safe. My impulse is to fix and restore; yet I'm unable to do that for him. The consequent isolation, anxiety, and very real fear consumes me. I feel that I've chosen love for him first, but the fear has not diminished. What will happen to him when I die? Should he become dangerously ill, do I respect his wishes not to see a doctor and watch him go through more trauma than anyone deserves? This meditation is beautiful and feels "right," but I find my faith being tested to its limit. This has been a 20-year journey, and my sorrow for this kind and loving child of mine seems bottomless.

Nancy, your pain sounds intense. Have you tried to reach out and talk about it with someone who cares? Just having someone to listen is so important. Know that there are loving and caring people in this world.

Nancy, as you do so much for your son, I hope you are getting some tender care and support as well. No one can be a caregiver without also being a care receiver, and my wish for you and your son, both, is a little less isolation and a little more connection. I believe it's out there, but asking for help can be hard. Still, may you summon all your courage to do so. "When times are tough, may I hold out my hand and ask for what I need." That needs to another line in this prayer. Thank you for your words; I admire your strength.

Dear Nancy, This sounds terribly hard. I hope your son knows somewhere inside him how very loved he is.
I just wanted you to know I hear you and feel for you.

Please contact your National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) Agency in your area. They will be able to help you. I have mental health issues in my family and I found help through NAMI in 1990. I now teach a Family to Family course as a volunteer to give back to them for the peace of mind and balance that I have in my life now. I must add that my faith kept me strong!

This is useful.

My husband was diagnosed at age 36 with stage 4 colon cancer and we were informed that he had 2-4 months to live. That was 3 years and 3 months ago. Together, with our 3 children, extended family, and supportive community, he celebrated his 40th birthday last week.
Your last sentence is the survival technique of ours. It was imprinted in my soul and it is THE only way I know how to get through the tough... letting love guide us, has proven to not only pave the way, it has been our battle cry, and with love, their is infinite victory.
Thank you for sharing your words.

Thank you for sharing your story, Kristi. Love over fear: so simple, and also the challenge of a lifetime. You are inspiration.

Not stepping in to fix things will be the hardest part for me

Hard for me, too! But we can practice together. . .

May I join you there. Thank you.

Am so glad I found you today. I am old, in lots of pain, and sometimes forget
That I believe all you said. I even have a blog that I had hoped would help people who are broken. That would at least make my problems have some value. Unfortunately, no one knows about the blog. Maybe you could look and see if itis worth anything,it is Wisdom with a dash of Whimsey @ Wordpress.net or maybe .com

In pain, it's easy to forget what we know. Writing always helps, I find, and words can heal. So, I offer this thought: the value in our work isn't about how many people we reach, but rather about digging deep, writing to find out how we feel, what we need, what's really true. There is beauty in the work itself.

My deepest and most sincere gratitude for this timely and beautiful reminder. My heart is open.

Thank you, Annie. An open heart is a beautiful thing in this world.

Need to hear this every day.. thank you.

How beautiful this is to read as I sit alone with my daughter at work and my grandchildren at pre-school -- and wait for a diagnosis of a very serious illness of my son-in-law. I will read this over and over today, hoping deeply that I can banish fear and offer only love if my daughter comes barreling through this door with terrifying news. I ask that all who read this hold my daughter and her family close today and in the coming days with healing thoughts and love.

Gail, Sending blessings and prayers to you and your family -- may you all find the courage to manage what ever news you hear today, and may love continue to banish fear as you move forward on this challenging journey.

Hi Gail, I am thinking of you and knowing that your son-in-law's life is intact, safely part of Life itself. May a walk in the woods, the sight of a beautiful horse, a game of cards with your grandchildren, or another favorite pastime bring you peace as you deal with whatever picture the doctors paint. Love to you all. Bonnie

When the going gets tough may I reflect on the many extraordinary hearts I meet on this journey, each breathing the hope for another exquisite moment. Thank you for desiring these pauses to be your Truth...thank you for giving them to us.

Thank you Patricia. I think of this site as a special place indeed, an online spiritual retreat center. We are in good company indeed!

Thank you for this beautiful reflection. I really needed to hear this today. I sometimes tend to focus only on what is tough for me and forget about what others are going through. I want to always be kind and empathetic to others and realize that by Grace we are all still here in this beautiful world. At the end of the day it is always a blessing to still be standing even if at times we are fearful!

Perfectly said, Glenda! Thank you.

needed this beautiful reminder today!

when the time is tougher for others, may I remember, especially to be kind and offer compassion.

Confront this challenge, too, Kathryn -- as we step into another's shoes, we practice empathy. I think there may be no higher calling!

perfect. thank you.

So beautifully said, friend.

From one Katrina to another, thank you. Glad to share this journey of compassion with so many like-minded souls.

Katrina's celebration of the gift of ordinary days vividly comes to life in this remarkable post. Thank you!

Thank you, Mike. I wrote this at a dark moment, as a call for help, really -- and of course the support I sought was right there. And that, too, is cause for celebration.

Perfectly stated, but so hard to do. May I remember these when I need them. Great words to live by!!!

I agree, Jane! These words have proven to be both a comfort and a challenge to me as well. But all we can do is practice, and keep on practicing!

That was very comforting on a gloomy, rainy, NY day!

Cold and rainy here, too. But the warmth of this community has brightened my day. We are all in this together -- and we're in good company here!


i want to frame this!

Anne, You aren't alone! I got enough similar requests today that I'm looking into having a print made. Watch my website; when I get it done, I'll most certainly let folks know it's available.

I will probably need several prints as it's the perfect gift for those struggling and for those supporting them.

your words reflect what i have been feeling and said si beautifully. Thank you

thank you so much. This really helps me accept the journey with my mother and dementia.

Yours is a challenging journey indeed. May you get all the support you need as you give so much to your mom. Blessings.

Beautiful piece. And for some of us (like me!), I might only add "and may I forgive myself and then begin again when I feel I've fallen short..."

Oh yes, we definitely must add this line!

What a lovely reflection, capturing the very responses to stress and frustraion I struggle with, especially trying to stay concerned and connected to others who by right, I might blame or rage against. A very compassion focused prayer. Thank you.

Thank you Dianne. I think we all struggle, daily, to be the compassionate people we aspire to be. So, we can remind each other. . .

Boy did I need this.

Thank you...until this moment I've been struggling with how to manage what seems like a constant flow of bad news. After reading this just once I feel a sense of peace and calm that I've not felt for a few weeks. THANK YOU!!

I'm always amazed at the power of words; the right ones at the right time can change the tenor of a day. So glad these were the right ones for you at this moment.


Absolutely what I needed today, as I have been thrown a 'curve-ball' in my life that has shattered my faith in family...I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I so understand the nature of those "curve balls" -- such an apt description. Very glad you found your way here today and found the nourishment you needed.

What inspiring and poetic reminders! As someone who is trying to commit to a more Zen-inspired life, I was so moved by this post that I plan to print these out and put them somewhere I'll see them as inspirational reminders. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. Dan

Thanks Dan. I also return often to the words that help keep me on track. Having written these as a reminder to myself, it's so gratifying to see them rippling out into the world and connecting with others, too.

Truth and Grace. A keeper.

Katrina...the right words at the right time. I am printing it out and sharing with both of my parents as they struggle thru a difficult time in life.
As always, thank you.

This will be a beautiful reflection for me to use in the guided meditation portion of the yoga classes I teach. Thank you!

"Often thought, but ne'er so well expressed" Nearly 50 years ago I was told much of this. Reading it now is like finding a diamond, finding a perspective that now serves a greater sustaining and enriching force for living.

That was just what i needed this morning. Thank you.

Thank you. As the saying goes "serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm." Thank you again for always helping me find that peace.

Katrina, Thank you so much for such meaningful reflections I needed them , as a yoga teacher , I always tell my students to include gratitude for everything they have into the intention for their practice , and time and again I remind them that forgiveness is for us , and that only love and understanding will sustain us and to not fear change because it is the only permanent thing in life.Blessings for your precious words.

Thank you so much for this beautiful prayer. It's so good that I'm going to share it with others, including our fellowship group.

I pray that I can follow this wisdom- so profound, it should be a prayer to memorize!

Perfect! Breathe in, breath out, repeat! I particularly resonate with the line that starts, "May I opt for trust over doubt..."


Well said, beautiful!

Inspiring...as a practising Buddhist I can relate to it all...full of courage and conviction.

I first read this meditation when it arrived in my inbox in February. (I subscribe to your newsletter). So powerful, true and timely. I'm thrilled to find it again here on this site. I do not think I could read these words too often. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and gift, Katrina.

Cathy, thanks for forwarding this to me. I have had these same thoughts for the last few years. I always think of all the good I've experienced over the years, and plan on keeping a positive picture of what's to come in the future.

Dear Katrina, thank-you for your stunning poem, it is like a soothing balm to my soul!

Wow! Thanks so much.


The article "When The Going Gets Tough" helps me through these difficult days.

This hit me as so spot on at present in my life.

I hope you don't mind that I reposted the link to this article on my LinkedIn feed. It resonated so much as I'm facing an unexpected job search at 50 years of age and have always been super confident. This change as forced me into uncharted territory, full of uncertainty and lots of "tough going". Thanks so much!

Am blessed am breathing right now to read your awakening. It's uplifting.

The first sentence grab my attention - these are thoughts I need to plant in my mind. Thank you!!

Thanks for the motivation to consider this.

May I add one?

When the going gets tough and needs my response right now - and there's absolutely no time to sit, steep, pause or consider - may I respond immediately with practice-ingrained wisdom, kindness, empathy and effectiveness.

What a gift this is! It is a reflection that offers so so so much. For me it is the first two sentences that catch my attention. That is because I have had first experience with the invitation to sit and be still. There was a time that is all I could. While it felt natural to want to push on, push through, fix etc,the energy just wasn't there...and I am glad it wasn't because in the process I learned the value of being still, quiet. There is so much support within that space, if we allow it! My art practice enhanced my knowing that turning to stillness is a gesture of self-care I can count on in times of need. I am grateful to Katrina Kenison and On Being for bringing this up again for me. It allows me to pause and reflect on the treasures I have come to know and appreciate in hard times. I can definitely say that my art practice has been and is there for me as a tool for living! Being still and present is part of my creative process and, it is something I am getting ready to share in the form of workshops. An invitation to practicing the art of living, tools in hand, heart open!

A beautiful passage for contemplation this week, next month, and as needed. Awareness can be so evident yet so elusive to grasp. Thank you.

Wonderful, powerful and so timely. Thank you.

About 20 minutes ago I awoke with panic because of some on going and growing stresses of my job. I felt such intense desparation that I audibly asked God to help me see a way out of my stressful situation at work, and then I opened up On Being here and your words landed on me like a cozy blanket, so comforting. i breathe deeply and slowly...and observe the emotions pass through me as I choose love over fear. Thank you!

Thank you. Words to hold onto like reaching out for the hem of his garment. Weighting options of literal stay afraid and be living with cancer or removing my left eye and eliminating vision and gaining peace? Is this possible??


I love every word here but my favorite part was turning my head to the sky above not the mess at my feet. I need to remember that when e times are hard. Beautifully expressed!

Each sentence has so much to say and is so meaningful. Thank you so much for sharing. God's peace and safe travels home.

beautiful. Thank you

Thank you...
for reminding me of the spiritual principles of acceptance, trust and gratitude...

I can relate. I wrote a poem when my dad died a year ago that resonates well with this. I don't know if it's ok to share a link but I'll try here: My friend told me to check out this blog because it resonates so well... I'd love to collaborate or contribute.

This was awesome and uplifting.

Beautiful, the reminder I need today and every day. Thank You.

Good stuff. I had a fear-attack this morning, and felt less than a man. Thus, self-incrimination followed my fear compounding on what should have been a beautiful spring morning. Thank you.

Katrina- thank you for such a wise and powerful piece. There is a comfort in the pace and structure of your words, like an undercurrent that pulls you forward in some metered time, yet just at the right speed, with pause and measure to reflect. A thoughtful, prayerful journey that is comforting and also calls your spirit to take action in a humble way. As with many who have commented - the timing is meaningful to us- maybe because it is really timeless what you are saying. Many thanks for sharing

Thank you Katrina. This is a life line found by chance at just the right moment and therefore a miracle. I hope to share it widely, so that each one of us at the edge of despair, takes a step back, to recover. Bless you.

Nice Write Up, appreciate you effort

this is very touching and exactly the right words I need to hear when I am facing my tough times

The biggest love.

Wonderful! How can I embroider this in my heart?

Thank you for this eloquent reminder that life does get rough and we can handle those times with quiet strength.

Yes. So much yes!

Reading and re-reading. In fact, I'll just keep this page open for a few days. Thank you.

This is beautiful!

so beautiful, a gentle reminder for me

Thought for the day .

Katrina, this is just beautiful. I particularly love this. "May I resist my first impulse to wade in, fix, explain, resolve, and restore." It's something I've had to learn again and again (and perhaps I'm not finished). I just had a conversation with a friend yesterday about this. She lives with a neurological disorder. She is also undergoing chemo for a recent diagnosis of breast cancer and a resulting mastectomy. Many want to fix it for her. This seems our natural impulse. We talked about the immense value of sitting with, of making space for, of not following our other natural impulse to share our own experience or to try to fix what's happening. It's something we have to learn, and I think something we should begin teaching our children so the next generation can have a different natural impulse. May I heal through my presence of caring and empathy and love, and may I resist the impulse to wade in, fix, resolve and restore. Wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing.

Beautiful, Thanks a lot, I will spread this translating it to spanish and sharing it with my patients and friends....

I could read this every morning. I will read it often.

This idea of being still in difficult/confusing situations has been popping up lately for me in several recent studies and books I've read. God uses EVERY circumstance we find ourselves in to teach us, refine us, love us, uphold us and protect us. We must take time in the midst of these circumstances to acknowledge, abide, trust and obey God's demonstrations of His unconditional, ever-present grace and love. This past year for me has been learning to love myself as God loves me. This coming year will be about learning to be still - something that is very difficult for me.

thank you so much for this.

I am so glad this post found its way to me. I will be quoting and giving attribution to you Katrina Kenison.

SO beautiful. words this world needs infused as deeply and indelibly as possible. thank you, katrina.

love this..what a wonderful reminder to BE LOVE especially when you want LOVE

Some things just have to come along at the right time for them to resonate. It is likely that 6 months ago, I would have skimmed this and said "that's nice" and then been about my busy day. Now the situation is a bit different for me and these words are such a comfort. Yes, things are now tough. I will print this and read it daily with my devotion. Thank You!

Thank you for this important reminder, now more than ever, as we head into 2017. May we always choose love over fear.