To cope is to resist what’s happening. To process is to embrace it and head for a new horizon.
When dealing with dramatic loss or change of any kind, our first response is naturally to cope. The overwhelming nature of powerful life transitions is simply too much for the human mind to comprehend.
But as we move through the process of coming to terms with what is happening in our life, it is important that we begin to move into the situation rather than resist it. So it is key to have an understanding of what it means to be in process.
To Cope means to struggle, especially on fairly even terms or with some degree of success; to face and deal with responsibilities or problems, especially calmly or adequately. It requires clever opposition to the urgings of life.
A Process is a systematic series of actions directed to some end; the action of going forward or on; the condition of being carried on a moving stream. It demands courage, a willingness to explore, and trust in one’s inner wisdom.
There is such a feeling of mediocrity and acquiescence about the word “cope.” It is as if in coping with the unsettling nature of events, we resign ourselves to making do only with what is adequate. We don’t get too upset. We deal with what we must in order to survive. Our motivation is to keep a low profile, preserving as much of the status quo as possible.
There is struggle involved in coping, but it’s often behind the scenes, underground in unconscious responses that are based on well-practiced defense mechanisms. For the great motivator in coping is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of abandonment. Fear of change. And fear of the pain that any of these factors might cause.
When we allow ourselves to be satisfied in merely coping with a situation rather than embracing it, we are activating the false self whose primary aim is comfort, not growth. Conversely, when we enter into process, we are engaging the part of us that is alive, resilient, and dedicated to becoming more of the true self that abides in the deepest reaches of heart and soul.
The LIGHT Process is not a mere survival tool to be pulled out when life gets rocky in an attempt to maintain some sense of equilibrium based on what went before. It is a series of steps designed to engage with life’s transitions—not as a way to just get from “here to there” with a minimum of disturbance, but as a means of growing through change. With The LIGHT Process, we embrace the opportunity for discovery and creative expression—the forces that allow and encourage us to become actualized as the best possible version of our self.
The LIGHT Process is grounded, present, heart-centered work in the trenches of self-realization. It is deep work that resolves issues in the heart rather than continuously revolving them in the head. Because people don’t really change in their heads; they change in their hearts and desires. What begins as a thought must come to fruition in action, in a new way of being in and with one’s life.
Like music, the key to life is not so much how we play the notes as how we occupy the spaces. What happens if you expand or contract them, either rushing or dragging the beat? The tune is inharmonious, disturbing. How much better if we could follow the Cosmic Conductor who sets the natural rhythm, tempo, inflection, and expression of life.
The LIGHT Process says, “Get in the flow of the music of what’s happening. Learn to rest in the ‘middle of nowhere’ that change throws us into until we are comfortable with its ambiguity—until it becomes the ‘beautiful middle of nowhere’ that is the source of creative inspiration and profound insight. Then the notes will flow with an ease of expression unknown to those who think that music is only about sound.”
What matters in The LIGHT Process is not about how we behave when things are known, regular, predictable, and steady. What makes or breaks us in life is how we function in transition. It’s the answer to the question, “How do we ‘be’ when the ground shifts and we no longer know the rules of engagement?”
We take them many times during our life in order to thrive in change, not just navigate through it. In fact, it’s a process you are probably already using on a daily basis to identify the flow of events and adjust your course of action for the most positive result.
Based on the five LIGHT questions that encourage an attitude of inquiry, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open. And in the process we discover a wellspring of strength that runs as deep as soul itself. The LIGHT Process is a way to live life to the fullest, from a point of increasing authenticity and confidence that is resilient and ultimately soul-directed.
The benefit of using five discrete steps is that you can increase personal awareness of your actions and motivations. You can become more sensitive to the tricks of those defense mechanisms that would hold you back from real growth. And you can become a master of transitions—a person who does not shrink from what is new. Instead, you embrace the rhythm of the life you are living and make the most of the creative opportunities that emerge when circumstances change the tune.
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More articles on Cheryl’s PsychologyToday blog: Living on the Razor’s Edge
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