We often talk about the rollercoaster of life, where we experience ups and downs in our day to day life. We can be encouraged to hold on and ride it out, to trust that we will come out of the pit and rise up again to the top. This can give us great hope and a sense of normality to our life struggles.
Another way of looking at life could be to think of it as a merry go round. This conjures up a very different image. Again there's a sense of movement, of change, of life not staying still. There's a sense of getting different perspectives depending where we are on the merry go round. It can also remind us of the aspects of our life which stay the same, which we repeat over and over again.
Some of the things we repeat can be learned behaviors or habits, ways of being that we have developed over time. Some of these ways might be helpful and make us who we are, help us to do the things we need to do, achieve what we hope for. Others might be more of a hindrance, blocking us from our full potential or of seeing things differently. Noticing some of these things can be the start of deciding what to keep and what to throw out; of working out what purpose they hold for us now.
Unlike the rollercoaster, the merry go round is smooth and calm. Its movements are gentle and rhythmic. This gentleness can help us to feel settled. We can feel grounded and connected to the world around us. There might not be the same energy that comes from the anticipation of the dips like we have on the roller coaster. Or the satisfaction of having survived the dip and risen again to the top. It is this rollercoaster aspect of life that provides the opportunity to be energized, to show our resilience, to test ourselves, to show that we can overcome whatever challenge is thrown at us.
Perhaps then we need a combination of both rides in our lives. There may be times when we are looking for the excitement and energy that comes from the rollercoaster. There may be times when the rollercoaster happens without us choosing it and we feel like all we can do is hold on.
Then there may be times when we need the gentleness of the merry go round. Getting the balance right between time spent on the rollercoaster and time on the merry go round might be what helps us to feel satisfied, to have a sense of meaning and purpose in our life.
Too much rollercoaster time can be stressful and leave us feeling exhausted. On the other hand, too much merry go round time might leave us feeling that life is passing us by. That we are not doing anything very exciting or challenging. There might be times when we really need the gentleness of the merry go round to recover and settle ourselves. Knowing when and how to get on and off each ride might be the key to a satisfying life.