I noticed that when I'm going through difficult times, I learn and grow a lot more than when I'm going through easy breezy periods. Whereas when I'm going through relatively comfortable times, I am so much more productive and I feel so much more creative. It's like my creative juices finally has room to flow.
So I appreciate both hard periods and easy periods of my life as one can't exist without the other.
When I'm going through a difficult time, I look at it as a growing opportunity.
At the time, it can be very intense, you may experience emotional distress, and be mentally stressed. Growing isn't always easy. It takes a lot of energy (probably why babies sleep so much). When I'm in this "growing" period, often I feel like I have NOTHING to give, and that stressed me out even more.
But I learned that it is OK to have nothing to give. It's time to focus on yourself, focus inwards. It is the period of quietness on the outside, while a lot is happening inside: turmoil, yet amazing growth is taking place within yourself.
On the other hand, when I'm going through a relatively easy time, I take it as an opportunity for my creativity to take place, and be highly productive. It is a period of outwardly creation. After you've gone through a difficult period, you've done much work within yourself, grew and learned quietly, now it is time to get out, create, be productive, and contribute!
I want to talk about the term Sattva.
Sattva is used in yoga to describe a balanced state.
Not too cold, not too hot. Not too happy, not too sad. Not too busy, not too lazy.
Being in the middle. The 3rd state.
You may be wondering - isn't being happy a good thing?
Why would someone pursue to be "Sattvic" rather than too happy?
In yoga, there's no good or bad.
In yoga, being happy isn't necessarily "good" - as being sad isn't necessarily "bad".
Leaning too much toward one condition, any condition, takes energy.
When you're going from happy to sad, or the other way around, it take energy to swing back and forth of these two realms of emotions.
In yoga, we try to come to the middle, come to the balanced state, come to Sattva,
and we can explore happiness or sadness as needed or desired, but in a controlled manner.
I know.. it's difficult to comprehend.
But there is definitely a difference between mindfully experiencing happiness because you want to, and mindlessly being led to happiness by external factors.
One is controlled and the other is uncontrolled.
One is active and the other is reactive.
One comes from within and the other is an external impact.
One is controlled by you and the other controls you.
One, you have the power over situations, and the other, situations have the power over you.
One can be brought back by you any time you want, while the other is brought back only in the presence of the external factor, therefore you have no say in it.
One is affected by you and the other one affects you.
So being in that 'Sattvic condition', the 'middle condition', or 'being in balance' is very important. Only when you're in the middle, when you're balanced, when you're sattvic, can you pull yourself out of the situation, and look at it from a 3rd person's point of view, without getting your emotions involved.
(regarding giving no importance to your emotions, take a look HERE)
When you're Sattvic, you don't only look at the situation more rationally, but also you can control where you distribute your energy. So much room will be freed from emotions, thoughts and judgments that you create within yourself, that you can fill it up with other things such as creativity and productivity.
That's why it is much easier for me to be creative and productive when I'm going through a fairly easier, therefore sattvic time.
When I'm going through a difficult time, I'm too busy inside dealing with my emotions, growing, learning, thinking, evaluating and re-evaulating. It is almost impossible for me to create room for outwardly progress, although I may be progressing inwardly.
Weather it is outwardly growth that happens when you're quiet and sattvic inside,
or internal growth that happens when you're not so sattvic but going through a hard time, both are necessary - neither one of them are necessarily good or bad. It is what you make it to be, and what you get out of it!
With the practice of yoga, I'm trying to achieve Sattva even in difficult times. So that I can be more rational, look at the situation as it is without getting emotions, thoughts and judgments involved. I think that helps me get out of the mindset of "everything-is-going-down" much quicker.
Then, maybe, one day I'll realize that even seemingly difficult times are not even actually "difficult" and that it was only my perspective.