8 Ways We Can Navigate Hard Things

I Miss the Bullet and He Gets Three: 8 Ways We Can Navigate Hard Things

They’re in His Eyes
“They’re in his eyes,” the ophthalmologist says as she examines my son’s eyes.
“They’re what?” I ask.
“He has tumours in his eyes.” she says

I’d just finished telling the doctor that my mom had been blind in one eye from the medical condition that she and I share with my son. But I didn’t think he’d get eye tumours.

Until now.

The first thing that goes through my mind is, oh god, why not me?

The genetic disorder that three generations of my family share means we are missing a tumour suppressor gene. We are at high risk to grow tumours in 10 places in our bodies. Some are cancerous, and some benign. All can cause serious issues. The life expectancy for women is 49 with this condition.

So far, my son and I both have brain tumours; I have spinal tumours. My eyes were checked just before him, and I was fine.

Why not me?

I am his mom. I’m sitting with my pupils dilated, and I miss the bullet, and he gets three: one tumour in one eye and two in the other.

How do we navigate through these tough times without being bowled over?

Watch Love at Lunch to learn the 8 ways we can navigate hard things.


Surprisingly, I experience the most exquisite joy spots because life, even the hard parts, are so rich in meaning and gifts that I am most often in awe of the goodness I’ve been given.

My son is now in his fourth-year of treating these tumours every six weeks at first and now every four months.

I continue to hope that we can navigate this with the grace, trust and wisdom that always accompanies us. I always try to remember that I will always have what I need when I need it.

There’s nothing that solves every problem, and there are tragedies that hit us which are beyond devastating but using techniques that bolster our resilience can help soften some harsh experiences. It can make us better, not bitter, so more joy can sneak in.
8 Ways We Can Navigate Hard ThingsThat joy can light a dark path.

Remarkably the hard parts of life are so rich in meaning and gifts. You don’t want to miss out on them. They don’t take away the grit, but they make the grit easier to handle.

Consider answering the following questions to boost your resilience and feel some grace seep in.


Answer the questions from the gut, no editing and keep writing until you feel “done.”

Do this exercise frequently if you are experiencing challenging circumstances.

1. First of all, feel the feels, all of them.

What are you feeling?

What do those emotions tell you? Do they bring up thoughts?

Try to notice the emotions as if they are outside of you. Don’t judge them.

2. Tell someone how you feel.

Who are those people you trust? One or two people are plenty.

Reach out to them and tell them how you’re struggling.

3. Stay in the moment.

Live where your feet are. Don’t future surf and worry about what could happen.

4. Tell yourself the truth

What am I telling myself about the situation?

What’s the factual truth?

5. Try to find one thing to be grateful for.

There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for: being on time, having a car, being able to breathe-find something.

What am I grateful for?

6. Don’t fight it.

I’m not saying accept it, just try to be with it, for now.

What am I fighting?

What am I willing to let go of?

7. Decide what you can control and let go of the rest.

Make a list of what you can control and how you will use that to your advantage. For the things you can’t control, think of a saying, a statement that helps you in those “stuck times.”

What can I control?

8. Learn.

There are always things to learn and integrate, even in the hardest of times. This is where wisdom comes from. Lean in and learn.

What are you learning about yourself? Your life? Others?


Beloveds, life is a messy and mucky journey, and there is always a way through. Always. May you know that you are not alone, and I am navigating this alongside you.



Leona xoxoxoxoxoxo


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