Don’t Look Back, Look Forward: 5 Action Steps for 2012

War Horse (Dreamworks, 2011)

I saw the movie War Horse (2011), last evening. Joey—an untamed thoroughbred who becomes a plow horse, and eventually, a War Horse, is used by Spielberg as a symbol to express the horrors and unexpected humanity of war. Joey shows us that endurance, often in the face of perilous risk, is truly the way of the hero.

I won’t spoil the movie for you, in case you haven’t seen it yet.  Rather, today’s post underscores the film’s moving portrayal of how courageously enduring whatever is happening to us helps us to rise above it.

In War Horse, we see the horrific cost of war on everything and everyone. In one scene, a French orphan girl, Emilie, surmises that her parents died courageously in the war, and imagines they died fighting for what they believed in. Her beloved grandfather, a particularly gentle farmer, confirms that her parents were indeed very brave. Then Emilie, out of grief, accuses her grandfather of being a coward.  In response, her grandfather suggests that maybe there are different forms of courage, and he points to the plight of carrier pigeons that somehow, no matter what, always return home.  He says to her, “Can you imagine flying over a war knowing you can never look down? You have to look forward, or you’ll never get home. …What could be braver than that?”  In the grandfather’s description, the idea that bravery involves courage and endurance is repeated and linked to survival.

The characters in War Horse, especially Joey, exemplify the traits that are needed to survive in today’s troubled environment.  People are facing some of the hardest social, economic, environmental and religious times that the world has ever known.  Worldwide natural disasters, soaring unemployment, and the collapse of many social and religious paradigms, have made daily life exceedingly insecure and perilous for many.  Required by circumstances to go far beyond his capabilities, Joey personifies how each of us today must likewise find ways to access our inner strength and determination in order to thrive amid adversity.

5 Action Steps for 2012

  1. Be a War Horse Access your inner strength.  Strengthen your resolve to endure hard times, no matter how difficult what you are going through may be.  Assess what you need to learn or do in order to get to the other side of your hard time.  Believe that you will make it.
  2. Challenge Yourself Depending on your situation, this may mean that you, like Joey, have to accept and find ways to thrive in new circumstances that require you to learn new skills. Perhaps it means that you must take steps to leave a relationship that is no longer good for your well-being.  Whatever your circumstance, challenge yourself to rise above the details of what is happening and commit to surviving successfully.
  3. Stay in Tune with Your Most Basic Nature No matter what is happening to you, honor who you really are and be brave enough to go with rather than against your true nature. Explore the use of your natural intelligence, talents, and instincts.  Find your own flow; go with what is most natural to you. If you force things to happen, they may not work out.
  4. Care for Yourself   When we are stressed, it’s easy to let self-care fall to the wayside in our list of priorities. Value and care for yourself daily, no matter how hard life becomes for you. Treat yourself well, as if you were caring for a thoroughbred. Get the rest, nutrition, support and love you need.  This will help you to endure.
  5. Don’t look down, Look forward   Do not let your present circumstances make you bitter or resentful, or cause you to lose hope for a better future. Your sole purpose is to make it through this hard time having learned much about your ability to endure life’s journey and make the best of it.  In the words of the wise grandfather, “What could be braver than this?”

If you liked my post today, please say so by selecting the ‘Like’ icon that immediately follows. I welcome your thoughts, reflections and concerns.

Happy New Year’s to you, my friends. Warmly, Deborah

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6 Responses to “Don’t Look Back, Look Forward: 5 Action Steps for 2012”

  1. Some of us are having to relearn or learn for the first time how to cope when the going get’s really tough. This article draws us a picture with words of a strategy we can use to overcome difficulties and hone courage, resilience and flexibility. Every challenge is a new chance o learn something. Thank you Dr. Deborah.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Thank you Carol. I’m so glad you liked the article. I went to your site and love your emphasis and what you are bringing to all of us. I look forward to following you on twitter. Deborah!

  2. BRILLIANT!! I believe so much in what Dr. Khoshaba is saying here, that I have printed out her 5 Action Steps and taped it to my mirror. Seeing it everyday keeps me ON PURPOSE and true to myself. Thank you Dr. K!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Thank you Stefanie. What a kind thing to say. I’m so happy that you find the 5-Action Steps helpful. Thank you for visiting. Warmly, Deborah

  3. avatar Saswata Biswas says:

    Nice article, probably I was looking for this one.Sometimes its really hard to find answers of every questions like “WHY ?” ,”HOW ?” but of late I feel its better to follow these five steps rather than those futile efforts finding the answers.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Saswata, I’m glad that the five action steps give you an anchor for moving forward. You are so right–we can spend so much time reflecting upon the how and why and not actually know which step to take first to progress our lives toward meaning and fulfillment. So, I am very happy that the five steps will be a guide for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment and say hello to me today. Warmly Deborah.


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