Full admission: I only learnt what this word meant yesterday. I was reading through a friends’ research piece into the ‘Commercialisation of Mindfulness’ and well, it was a rather large leap up from Roald Dahl so I had to resort to Dictionary.com!
This rather sexy Italian-sounding word, is defined as: “a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases.”
She’s also a Greek Goddess – of course! – of ‘Universal Remedy’; a ‘cure-all’ in the mythical flesh.
When I heard this, my brain made a little ‘ahhhhhh’ sound. Because for a good part of my life, I think I was in search of Panacea.
I was always looking for that one thing – that winning lottery ticket; that magic diet or exercise routine; a pill to make me supremely confident; an encounter with some spiritual, hypnotic stranger that would change my life. I was waiting that one thing that would take away all of my problems and leave only happiness and joy.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I heard Tony Robbins’ viewpoint on the matter that my mind was changed. Tony said that without problems, there is no growth; and without growth there is boredom and death.
In short, we need problems to keep moving and growing; to stay alive.
All of that time I spent wishing my problems away, longing for happiness, feeling ‘hard done by…’ ironically only led me further away from my goal. In the last few years, as I’ve learned to embrace problems as exciting challenges; as opportunities to see myself grow and become better and make things better for others; I’ve become increasingly happier and more at peace with myself.
Millions of us are still in search of Panacea, clutching at that lottery ticket in front of the TV on a Saturday night and wishing for a carefree life. But it’s a fallacy. Happiness doesn’t lie at the end of a lottery win or a holiday or a promotion.
In fact, the real irony here is that often we search for Panacea in every place other than where it truly lies: inside ourselves.
The only real cure-all is the acceptance that problems are what keep us alive, excited, growing and thriving. And that a life without any problems is ultimately boredom, misery and death.