Pain IS the touchstone of progress ~12&12 AA~
The thing about the light at the end of the tunnel is that you have to be willing to strike the match. That means you have to recognize that you have the power to create the light you need and this can mean a perspective shift.
Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.
~William Channing, theologian~
The other day we had a day one could only have when you have 7 kids, five of which are teenagers, and 5 cars (including a scooter) registered under you name. The police were horrible – pulling over my 23-year-old pregnant (5 months) step-daughter, who was unaware of a problem with her license. Our 15-year-old boy who gets a long ago scooter ticket, fails to mention it to dad – dad’s license gets suspended – the registration of the plates is suspended. The police make a 5 month pregnant girl walk home – not even offering her a ride. It was a nightmare. My husband was more furious than I have ever seen a human being. Things twisted quickly out of control and suddenly the whole world was focused on this very temporary problem. Most events in life are like this; they last only as long as they last and then it’s over. Some problems, like cancer, are more permanent. It tends to make you see things with a wider lens.
For once I found that didn’t get all caught up in the emotions. I could see that going “there” with all the angry people was not going to be helpful to them or to me. So, I hung back, watched, stayed quiet. Then I began to see the BIGGER picture. “Do less to achieve more”, according to the Tao.
As predicted…the next day things were cleared up, without me needing to get angry or frustrated. And of course as days go, a new set of challenges was presented to us.
We get her to work on time ( a new job) and she doesn’t realize she has to deliver food for the restaurant that night. The kid is working two jobs and managing an unmanageable relationship – this makes no sense. Now she gets to work and realizes she can;t do her job because of having no car. SO, I decide to be pizza delivery mom for a night. I suddenly found myself telling her that in a while, maybe a long while or a short while, she will look back on the atrocities of the past couple of days, and be grateful for the experience. She laughs at me and tells me she’ll believe that when she sees it. I knew this car problem would be rectified, one way or another. We would find a way to work it out. Meanwhile, it caused a situation where I got to spend more time with my kid than I have in the past 5 years. It was awesome and we both had a great time. i just smiled at her.
I asked her later – “so is it all that bad?” – she smiled and said that she could almost believe me.
I have figured out that it is not our job in life to make our kids happy – but it is definitely our ultimate challenge to show them how to see problems in life as opportunities or blessings. To pay attention when the universe speaks and creates a redirection – to open to the possibility that there is a bigger picture; and we can;t teach that by telling it to them – we can only teach it by believing it ourselves. Do you believe your problems are opportunities? What about life altering problems like mental illness, or cancer even – can these be opportunities?
I think it all depends on your perception. Any time you are in a “victim mentality” – you are unable to find the beauty in the situation. However, as soon as you can take on the point of view that whatever is occurring in your life is meant as a tool to continue helping you move forward, you can look at the event and your feelings about it as a learning tool to move closer to yourself. Each challenge can teach you some valuable insight into the very nature of your being. How different would your decisions be if you saw all your problems as opportunities?
The way to achiving this mindset is to simply make a choice to be in this mindset. At first it feels really foreign. Some terrible thing happens, as does in life – you get the phone call, the door, your boss calls you into his office, someone dies – bad things happen in life. The next time it does though, try and stand back and see the event from a wider perspective. \see it firstly, not all about you. There are always many people affected by any circumstance. Take into account that others are also being affected, and that everything is moving in some great coordinated dance that you are a part of. Believe in the GOODNESS of the universe and that, even though things might look bleak to you at this moment, they will change and the universe will guide you gently if you want to be guided.
I have seen many people with cancer over the past year. Some of them I know well, and some I don’t. They shared a very important things in common – they were happy. Funny things about cancer is it forces all of your bullshit to melt – and suddenly you are left with your honest and true self. Cancer forces you to like yourself and honour your feelings and intuition.
If everyone lives like they had cancer, our relationships would all be much more honest and forthright. We would spend time pursuing our creative potential, and healing any relationships that required mending. We would make decisions based on self-knowledge and personal need. We would become self-aware.
Cancer is making me enjoy ice cream more, driving, talking with my kids, eating a bowl of soup or playing a game of chess much more enjoyable – and it’s not even my cancer!
Cancer is a permanent problem – but even that changes and morphs as the days go on. The feeling you have about it changes, the way you make decisions can be affected.
I am finding myself living pretty fully lately. Enjoying food, my ability to walk freely with no pain, I am not sick – my mother is. And yet it is giving me a sense of appreciation about the things I would never have given a second thought to.