The prompt for month ten: We’ve all noticed that when things are in harmony, they flow smoothly, and we’re happy. However, when things don’t go how we want or planned, we get upset. Nature likes to keep things in balance, so when things don’t go smoothly it’s likely that Nature is trying to tell us something. This is when we need to stop, take a step back, view things from a different perspective, and say thank you for this opportunity to learn and grow.
For the tenth month, think about all the things that you have been and are grateful for, and then think about the things you have not been grateful for. With the transformations that have taken place inside you over the last nine months, take a new look at those people, incidents, or situations, and find gratitude for them. What have or can you now learn from them? Did they or can they help you grow in some way that you had not been aware of?
In life we all have many teachers. Sometimes teachers come in the form of a human – a school teacher, a priest, a guru, a healer, etc. Sometimes our greatest teachers come in unexpected forms, like animals and pets, such as Simba. But oftentimes, our teachers are the experiences themselves, often the most difficult and challenging ones. We can learn from these struggles. These karmic lessons, if we allow, will take us to the deepest and darkest places in our psyches (The Ancient Greeks’ word for butterfly, life, breath, and soul was ψυχη, psyche), and though the darkness in such a cocoon is frightening at first, we will come out of it into the light as beautiful transformed butterflies.
In the past nine months my life has greatly shifted, changed, and transformed. Of course I am thankful for all the “good” things that have come about, such as new work, increased clientele, and new business and social connections. However, I am most thankful for the people and experiences that brought strife and frustrations. Why? Because they challenged me to grow. They gave me opportunities to choose, to use my free will, how to handle those people and situations, whether to match their negative energy and not grow, or to not feed their suffering, help if possible/wanted, and then let go and freely grow. By embracing the difficult times, confrontational people, and struggles, we metamorphose and grow into more light and beautiful beings.
There have been experiences of the past nine months that have challenged me, taught me, tested me, and inspired me to grow. The most difficult was caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s, whom I have never been close to in any way. This was an inner conflict/challenge. Though I was willing to help my father care for her, “Julie” had no personal desire to do this. I had to delay developing a new life here in California (See this journal post about my major life change) to do this. I struggled between being the healer, helper, and kind soul and the wishes and desires for what “Julie” wanted her life to be.
In spite of this inner conflict, I knew deep down that there was purpose to all this (layers actually, of course) and could see those layers of meaning. Making sure I had time for prayer, meditation, and self-reflection helped me stay in awareness, especially when my mother was violent and my father would take advantage of my presence and dump more on me when I was already stretched to my limits. This experience reinforced for me that I need to be better at standing up for myself and holding my boundaries firm, among other lessons. This lesson had been one of the most difficult in the past, and putting myself in this incredibly difficult position was actually the best thing I needed at the time.
Suffering, challenges, struggles have their purpose(s). When we learn and grow, and embrace and have gratitude for them, they can only become the most beautiful and freeing experiences of our lives.
From the Heart Sutra: Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi, Svaha! (Go, Go, Go deeper, Go even deeper, Awareness, Light!)
In the deepest darkness, we find the brightest Light. Namaste _/l\_
In the next entry, I will discuss some of the major, and sometimes terrifying, challenges of past years that I am very thankful for, for without them I would not have learned to fly.
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