Yesterday I was giving a client a massage. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we're quiet. This session she was asking me questions and my history with drug use addiction came up quite nonchalantly. She was surprised and I was, too, but not because I was talking about it, but by how neutral it all felt.
I'm so far from the shame and embarrassment of it all, all I can see is the gift in it. If I wouldn't have had those experiences, I wouldn't be me and be so understanding and compassionate of how others might be feeling, depending on where they are on their path and journey.
I wouldn't have the awe and gratitude for what it feels like to have 10,000 angels as your guide, helping you and carrying you out of awful situations and into safety. I wouldn't know deep in my being that I am loved and it's all on purpose for my greatest and highest good.
If I wouldn't have worn a molded back brace for 2 years, had a spinal fusion at 16, missed out on my dream of being a college athlete, I wouldn't be as empathetic to others who are feeling stuck and lost at that age. I wouldn't have sought out so many alternative therapies to help myself and others know that there's another way. I wouldn't be as encouraging and happy for people who are recovering quicker, faster, stronger. I wouldn't be a bodyworker, homeopath and health coach.
There are so many experiences of hardship, loss, gain, and triumph that I've had that have made me... me. And as I woke up on a river beach last weekend, celebrating my birth day and reflecting on all the rotations around the sun up until now, I decided with great love and appreciation that I quite like being me. I'm thankful for all of my experiences in life. I can see how each and every experience has come with a gift and a lesson for my heart.
Even when I see people come in with their problems or hear of tragedies, I can't help but yes, first honor their grief, pain, confusion and frustration, but also see their hearts grow 10 sizes right in that moment. I can see the gift already because I believe they're all lessons for us to learn how to return to love in this human incarnation.
How might the diagnosis you identify yourself with be serving you in some way? Can you listen more astutely to the messages your body is sending you? Life is a game, not a battle. Your body is your friend, teammate and loves you.
How is that discord with your co-worker/partner/family member showing up to help your heart grow? Is the lesson to be more patient or more powerful? To say less or say more? To draw a boundary or to be more forgiving?
How is that break up, job loss, eviction, addiction, death, natural disaster bringing with it a silver lining of something greater? Is your fear of it limiting your beliefs in faith and truth? Can you expand your senses beyond the form into the formless?
"All problems are invitations to look deeper and live higher." - Alan Cohen
Even receiving good fortune can be a challenge. Not having any problems. Not needing anything and still feeling worthy enough to receive. How good can you let things be? Do you need to create problems and dramas to learn your lessons from a place of pain and suffering? Or can you learn from a place of joy and inspiration?
The only constant in your life is you. It's all happening for you.
With a little (or a lot) of perspective we can see that life is happening for us, not to us. This is easier when we're removed from the emotional charge of being in it which is why meditation and contemplation hold innumerable benefits.
At first, it took a decade to get my "a-ha" moments of my problems and challenges being opportunities. It took years to gain the wisdom that only came after I realized how neutral it all was. Now, it doesn't take as long to see the light in the dark.
When you become the observer of your life, watching it like a movie, like a fly on the wall , without emotional charge, it's impossible not to see how our challenges are our greatest gifts, no exceptions. Everything happening in our outer experience is an amazing opportunity to learn more of who we are, to remember that we chose to be here and that we're here to be who we came here to be.
The gifts in all things allow us to experience miracles in our life and in turn help others experience miracles in theirs, just by being ourselves.
They're how we relate to others. They're how we resonate as a mirror for someone else to see themselves from a place of safety, belonging and non-judgment. They're how we can be more understanding, more sympathetic, more encouraging.
They're how we gain insights and wisdom. They're how we get to be an example of what's possible. They're how we serve and help just by being ourselves and owning with great appreciation everything that has come to pass, scars and all.