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School of life and its lessons…

School of life and its lessons…

Recently someone asked me the question: What are the 3 most challenging things that have ever happened to you and what did they teach you?

Hmmmm…good one. Being an inquisitive person this got me thinking: what were these events, what do they have in common and what did I learn?

Without going into detail about these challenging events I will say that at first glance they all shared one common thing: me. While I struggle to admit it, at some point in the story a decision I made caused the stage to be set for everything to unfold the way it did. So looking at it this way I realized that even though these events were extremely intense, painful and life changing they all served a purpose.

With the clarity of hindsight I am now have the amazing opportunity for me to observe myself in these rough patches in my life: how I handled things during them, how I struggled, where I rose to the challenge and eventually how I progressed through them. Through the lens of these challenges I was able to acknowledge some powerful lessons and truths about myself and life…what a gift!

What did life teach me through these times?

1) Forgiveness is the key to freedom from a painful time: 

This was an especially tough one for me because I have a hard time letting things go. With each experience, regardless of whether it was my fault or if it happened to me, holding onto the anger, the animosity, the jealousy, the pain becomes extremely toxic very quickly. This toxicity then feeds on itself and caused me to stay in the spiral of anger even longer. However as soon as I was able to forgive myself and everyone involved (whether they asked for it or not) I was able to move forward to a place of clarity and ever-deepening peace with the situation(s).

2) I must allow myself the chance to be where I am are at:

Just like you can’t plant a seed and expect to see it flowering the next day, things take time. Even the most devastatingly heart breaking moments will soften and soon the tears are slower to fall. When I lost my sweet dog to heart disease it felt as though my heart collapsed too. In those first few weeks I could think of nothing else, I was lost, devastated and shattered by a grief I had never known before. I cried my heart out and let it gradually fill back in again with the tenderness of the experience of love for another being. By allowing myself to experience the difficulty of those moments I received the strength of them and was able to show myself the gentle compassion that I so easily offer to others. By allowing myself to sit in the forest of grief and sadness and not numb it away I gradually gained perspective and healing so that when I was ready I could begin to move forward.

***The flip side of this is that ever time I have skipped through this process I was placed in the same situation again, only to be forced to relive the experience. Take home lesson: do it right the first time, its hard, its rough, but at least you only have to do it once;)

3) I am deserving of the same love and kindness that I so easily show others:

Why is it that I think the rules don’t apply to me? I can coach people all day on the value and importance of self-care but I still struggle to do the same thing for myself. Fundamentally I think it is rooted in outdated self-worth issues, because in the past I struggled with knowing how wonderful, deserving and worthy I am. It is in these moments that I observe myself wanting to focus on my faults, my mistakes and shortcomings but am also called to step outside of that old mentality.

My best tool in these moments in the Indian legend of the Peacocks cry which explains the lesson behind that funny squawk. The characteristic Peacock squawk is somewhere between a laugh and a cry and the legend suggests it’s because the peacock temporarily forgets its true beauty. The legend is that when the peacock looks down at its feet and cries out in disgust it is forgetting how beautiful it really is, but immediately laughs because of how silly it is being. This legend reminds me that even in the hardest moments I can learn to laugh myself and my critical nature because fundamentally I am not these perceived faults and at my true nature am a perfect reflection of the entire universe and all its magnitude.

4) I am strong, powerful and resilient

I have experienced, I have lived, I have learnt, I am moving forward. In doing so I have gained perspective, tools, wisdom and drive which can only be earned by walking the road. The road that is at times bumpy, rocky and uncertain, but in the end it has helped me grow into my fullness, my character, my self. There have been moments when others helped me up, moments when I got up on my own and moments when I crawled, but regardless of how it happened….I kept going. In my books that is the real lesson: that we are capable of anything when we are willing to try.

This has been a powerful experience for gaining perspective of my journey thus far, helping me realize the work I have done and the tools I have acquires. I encourage you to ask yourself the same questions as it will likely yield some powerful truths about who you are and how far you have come. Please feel free to share, we would love to hear your realizations.

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