Jack and I hit a huge crisis in our lives several months ago. At times, all we wanted to do was pull the covers over our heads and hope it would go away…hope that it was all a bad dream. But those thoughts and feelings were only sporadic. We both knew that anything that was in our faces, was not only called into being by us, but was actually there to help us grow, awaken, and become more than we dreamed we could be.
One day, when I thought that I’d never get rid of the ugly scenes that flowed through my mind, I began to say, “Of course this will become a non-issue. You are continually changing. Don’t hold yourself to such a low standard of thought. Never say that you, or anyone else, can’t change.”
I felt instant relief as memories of how I had changed, in very significant ways, began to flood my mind. I recalled how in high school I felt dumb. I did so poorly in classes that I almost didn’t graduate. But when I decided to challenge that, it changed… I changed…and now, there is no part of me that feels inadequate in this area of my life. I needed to “do the work”, but that was OK. At 29 years old, with 2 children, I graduated summa cum laude, phi beta kappa, from the University of New Hampshire, and went on to study at Harvard Divinity School.
Then I remembered getting sober in 1986. Because I had started drinking when I was 13 (one of the reasons for the pitiful grades and behavior in high school) I couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol. But one day, Grace hit me over the head with the words, “You are an alcoholic and you need AA”, and from that moment on, I never drank again…and more importantly, never wanted to.
For years, I had tortuous relationships with my parents. I truly believed that I’d never feel inner peace when I thought of either of them…but it changed. I wasn’t hit over the head with Grace on this one…I had to work at it, but eventually my thoughts evolved and now, I can easily say that those relationships are perfect…just the way they are. My parents don’t need to change for me to love them. Amazing.
As I pondered more ways that I had once been “possessed” by negative thoughts (about anyone and anything including myself) and realized that I was no longer there, I knew in my heart that the current situation was going to be the same, and very quickly, examples began showing themselves to me of how this situation was really a profound gift.
I thought of all of our friends and family who’d supported us, loved us, and told us that they were holding us in their prayers and thoughts. So many came forth with just simple words like, “You guys have always been great together. You’ll get through this.” Jack and I would always talk about these incidents at night and soak in the blessings….and gifts….and this brings me to “the nights”.
For years, we’d had separate bedrooms…thinking that Jack’s snoring and my need for a lot of space were the reasons, but as soon as this happened, we clung to each other as if we were saving our lives…and being back in the same bed just happened. What a gift. Something that we thought we didn’t want at all (someone talking to us or waking us up in the middle of the night) has become one of the favorite parts of our day….gentle, soft, words like, “I love you”, “You are wonderful”, “I am so happy to be married to you”, float between us like clouds of blessings….what a gift….what a success story.
One thing that I am sure of is this: every situation in my life, in your life, in anyone’s life, has within it a very different story, outcome, or result…if we choose to look for it. We cannot curse the events of our lives and expect them to yield blessings/good. We cannot call someone horrible, deranged, stuck, unable to change, or any other “curse” and expect a different person to suddenly show himself or herself to us. All of life is happening for me. All of life is happening for you. Bless it…release the past…and claim your success story now.
“A metaphysician once gave me a wonderful recipe for taking every trick in the game of life, it is the acme of nonresistance. He gave it in this way; ‘At one time in my life, I baptized children, and of course, they had many names. Now I no longer baptize children but I baptize events, but I give every event the same name. If I have a failure I baptize it success.” In this we see the great law of transmutation, founded on nonresistance. Through his spoken word, every failure was transmuted into success.”
From, The Game of Life and How to Play It, Florence Scovel Shinn (published in 1925)