Problems May Actually Be Opportunities
Dear Parvati,
Someone said to me the other day that even the things about myself that I don’t like are actually gifts. How can this be true?
Sometimes it’s easier to learn about ourselves by observing others. I have found watching people in my life, (at times working my way though judgment, blame, anger, guilt, envy or jealousy – the whole range of emotions one can project onto another), I have been inadvertently taught by those around me.
Take one friend of mine, let’s call her Suzie. She is a wonderfully sensitive person who loves the arts, nature and has a real affinity for healing. She also is an addict. Suzie courageously goes to SLA meetings (sex and love anonymous) to face her co-dependency tendencies and to help her find the inner strength to look at and heal her addictive patterns. Through her friendship, I have found myself learning to be present for her ups and downs, finding new ways to express understanding, compassion and patience. I have also had a powerful mirror to face parts of my shadow, such as tendencies to judge, become self-righteous or impatient.
Recently Suzie and I were talking, when suddenly I found myself suggesting that I felt her addiction could be seen as a tool, or even a gift, along her spiritual journey. I have seen how her movement towards sobriety provides her with a great opportunity for self-discovery. I have also seen how her addiction has been the perfect soil in which she has had to learn to grow into fullness.
She is one of the most gifted people I have met in terms of sensitivity to the unseen. She feels energies, presences in people, plants and animals like few people I know. Yet she also has problems with boundaries. Perhaps her challenge with learning healthy boundaries has also left her more open to the unseen. As she learns to heal her tendency towards broken boundaries, not only is she becoming more capable of having healthy human relationships, but she is even more able to navigate the unseen.
Some may see Suzie’s addiction as a hindrance for her to find lasting love and healing. At one level, I would agree it is. It has brought her to her knees, broken her heart open and continues to challenge every part of her being to grow. Through her healing, something bigger is going on. By the very fact that she is challenged to find clear, powerful and subtle boundaries through her recovery process, her addiction has been the fertile ground in which she can learn the subtle skill to maneuver in the unseen world, and in turn, amplify her natural gifts and sensitivities there. Her addiction on one level is a problem and must be healed. Yet by embracing it as an opportunity, it becomes a gift that also empowers the evolution of her unique soul voice and natural gifts.
EXERCISE
We all have gnarly bits and negative tendencies that seem to create pain and havoc in our lives. What are yours? Are you willing to embrace them without judgment and somehow consider them gifts? What is your soul learning through them? By lovingly accepting your shadow, ask yourself how it can be seen as fertile soil for your unique soul growth. Make a list of your painful tendencies and see if you can dig deeper into you heart wisdom and see the gifts there.
More tomorrow with “Turning Drama Into Fierce Discernment”