Learning one principle, I believe, has empowered me, more than anything else, in dealing with life’s challenges.
Instead of seeing things as either good OR bad, in reality, each situation is both good AND bad. When we acknowledge this, we are then empowered to make a choice. We can choose to learn from our challenges. We can choose whether we want to focus on the good OR the bad.
What I have discovered is that knowing that there is both a sunshine AND a shadow, is liberating. Just the possibility that each situation could be interpreted differently, or looked at from another perspective, makes us less attached to the pain we’ve associated to our difficulty.
Experiencing the shadow
Death is one of these situations.
It is very easy to look at losing a loved one as a bad thing. Understandably, we can feel dark, cold, alone, empty.
Today, my grandmother passed away.
I was there with her, in her room, sitting beside her bed as she took her last breath. What was once the woman who loved me, taught me, gave me lemon cookies & the best homemade cinnamon rolls on the planet, was now just a body. Cold, lifeless.
That’s the shadow side…
Finding the sunshine
But then, I looked over to the other side of the bed. Sitting on the dresser was a lamp that hadn’t been there before. Someone had placed it there a few days ago. Quite simply, it read:
On the other side of the cold, lifeless body, was a bright, warm light, burning with the reminder to live, to laugh, to love.
In the adversity of my grandmother’s death, was the beautiful gift of a reminder to live life.
Move out from under the cloud
Often, when we are standing under the cloud, in the shadow, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to see that the sunshine is really there. Trust me, though, it is.
If you find yourself under the cloud, and can only see the shadow in your life, try these ideas. I promise they’ll help:
- Sit down with a pen & paper and ask yourself, “How could this adversity be a blessing?” or “What can I learn from this challenge?” Force yourself to write 20-30 different answers, even if you don’t believe them. They can be completely fictitious, the key is to get your mind out of it’s current rut and start entertaining other possibilities.
- Speak with someone who has already gone through the same challenge and is already on the other side of it. Ask them what they’ve learned, how they grew, etc. If you don’t know someone who has been through the same challenge, check out a book (or movie) from someone who has.
- Ask someone to play the “what if” game with you. Find someone who will do more than just support you in your current rut, but will help you see things from a new perspective. To get a different result, you need a different approach. Find someone who approaches life differently and ask for their take on your situation.
Most importantly, remember that adversities are not obstacles to living your purpose… they are a part of your purpose. We arrive at the full expression of our divine potential, through the refining process of our adversities.
Embrace them, they are life’s greatest gift.