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The Wound is Also the Gift

A month or two ago I heard on a podcast I listen to that the wound is also the gift. It’s a phrase that’s stuck with me because it rang true, but I couldn’t quite grapple how. This week provided me clarity on the subject.

I’ve always been a sensitive person but growing up I didn’t know how to handle my emotions. I tried to shut them down or numb out in a variety of ways. Those two strategies run rampant in our society and it’s why we see such high rates of addiction and insensitivity. Emotions can be scary for people, especially when the messages a person receives are, “Don’t be sad, don’t be scared, don’t be angry.”

Speaking from experience, it’s impossible for me not to feel sad, scared, or angry, and trying other means to NOT feel my feelings only harmed me. These days I’m taking a new tactic which is to feel my feelings and use them as information to guide me in my life. But because I’ve been on both sides it means I can use my wound and make it a gift. It means that now I live and breathe empathy. In fact, I taught an empathy workshop at a retreat recently. I never thought I’d be a person who is helping other people process their emotions when I was so unskilled, but now, people regularly call me when they’re upset or scared or sad. My emotional wound turned me into someone with high emotional intelligence, and my gift is now I understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries so I’m not overwhelmed by emotions anymore. Not always, not in every circumstance.

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I know it’s not a wound, or a gift, but I liked this picture. Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

I still try to numb out sometimes, or push my emotions away, but the frequency is less and the duration is shorter. My own experience is helping others. Do I want to be a therapist? Absolutely not because I’m too introverted for that, but I’d love to ghostwrite for therapists. And even without parlaying emotional hygiene into a career, I’m helping myself and my community through modeling and acting as a resource. I’ve come to understand the only way out of anything is through, and that means my feelings too.

My spiritual teacher talks about this as well. He says regarding the innate propensities people have, for instance shyness or cruelty, “You shouldn’t check the flow. You may check the flow to check the flood, but you are to divert that water through different canals. Here also you are to check the flow of your baser propensities and divert it unto that singular propensity, toward the Supreme Self … The mind is moving toward so many unrighteous activities. Withdraw those activities and guide it toward the singular righteous Entity.”

You can’t direct the flow of something if you avoid it altogether. And you might find the things that hurt you become assets later on when helping others. We all have wounds and sometimes those wounds become gifts that foster connection, love, and support. You never know, but it’s an interesting question to ponder.

I dream of a world where we recognize sometimes the things that wounded us also become our greatest gifts. A world where we take what we’ve learned and use it to help others. A world where we come to terms with our past hurts and use them to propel us forward.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.


Divine Matchmaking

I am a connector. For those of you who’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, you’ll know what I’m talking about. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, in essence it means I’ll say to someone, “Oh, you have Lyme disease? I have a friend with Lyme disease. Do you want me to put you in touch?” I do this all the time with everyone. It’s not just platonic connections, it’s romantic ones too, although those are more rare. Connecting people comes so naturally to me I briefly entertained the idea of becoming a matchmaker. I even interviewed with a matchmaking firm and made it through their interview rounds before I decided it was too much pressure to ensure a person went on a certain number of dates every month.

An ex-boyfriend noticed how much I connected people and he said, “But who does that for you?” A couple of people return the favor, but my biggest matchmaker is the universe. I find there’s a divine intelligence at play that somehow knows just who I need to speak to and when, as well as vice versa. For the past week I’ve been in the “matchmaking flow” and it excites me, inspires me, and reminds me the world is magical.

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Isn’t this a great picture?!? Photo by Christopher Beloch on Unsplash

I’m trading services with my chiropractor and she recommended I interview a couple of people regarding their experiences. I called one of the people and we got to chatting. It turns out she lives literally a block away from me! And on top of that, she told me she’s been looking for a writer for her business. We both laughed at how I’ve been looking for clients and she’s been looking for a writer. I don’t know if we’ll end up working together, but just the fact she’s a potential client is thrilling. I didn’t orchestrate that meeting. It completely came out of the blue as a result of praying and asking the universe for help. As an important caveat, I want to mention this stuff is not on my timeline. It’s not a math formula. For instance, I have single friends who yearn to be partnered and they pray and ask for help all the time. But they’re still single. And then there are other people who have crazy miracle stories.

For instance, I read a news article about a woman who dreamed of a telephone number. When she woke up, she called it and a man answered. They got to chatting and over time developed such strong feelings for one another they got married. How does that happen?

My spiritual teacher says that “whatever happens in this universe of ours is nothing but an expression of Cosmic desire or Cosmic will … when a human desire and His desire coincide, then only does the human desire become fruitful.”

I view matchmaking as an act of Cosmic will. To me it means the universe is pushing me in a certain direction. My life works better when I believe there’s a benevolent force guiding me and for the moment, it’s coming through in the form of matchmaking, for which I’m grateful.

I dream of a world where we recognize the magic and the mystery in the universe. A world where we realize not only are people matchmakers, but the universe is a matchmaker too. A world where we realize sometimes the universe wants to give us a helping hand and that comes through people showing up in our lives out of the blue.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.


Flowing around Obstacles

Sometimes when I encounter an obstacle I sit down and say, “That’s it. I’m done. Thwarted.” I treat challenges like a 50-foot brick wall with no handholds – insurmountable, daunting, and immovable. However, lately the new metaphor I’m working with is a rock in a river.

Have you seen boulders in rivers? The water just moves around them, changing direction, perhaps slowing down a little, but it keeps going. That metaphor is pertinent to my life right now because as I’m starting my business, I hear a lot of “no’s” or rather I don’t hear anything at all. Instead of wallowing – OK, I’m wallowing a little – I’m moving on. I mean, I have feelings about it. Every “no” stings, but I also say, “On to the next one.” Not only am I hearing “no’s,” but I feel a bit blocked because I want to show people an example of my service, but it doesn’t exist yet online. However, in order to entice people to work with me, I want to show them a sample so I’m in a bit a catch-22. What did I do? I interviewed a friend of mine who is under chiropractic care and as soon as she approves the text, I’ll post it to my own website. Moving around obstacles baby!

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Look at how the water moves around this rock. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

My spiritual teacher says obstacles are helping forces. I don’t know if I believe that, except I notice obstacles keep my mind sharp. I’m flexing my creative muscle and becoming more resourceful, so there’s that. I’m also learning and growing in ways I never anticipated so maybe obstacles are helping forces? My spiritual teacher also says, “When one sets out to complete a great task, innumerable difficulties must be confronted. The greater the task, the mightier the obstacles. That is why the person who wants to perform noble deeds must be ready to face opposition from the very outset. Those who are not prepared for these mighty obstacles begin to falter and ultimately surrender in the face of opposition.”

I certainly understand that. It’s easier to give up, to give in, especially when the obstacles are vast. I told you at the beginning of this post sometimes challenges feel like a 50-foot brick wall. But again, what I’m learning is how to circumnavigate obstacles, and I think we as a society are learning the same thing. The government not providing enough money in the form of aid? Start a fundraiser. Too much trash on the beach? Clean it up yourself. I could write pages and pages about the delinquency of government and how individuals and nonprofit organizations stepping in demonstrates the government’s inefficiency, but that’s another post for another day. What I want to focus on today is how nothing is as insurmountable as we think.

I read stories all the time of people accomplishing seemingly impossible things. A quadriplegic painting using their mouth, for instance, or a mother lifting a car to save her child. Living beings show their resilience every day as well as their cooperation and that’s something I find inspiring in these challenging times. May we all learn to flow around our obstacles and help one another when it feels too great.

I dream of a world where we flow around our obstacles like a river around a rock. A world where we realize obstacles are temporary stumbling blocks, and when they’re not, when they challenge us for too long, we link up with others and ask for help, or push to make greater changes in society. A world where we understand sometimes we move past an obstacle quickly and sometimes slowly, but in the end we do move past it.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.


Something is Better than Nothing

Many things are on my mind and heart right now. Watching Australia burn, I feel powerless and scared. It’s destruction of epic proportions and my heart breaks for the people and animals affected by the fires. I also feel powerless and scared as I watch President Trump’s aggressive actions toward Iran. What really freaks me out is that neither he nor many of those in power seem to care one iota what the vast majority of Americans want. He’s hellbent on marching toward war in order to stay in power.

The whole thing makes me want to burrow under the covers and tune out the world. In fact, I did a little bit of that today – I stayed in bed two hours after I woke up meditating, reading, and endlessly scrolling through facebook and instagram. The book I’m reading, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, is by a therapist who realizes she needs therapy herself. In it, Lori Gottlieb writes numbness isn’t absence of feeling, it’s overwhelm at having too many feelings. That’s sure the case for me.

Where do I, or we, go from here? How do I navigate the deluge of information and emotion spewing my way? Chani Nicholas, an astrologer I follow, said: “We maneuver around despair by focusing on the little wins, the quality of our connections, and the blessing of second chances after we’ve made a mess of things. We have to live out our potential, our dreams, and our destinies one caring act at a time. Like our life depends on it. Like our future is waiting for it. Like it is what we were born to do. Anything that derails us from this aim doesn’t deserve access to our days, nights, or rituals.”

Little by little adds up to something, and something is better than nothing. Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

Little wins. Right now the majority of people around me are caught up in the fervor of the new year – excited for a fresh start, amping themselves up with resolutions and intentions and things they’re claiming for this year. People are making plans, envisioning how they want their lives to go. Awesome! As for me, I’m reminded I can start over at any time. It doesn’t have to be the new year or a Monday or even the morning to start fresh. I can start my day over at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday. This year I’m retreading my goals from 2019 – the ones I put on the back burner because I chose to focus on other things, rightly so. For instance, I opened a retirement account for myself. I’m not sure I’ll be able to contribute much every month, but I decided something small is better than nothing. And at this point, it’s important for me to just start, even if I don’t wind up where I’d like to be.

That mindset feels like the wisest thing I can share right now: just start. Will my $10 donation to a firefighter unit make a vast difference in Australia? No, but my donation plus your donation adds up to something, and something is better than nothing. Will I single-handedly be able to stop a war with Iran? No, but my voice plus your voice still matters, and even though I don’t have a lot of faith in many politicians right now, it’s still important for me to try.

I’d like to end with a quote from my spiritual teacher. He says, “There are some people who are pessimistic. They say that the society around us is very bleak … Pessimists say this because they have never made any detailed study of human history, nor do they care to. Had they done so, they would certainly be optimistic, because if they had looked carefully at the symptoms of pause, they would have realized that significant preparations were being made for the subsequent phase of speed. So under no circumstances should human beings be pessimistic. That is why I am always an incorrigible optimist, because I know that optimism is life.”

It may seem naive and foolish to be optimistic right now, but for me also, optimism is life. I don’t function well without optimism and what the world needs from me and from all of us right now is function. We need as many high-functioning people as we can get, and if that means being optimistic, if that means celebrating little wins, if that means focusing on the quality of our connections, so be it.

I dream of a world where we realize something is better than nothing and we act accordingly. A world where we celebrate small wins and keep putting one foot in front of the other. A world where we do whatever it is we need to do to make it through challenging times in a way that’s loving and caring for all living beings.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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