We tend to find it easier to smile when things seem to be “going right” in our lives. We may have found the prefect mate, landed our dream job, have a supportive and loving family, and find that overall things are pretty smooth sailing. But what about when that perfect mate cheats? Or we get fired? Or that loving family rejects something about you dear to your heart? What does that do to us on a soul level and why is our reaction to it vital in the level of growth we take from it?
Believe it or not, we are not mere victims of circumstance. Yes, environmental factors play a huge role in our overall development, and how we are treated and what we are taught about ourselves and the world around us as children is pretty much what we take into adulthood. However, it doesn’t have to stay that way. We are always free to choose our next step, our next reaction and our next goal.
So, how do we react when life gives us a swift kick where the sun doesn’t shine? Do we get pissed off and curse the Universe or God? Do we take it out on those around us whose lives still seem to be going pretty well? Do we go into hermit mode and recluse ourselves into a month long pity party? Or do we step back and try to see if there’s anything to learn from the situation…anything good that could come of it…any reason the Universe may have “made it all go to shit” perhaps to make way for something even BETTER!?
“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon
I’ve come to learn that life really is a matter of personal perspective. You can live 90 years with each day incredible and purpose-driven; full of creative ambition. Or you can live the same day over and over for 90 years. It’s really up to you, no matter where you come from, who your parents were, what gender or race you are, or nationality you are born under. Yes, these factors have their own undeniable struggles, but those too are calling to be looked at in an entirely new way. When one sees “short-comings” not as obstacles, but as catalysts for motivation, the world opens up with new possibilities.
If the greatest leaders, peace-makers, speakers, loving-hearts of our time had let themselves be mere victims of circumstance, imagine how the world might feel a little less full without their voices ever being heard; without their presence being known to the world; without the differences they made, ever being made at all. My point is we ALL have that ability within us, to do such incredibly wonderful, great things. The only difference between “us” and “them” is how we choose to see ourselves against the rest of the world.
And with great vision, often comes great growth which can bring one to endure great pain. Why so? Well consider the caterpillar’s journey through metamorphosis. If its vision only stretched as far as becoming the best caterpillar it could be, it would be denying itself of its true purpose, which is to become the spectacular butterfly. The caterpillar must be open to the belief that he is so much more than what he can physically see now and that in time he will naturally grow into his magnificence. He doesn’t need to plan for it, or hope for it, or wish it. But he will go through a complete and utter destruction of his current self and what he knows himself to be in this moment as a caterpillar. And that can be terrifying and is guaranteed to be quite painful.
“How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” – Trina Paulus
And as humans grow, whether intellectually, mentally, spiritually or all of the above, we are not that different from the caterpillar. We often get torn apart, hearts melted, broken and beaten down into an unrecognizable pulp, but in the end we endure as a stronger, wiser version of our former selves. We have become the proverbial butterfly. Only as humans, we get to do this continually throughout our lives as we go through our life lessons and experience what we would perceive as those “painful” times in our lives. Those times that we look back on and whose memory can still make us cry, bring forth anger or sadness, or even guilt and regret.
These experiences stretch us, and can hurt in terrible ways, but if we look at the pain as a measure of strength, we often realize that we are so much more capable of handling life’s trials than we ever imagined. And with this comes an unexpected respect for the pain as you begin to realize that without it, you would not be the person you are today, for it is the pain that pushed you to face your greatness and to pursue your perpetual purpose. It is in the pain that we find appreciation for the little things we take for granted every day. And we are gifted the knowing that without a bit of struggle, we’d never learn how to fully break free of the self-defeating limitations placed upon us by society. Pain challenges us, and it can be our greatest motivator for change; a catalyst for new beginnings and for me personally, perhaps the greatest mentor I’ve ever had.
Tamara Rant is a Co-Editor of CLN as well as a Licensed Reiki Master, heart-centered Graphic Designer and a progressive voice in social media activism & awareness. Connect with Tamara on Facebook by visiting Prana Paws/Healing Hearts Reiki or go to RantDesignMedia.com