The Dish of a Hard Lesson

Our harshest teacher is often where we find our greatest strength.

We all have someone or something in our lives that pushes us to do the very thing we may not want to do or don’t think we can do. Today, I ask you to consider the following idea:

Our greatest teachers or lessons are often the ones that involve falling to our knees.

Why is this? Why can’t we get the lesson or experience like one would experience a massage? Why is our greatest teacher often the person who makes us feel ready to pull our hair out?

The Universe works in mysterious ways, but it is always working in its own intricate and beneficial way. We are like fish in a bowl, looking out at the world around us but only having a limited perspective of what reality is. Hindsight often offers us a better view in our respective fishbowls.

When I reflect upon the very things that I was certain would break me (the death of a loved one, the belligerent colleague, the litigious ex), it is hindsight that demonstrates time and time again, how each hardship, each challenge caused me to push past my comfort zone and grow. Each seemingly impossible situation or person caused me to get up off of my figurative knees and figure out a way. Had the person or situation not felt so overwhelming or heartbreaking, I would not be the strong, capable person I see myself as today.

We all arrive on this planet loving ourselves. We never see a baby embarrassed about the size of their derriere! But over time, many of us are taught to doubt ourselves. That doubt attracts us to all kinds of lessons and teachers. Once we get the lesson, the problem or problematic situation disappears.

Some of us—like myself—needed some tough lessons. It is once I thank those teachers that I notice they start bothering me. 

I encourage you to consider a figurative dish in your life—a person or situation that is challenging you (You know, the ones that cause your blood pressure to rise or the ones that make you feel like your heart is breaking and will never be whole again.). Serve yourself an alternate perspective: what if this person or situation is here to teach me another way? To show me an inner strength that was dormant until now? To help me realize what really matters and what I need to let go of?

When we thank our hardest teachers, we receive the invaluable gifts of peace and growth.

Protecting Our (Emotional) Garden

I like to think of the soul as a garden. It is up to each of us to tend to what goes into and out of that sacred space.

With COVID-19 in full force worldwide, the previously heated political climate is now past its boiling point. Turn on your TV, scroll through social media and you are catapulted into a world of information overload and with it, a myriad of strong and often divided opinions.

It is easy to get overloaded in our 24/7 news coverage world; it is also easy to get persuaded to share our opinions, to “like” a friend’s political cartoon or meme or offer an angry emoji to show support for said friend’s left or right wing views. And if you are comfortable doing so, that’s great, keep doing you!

But there is a fine but distinctive line between supporting a friend and abdicating your own comfort level; it is one thing to support a cause important to you and another to feel cyber-pressure to agree with something or someone online when you don’t feel comfortable sharing.

In our omnipresent social media world (particularly now that we are flattening the curve through social distancing), we are hungry for connection. After all, we are humans, connecting is what we DO. Yet we owe it to ourselves to share what each of us wants to share, not feels obliged to share.

I like to think of the soul as a garden. It is up to each of us to tend to what goes into and out of that sacred space. What makes your space fertile might cause another’s to perish. I encourage you to reflect on what helps keep your emotional “garden” flourishing.

When I was a little girl, I recall hearing the phrase “There are two things you don’t talk about in public: sex and politics.” Of course, I didn’t get it at the time. Now as an adult, I know that the world isn’t black and white and this pithy statement is no exception. But it is a cliché for a reason: it is a reminder that certain topics are either gateways for growth or destruction.

So how do we know when politics, sex or any other impassioned topics are healthy or harmful to “air and share”?

The answer is simple but not easy: heed your inner garden each time someone or something online or in the news stands at its entrance. Each time, depending on the topic and/or person, your garden might perk up or shudder. The key is to listen to its personal message to you and you alone.