Our darkest moments carry hidden gifts

Driving through beautiful natural scenery is one of the most relaxing times for me. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that my phone and laptop are turned off and there is absolutely nothing to do but enjoy the ride. My mind flows freely as I absorb the beauty.

On a recent sunny spring day, with miles of stunning landscape all around me, I found myself doing a life review, noticing that some truly dreadful moments signalled significant shifts that ultimately enriched my life.

Like so many people, my natural tendency at the time was to try to fix the problem or turn myself into knots attempting to change myself. Both methods perpetuated whatever was going on and increased my angst and despair. Nothing got better.

While drifting along mountain roads, I suddenly recognized that my way of fixing problems has gradually and gently changed. I looked back to a recent time when I was feeling overwhelmed. Instead of trying to fix anyone, anything or myself, I stopped what I was doing and meditated. Then I chose to let the issues go for twenty-four hours, turn to other things and nurture myself. I wasn’t even vaguely surprised that, while soaking in the bath, an answer slipped into my awareness that unravelled the problem.

The state of mind that is stuck on a problem is unlikely to find a solution.

When we’re stressed, the left, linear and logical side of the brain gets blocked from access to the right, creative side of the brain by the corpus callosum. When we relax both sides of the brain can interact freely.

It was exciting to discover that my “fixing” habit, that tended to make things worse and never better, is fading away. I began to reflect on other gifts from challenges, and that much of mental/emotional pain can ultimately lead to change and growth.

Abandonment, rejection and betrayal can be paralyzing and painful and lead to self-referral, self-actualization, inner wisdom and strength.

Failure can defeat us, or it can be used as a stepping stone to learning, inner growth and strength.

Loss can feel unbearably painful and gradually transform into gratitude, love and strength.

Relationship issues can make us aware of behaviours, choices and ways of relating requiring change.

Stress can act as a light showing us where we need to make adjustments to our way of being and life as a whole.

Traumatic experiences can lead to deep inner awareness, strength, growth and wisdom.

Victimhood can lead to self-empowerment and forgiveness.

Awareness, insight and action are needed to bring about lasting change, growth and wisdom.  On the whole, “fake it ‘till you make it” doesn’t work. There may be periods of relief, but the true fix is in recognizing what’s broken, knowing how to put it together to heal, and taking gentle appropriate steps forward.  

Perhaps the most difficult challenges we face in life are the specific lessons we need for our own growth, inner strength and wisdom – gifts indeed.

What gifts has your life given you by way of challenge?

With very much love,

Gillian.

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