Something really surprising came to light in my family yesterday.
So our Thanksgiving gathering will be very different than originally expected. And it is really going to be ok. Painful, but ok. After all, pain is an inevitable part of life. As are unrealized expectations.
As my dad pointed out this morning, I’ve changed a lot. Particularly when it comes to expectations and adversity.
I know for an absolute certainty that with the challenges we are facing today comes the opportunity to grow and change in good ways, as individuals and as a family. We can harness the difficult experiences so that our souls can be opened toward even more transformation. This is the meaning of “trial by fire.” It doesn’t make the process less painful, but it does give me hope. Lots of hope.
So I wanted to share the following blog post with my prayer that if you are facing adversity and unrealized expectations this Thanksgiving week, you will find a way to open your heart to the opportunity that this might be bringing into your life.
It reminds me of Rumi’s Guest House and what a challenge that poem gave me when I first discovered it over 5 years ago:
Welcome everything? Be grateful for it all? Really?
I don’t say this tritely nor do I seek to diminish the very real pain so many are struggling through.
I simply offer this perspective and hope that it will bring you comfort.
“Something that I’ve seen over and over again is that we tend to think – I tend to think – that life ‘should’ be easy. But it’s not. M. Scott Peck reminds us in his GENIUS book ‘The Road Less Traveled’ that ‘life is difficult. And when we accept that life is difficult, it ceases to be difficult.’”
Let’s just say for the sake of this blog that we are going to assume that life is d
ifficult. There are setbacks. There are trials. Things aren’t always going to go our way. We make mistakes. We mess up. We don’t get it right. We experience failure. We experience lack. We experience rejection and doubt and worry and fear. Not everyone is going to accept us. Not everyone is going to like us. Not everyone is going to agree with us.
But what of it? What if we just assumed, acknowledged and recognized that these are all a natural part of the human experience? And if that were the case, wouldn’t our time be so much better spent in acceptance of this rather than denial or some arrogant assumption that we shouldn’t be prone to Life as it is? Notice, I didn’t say TOLERATE… I said ACCEPT. We must first accept things before we can change them. We must first accept there is a problem, or an addiction, or a shortcoming or a mistake before we can change it. Tolerance of something isn’t what I’m talking about. Things need to change, but we can’t change what we can’t accept.
And acceptance in all of this, especially since we know that there will be things in life that will be difficult to accept. Wouldn’t it be so much better to bring a grateful att
itude to the opportunity to transform our world and our lives? If we can accept that life is difficult, then we’ve gotten over a great big inner hurdle where a part of us thinks otherwise. Then, instead of bringing entitlement, arrogance, denial or victimhood to life, we can bring gratitude for the opportunity to change and transform.
Marianne Williamson once told me that we cannot transform something if we are judging it. If we judge life as too difficult, too hard, too annoying, too (fill in the blank), then we have no energy to transform it.
Change is difficult. Life is difficult. But what of it? This is how it has been since the beginning of time. So, what inevitable difficulties can you be grateful for today?”