3-3-19 Growing Through Adversity

Growing Through Adversity

Adversity is when something happens that we do not want to happen, or when we lose something
important to us. We may be able to recognize a habit energy that we have of needing something (a drink, a drug, food, other people…) to feel safe or complete. We can learn that we really don’t need that; we are complete just as we are, and can add positive things to our lives only when we come from a place of not needing. We can begin to realize how much we do have, and that it’s more than enough. 

Our addiction has kept us in a jail cell of selfishness and disconnect from the world and others. We can begin (and we need only to begin and continue), opening our hearts and minds to the possibility that we are Worthy of being happy; that a deeper connection with our world and ourselves is possible.

If none of us had grown and learned some from our adversity, we would not be here now. As the African proverb goes, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I wouldn’t pass it around. Wouldn’t be doing anybody a favor. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t say embrace trouble. That’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say, meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

People and circumstances can enrich our lives, or can make life harder, but neither outside enrichment nor adversity defines who I am, or what my possibilities are.  Adversity is a window into seeing what we believe defines us, and understanding that to be false.

When sorrow comes, we have no right to ask “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.

When difficulty arises, we acknowledge it and let it be as it is. We don’t try to fix or avoid it; both of these only enlarge the difficulty. Blame and resentments, towards others or ourselves, will only expand that difficulty and promote negativity. We need to realize that when we have a resentment or blame someone or something for our problems, it’s a means of feeling sorry for ourselves AND pointing a finger at the culprit. Know that you are always responsible for your serenity. Protect it. 

Whenever we can drop a resentment, at another or ourselves, we feel a useless weight fall away, and our vision and heart begin to clear. We recognize that another may have acted in a way that distressed us, and not blame them, but instead have Compassion for the pain or fear they’re experiencing. This is one example of what is meant by “getting out of ourselves.” No, it is not all about me (none of it is), but it takes new behavior to realize this. To get over rolling around in the rich, smelly, POOR ME mud. Only then can we move forward.

“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” Voltaire

I saw a picture of a child who was a skeleton. Just skin and bones, and probably a day or two from dying. It has stayed with me, and reminds me that I do not have any real problems. And that it’s important that I do what I can to help the world and those with real problems, as much as I can. I need to feel healthy so I can help others, but not for my own petty, superficial pleasures. How we are able to help others will vary. We can start with not gossiping. We can release our resentments, hold doors open for others, control our anger and selfishness. These “small” things have a large effect.

When you feel the tightness of resentment or judgement, breathe deeply, relax your shoulders and let go of as much of the poison as you can. Feel the goodness and compassion that you possess and are willing to extend to others. Open your heart. Doing this takes courage. But if you start choosing, many times a day, to release any negativity and replace it with a sense of acceptance and appreciation for your life and the present moment, your attitude and life force will grow and blossom. Quit frowning, take your eyes off your personal little mud puddle, look up and see the amazing world you are missing, and smile. Be strong enough to be soft. If you don’t know how to begin, ask someone for help.

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.”  Rona Barrett

Noticing small things helps. When I am agitated or mourning, I can take a walk and clear my head by noticing, with my senses (not my mind), all there is to see, hear, feel, taste and smell. I walk slowly and with the purpose of only experiencing the world as it is.

We need to mourn or truly feel our pain in order to be able to let go. To let go is to acknowledge what our experience is, engage with it in a healthy manner, and open up to all the other possibilities. Possibilities that were there but we could not see because of the “ME!” blinders we had on.

The simple act of mindfulness, paying attention, in meditation and in the physical things we do in life, has an amazing effect on simply being present in what is. Being present, not self-engaged, is the only place that we can touch our spiritual center.

“I smile when I look back at the troubles that have strengthened me. What seemed to be
insurmountable struggles then, are now beautiful ornaments illuminating my soul.” Dodinsky

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart of Recovery web site – fcheartofrecovery.com