Opportunities In Disguise

Sometime in January, while having coffee to discuss an upcoming teacher training, the conversation between myself and my teacher Gurupriya Beth Sanchez seemed to take a bit of detour. In the midst of discussing the curriculum, our individual needs as facilitators, as well as the anticipated needs of our students, the conversation turned towards more personal aspects of our lives. Specifically, we began to discuss our own histories of injury and the process of recovery.

For full disclosure, I don’t recall exactly where I was in my own journey of recovery. There have been times when I have felt optimistic about the progress I have been making, felt okay with where I was on that journey, felt completely heartbroken and hopeless that things would never get better, or felt immensely ashamed that I was injured in the first place. With regards to the later, in such instances I would often hear a thought that said something like “You are unworthy to teach anybody anything as you are broken and probably were the source of your own brokenness.”

Again for full transparency, these are not moments that I am particularly proud of. Nor are they easy moments to navigate as they make it challenging for me to sit authentically in the seat of the teacher for often my message attempts to be one of hope that conveys the sentiment that “things will get better.” Fortunately, while the frequency of these moments of self-inflicted emotional abuse are less than what they used to be, these types of thoughts do occasionally pop up and rear their negative heads. However, with each occurrence, I feel that I am getting better at disarming them and feel less devastated by the strength of these negative thought waves.

That being said, while in conversation with Gurupriya, I recall her sharing with me a motto, or mantra if you will, that has helped her both through her own healing journey as well as through many other unexpected experiences in life. Specifically, she said that when things come up she reminds herself that “I am never given more than I can handle.” For her, this belief, this inner conviction, gives her the strength to joyfully face whatever life presents to her as an opportunity for her to grow.

This motto – I am never given more than I can handle – returned to my consciousness while reading Why People Don’t Heal And How They Can by Caroline Myss. Specifically within this text Myss argues that one of the things that hinders the healing process is the belief – whether conscious or unconscious – that “I did something bad to deserve this.” This ideology is commonly expressed with phrases such as “bad things happen to bad people” and “what goes around comes around.” Such thoughts lead one to perceive an injury, illness, or set-back as confirmation that they (or someone else) must have done something bad to cause this “bad” thing to enter into one’s life.

As an alternative, Myss suggests that if we were able to reframe how we view illness (and I would like to extend this out to include any type of perceived “set-back” or “obstacle”) we might be able to see them not only as opportunities for growth, but also as answers to silent prayers. By this Myss suggests that on some level, all injuries, illnesses, and perceived set-backs present us with opportunities to grow on a spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and/or professional level.

So the questions I have for you, the questions I am asking of myself, are these: What is life attempting to call forth from you through your current life circumstances? What would it take to consider the possibility that you didn’t do anything “wrong” that has caused anything that you might perceive as an obstacle or set back? What would you need to shift mentally, emotionally, physically, or professionally to trust that you are never given more than you can handle and that you can handle whatever is present in this moment? And lastly, what belief patterns might you need to relinquish (or adopt) in order to contemplate the possibility that nothing – including the “bad” stuff – is happening to you and instead everything is happening for you so that a bigger, brighter, happier, and healthier you can be revealed?