Finding the Gift in Hard Times

April 19, 2013

Life has its challenges. No one is exempt from disappointments and hard times. How do we come through these moments and phases of our lives without hardening our hearts? After the emotions have cleared, how do we reconcile within so we do not bear a scar? AND how do we teach this to our children? It’s all in how we respond to what is happening from the inside and on the outside.

When something victimizing happens, it does not have to make you a victim. You can choose to respond with your heart and your Divine inner power to find the gift, the blessing, the enrichment. In this way, the circumstances lift and build you up rather than tear you down and diminish your spirit. And before we can impart this to our children, we will need to incorporate this perspective into our own way of living.

My life has brought many challenges…estrangement from family, depression, sexual assault on myself and others close to me, a painful, drawn out divorce, watching dementia consume people I love, and death, just to name a few. Every time I knew I had to reach deeper, open my heart wider to find something, anything with which to sustain myself. Looking for the gift each time kept me afloat; a personal floatation device, you could say.

Then there are the more common disappointments in life. With time, I’ve come to see these as blessings in disguise. The job I didn’t get left me available for the awesome one when it did arrive. Not getting to have the two additional children I wanted gave me more time to support and nurture the two I am blessed with. My divorce gave me an opportunity to recreate my entire life.

Sometimes the gift is subtle and needs time to be seen. Other examples of gifts I’ve received are:
• Compassion for others
• Wisdom to share with others having a similar experience
• Deeper understanding of myself
• Believing in grace

We pass this perspective and life skill to our children by our example and sharing. Helping them to see what they have been given, is a gift of resilience they can use all their life. Even if they do not ‘get it’ the same way we do, it is a seed that is planted in their minds and hearts that will grow.

And if you are unsure of how to teach this to your children…reach into your heart, listen for wisdom and let it speak. A favorite approach I have when I am uncertain of what to say to my girls, is to ask them questions and let the wisdom come from them.

How do you feel about that?
Is there anything you want to do about it?
How can I help/support you?

These are opening questions. Being fully present to their answers naturally guides me to the next thing to ask as I witness them finding their own way. This is not a scripted conversation. This approach works best when being fully present, listening with your heart, and being patient to see what comes forth.

Then, there are the worldwide tragedies that unite us and bring a gift. As people around the world grieved the death of Princess Diana, violent crimes rates dropped around the globe. On 9/11, New Yorkers came together to help one another in numerous acts of selflessness. And of course, with the Boston Marathon this week, the world watched as people aided one another and united us all as humanity. These are gifts in tragedy our children can witness outside to aid them in finding the gifts in their own lives.

God/Spirit/Goddess gives us freewill and does not micro-manage our lives, however, the power of Love gifts us with the opportunity to make good things happen from whatever tragedy or challenge comes into our lives. Love and Spirit empower us to persevere, survive and thrive! It’s all up to us and how we chose to see it, live it, respond to it. What an amazing lifetime gift to pass on to our children!

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