“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
Joseph Campbell says in Reflections on the Art of Living, “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves, when life seems most challenging. . . . Negativism to the pain and ferocity of life is negativism to life. . . . We are not there until we can say yes to it all. P. 20
Note: The saying, used by many who exercise, “no pain no gain” is also true in other aspects of life. Our greatest life lessons come from the moments of great challenges. We will be challenged. Challenges are unavoidable. The best way to deal with challenges is to go through them. When we face our challenges head on, we come out, stronger, more resilient, and wiser.
Four years ago I planted a fig tree. My fig tree withstood the brutal freeze that hit south Texas two years ago. It withstood an ice storm this year. It lost some branches in the process, but it bounced back. Right now it is loaded with an abundant crop of figs. I picked my first figs yesterday and savored every bite. My fig tree is a good example for us. It handles the tough times, it bounces back, and it continues to produce abundant fruit. Never quit. Never give up.
“What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.”
NOTE: What we do with what we’ve experienced makes all the difference in our lives. We can allow negative experiences to fill us with bitterness and anger. We can also allow negative experiences to teach us lessons we would not have otherwise learned. We can transform our negative experiences into something that creates good. Our positive experiences are the foundation blocks of our confidence. Recall these positive moments and build on them.
Think about the toughest time you’ve experienced then ask yourself, ‘What can I learn from this experience?’ There are profound lessons to discover in each of our tough experiences. We learn these lessons because we survived the tough experience. We may have been wounded. We may always carry the scars from the experience. The scars remind us of our strength and resilience. The scars remind us of what we’ve learned. The scars remind us how we were able to transform something negative and painful into something positive and beneficial.
“All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.”
When we go to school we have a prescribed set of knowledge to learn. We’re tested on the knowledge and given a grade. In many ways we really never stop going to school. Each day of life we are given lessons to learn. Sometimes the lessons are hard and we suffer in learning them. Other times, the lessons are easy if we’re willing to listen. The more willing we are to learn life’s lessons when life teaches them to us, the more easily we’re able to navigate our way through life. It takes a willingness to learn and an open mind to see and learn life’s lessons.
We’ve all been wounded. For some, the wounds are open and bleeding. For others, the wounds are hidden, but they are there. Is it time to look compassionately at our wounds and cease blaming ourselves? Is it time to love the wounds into healing? Is it time to transform the wounds into lessons to nurture one’s growth?
One can fail, rise, and try again and again. If one gives up, the door closes, the shades drawn. and the lights are turned off. Failure offers a lesson, learn the lesson, apply the lesson and move on. Keep moving forward. Don’t waste a moment looking back. Today is what you have, but tomorrow is jam packed with promise.
M Taught Me to Learn From Unavoidable Suffering
Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:
“Can you see what’s happening, Ray? You’re not stuck. A grateful heart heals, renews, and recreates. Remember what Saint Teresa of Ávila said: ‘All things are passing; God never changes, patience obtains all things.’ Don’t be afraid of suffering. It’s unavoidable. You can do nothing to make it go away. It has a life of its own. You did not purposely will this suffering upon yourself. It happened. It happened as it will happen to everyone. It is part of the human condition. We can push aside all thoughts of it to some remote canyon in Texas, but it waits patiently, knowing its time will come. Instead of suffering being a curse, think of your unavoidable suffering as a wonderful gift to help you become a more loving and compassionate person. If you’re willing, you will see the lessons it is teaching you.”
Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/
Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright