by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
One of the things that I’ve been working on recently is the acceptance of what is. I’m trying to become one who bends but does not break. One who is calm no matter how fierce the storm rather than being a fart in a whirlwind. Most of my life, I’ve been the latter, although in recent months, I’ve been moving more towards the former.
My life has taken me unusual places. Often the path that I have trod to get to those places has not been the easiest route. I do realize, of course, that those difficult paths have been the direct result of choices that I’ve made. Sometimes the difficulty has arisen because I have been known argue with reality rather than making friends with it. This has led to a lot of judgment in my life about that which is good and that which is bad.
Still, recently I’ve come to realize something. It seems that when an event occurs – no matter how obviously good or bad it seems – I can’t judge whether it is truly “good” or “bad” because I don’t have a crystal ball I can use to gaze into the future and see the gifts that ultimately come when I experience difficult events in my life.
I have a few examples of this – some mundane and some more profound.
Recently, a friend’s daughter and son-in-law experienced a flood in their apartment from water that rained down on them from above. The daughter and son-in-law were, quite naturally, distraught until my friend pointed this out to them: “You may see a wet couch, but I see a new living room set.”
You see, this young newly-wed couple had been talking about getting a new living room set. If you’ve ever been young and newly married, you may have some recollection of what a big expenditure this can seem.
The next example is a little more profound.
The community in which I live recently experienced a tragic loss. A few weeks ago, a sheriff’s deputy responding to a domestic violence call struck an elk and was killed instantly. He had a wife and a young family, and his death shocked and saddened the entire community. An officer who dies in the line of duty is always a tragic loss, there’s no doubt about it. A life cut short is always a tragic loss.
This man was an organ donor. When they went in to harvest his organs, however, they discovered that he was filled with pancreatic cancer run amok. He would only have had a very short and painful time to live.
We don’t know which things are good and which things are bad. Childhood abuse may lead to increased strength and resiliency as an adult. A lost job may open you up to finding your life’s purpose. A painful breakup just may lead you towards being joyfully single – or an amazing relationship.
It has been my experience that each of my life’s moments has led to another and another in a path that only I can walk. It hasn’t always been easy along the way – but whenever I’ve experienced a loss there has always also been gain if I have allowed myself to find it.
There are a lot if cliches that I could use. Every cloud has a silver lining. When one door closes, another opens. When we are in the depths of pain and despair, those platitudes can sound trite, irrelevant, and even cruel. Still – if you take a moment in the midst of pain to center in on yourself without the story that you have about the pain….”I will never see him again.” “No one will ever love me again.” “I am such a loser for losing my job.” “I will lose my home because I have no money.” “I will be a bag lady on the streets.”… you just may find a place of peace and grace.
I have found that when I remove the story that I am telling myself and I ask, who am I and how am I, there are peaceful answers there. I am just me. Sitting wherever I happen to be sitting. And, as difficult as it may be to believe or feel, I’m okay. The worst has happened, and I’m okay in that very moment. I remain okay until my thoughts slip back in and start driving the ship.
It’s easy to get stuck in a place where we look at life as a series of losses, and as a trail of tears over what we don’t have or what we can’t have. We get so caught up in the pain of that point of view that we forget to view what we do have. I’ve done this and I still do it. I can’t have this – what is wrong with me? I don’t have this and I should. Sometimes when I am in that place, it helps to start small – especially when it feels as if everything is falling apart. Really small. I breathe and I do it pretty darn well. I have a good laugh. My kitchen is clean. The sun is shining today and warms my skin. The rain is falling and makes the air smell clean. I am a good friend. I love my pets. I love my family.
I can only speak of myself and my life. Here’s what I have come to know. The pains of my past that I’ve chosen to carry with me from one event to another and from one day to another is a stick that I have picked up and used to beat myself repeatedly. Those beatings are tremendously painful. But I’m the one who is standing there with the stick in my hand. Only I can choose to put it down and walk away unfettered. Will it be a good thing or a bad thing if I do? The outcome is always up to me and the world that I choose to experience.