9 03 2010

Zen: “People are like tea bags. We can only tell how strong they are when we put them in hot water.”

Why is it that it takes an enormous challenge for us to wake up and make a shift in our lives? We all know stories of people in dramatic situations overcoming great obstacles and coming out strong. We also know that some people in the same situation fall tremendously and sometimes even ruin their lives. We look at the same situation and see two different outcomes.
We can look at two sisters who have gone through a gruesome rape, a nightmare for any girl. One sisters tells everyone her bitter story, hates men and becomes angrier as the years go on. She’s difficult to be around because even her posture says, “pity me, I’m a victim.”

The other sister becomes an educator and inspirational teacher, starts a campaign to help rape victims and starts a self defense school for women. It’s the same story but two completely different outcomes.
My grandparents were in the holocaust. They both went through one of the worst experiences in human history.

My grandmother never talked about her experience. She was very nervous all the time and everything seemed to set her off. My grandfather shared stories for hours. He talked about his old life in Europe and the miracles that happened to him during the worst nightmare of his life. He always sang and played with us, sharing his love for life. He made me see the positive side of situations all the time.

Victims will always do one or all of three things. The first one is they will never take responsibility for the events in their lives. They will find someone or something to blame for what they are going through. The second thing victims will do is justify why they are or are not doing something. They will make sound excuses for every event in their lives. The third thing victims do is complain about everything. They look at the bad in the situation instead of the blessings.

My mother had a stroke when I was seven years old. She was in the hospital for almost two years. About six months after her stroke was the first time I was able to see her. When I walked into the room I was staring at a complete stranger. I was looking at a shrunken, broken and what looked like old body. My mother was completely wired up, paralyzed almost entirely except for six percent function of her right side. I was terrified to even approach her but was pushed gently toward her by my aunt. I remember thinking at that point that I’m an orphan. At first I felt betrayed, angry, alone, abandoned and scared as to who was going to take care of me. From the moment I walked into that room my thoughts were, “I’m an orphan.” I kept wondering and trying to figure out how I will survive this ordeal. I asked myself “who will take care of me? Who will take care of my mother?” The answer was clear. Nobody would take care of me and I would take care of my mother. Our roles were forever reversed. Instead of her being my caregiver, I was her’s. My childhood seemed to be ripped away from me in a moment in time.

For many years I walked around feeling cheated. On the outside I told everyone what an amazing mother I had, but that was because I was more interested in the opinion of what others would think of me if I’d say anything different.

But after many years of feeling cheated, betrayed and abandoned I started to see the beauty and greatness of my mother. I was also grateful to have had this awesome opportunity as a child to learn such incredible skills and to understand what it means to give.

I also began to really look at my mother. I saw a woman who from the age of thirteen had some kind of severe health problem. She had rhomatic fever when she was thirteen years old and that caused weak valves in her heart. She had an aneurism in her brain that burst at age eighteen, a stroke at age thirty four and congenital heart failure at age fifty one, ultimately leading to her death three months later. I don’t think I ever heard her complain even once. She was the “It” person that people flocked to, to hear her laugh, her wisdom or get a wif of her calmness. My mother became my biggest inspiration and role model and remains so to this day. I learnt to see the blessings in every situation. I cherished the beauty in this incredible person who I was lucky enough to call my mother and I also learnt to see the blessings in my own situation.

A few years ago I ended up with type 1Diabetes. I at first felt unconsolable. It was as if my life was over. I felt punished for something I didn’t do and tried everything I could to get rid of what I thought of as a horrible monster in my body.
Because of this challenge I’ve been forced to face, I was introduced to yoga, teachers like Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson and Ekhart Tolle to name a few. My heart opened and my growth expanded. How can I feel upset to these great gifts. I now get to share and be a bridge for what has helped me evolved into the warrior I am today. I transformed myself from a victim to a warrior. If I did it, so can you.
Take the challenges you are going through and one by one list the events that have transpired since the struggle began. Can you find the blessing? If you can’t look harder. Don’t focus on the struggle. Focus on the blessings.

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