There are certain things I can’t relate to. For instance, I can’t relate to growing up in a war torn country. Nor can I relate to living in an occupied country. Mari can. She spent the first 32 years of her life living in Estonia, which was under Russian occupation at the time. I also can’t relate to living in a communist country or one ruled by a fascist dictator. I can relate to living in a country where the government seems more intent on serving itself than the people it was democratically elected to serve, but this isn’t nearly as bad.
I also can’t relate to growing up in a home where there was abuse … physical, sexual or otherwise. We did experience harsh punishment, but this was considered normal parenting at the time. Nor can I relate to being abandoned by one or both of my parents, having to deal with an alcoholic parent or one in jail. I can’t imagine how difficult this would be.
What I can relate to though, is hardship. I believe we are all meant to experience some sort of hardship, be it in our living situation, our career, our relationships, our finances or our health. And this hardship is meant to consume us or inspire us. We can succumb to it or we can rise above it.
In the last year, we have had two notable examples of this polarity. Nelson Mandela was clearly inspired by his hardships, while Robin Williams was sadly consumed by his. Hardship is part of the deal. It is part of the flow of life and we’re all subject to it. The question is, how we react to it, what we learn from it and whether we grow or not.
I believe that ultimately hardship is meant to guide us to one thing and that is the truth of our existence. It is meant to teach us about our true authentic selves. That we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and that we are pure love and light and everything else we may feel or experience, like fear, anger and bitterness, is just thoughts. It’s not real and it’s not who we really are.
I spent most of the first 55 years of my life being consumed by what I perceived to be hardship. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve started to understand the truth. And herein lies the second level of awareness, and that is, hardship is simply a perception. We believe we are experiencing hardship because we judge it so. The truth is, it is simply experience, perhaps one that we would prefer not to have, but experience nonetheless.
So remember, in any difficult situation, you have two choices. First, you can choose to view it without judgment [you can simply consider it as experience] and second, you can choose to be consumed or inspired by it. Realizing you have these choices is in itself empowering and inspiring.
Have an awesomely inspiring day!