Friday 11 June 2010

Blessing the challenge

I have to be honest here: I sometimes feel as though I've had more than my fair share of problems and challenges.  But then, I imagine everyone does.  Just as the mundane is part of life, so too are challenges.  And every single time something doesn't work out as I had planned, hoped and dreamt, I feel a sense of failure.

However, I'm learning to reframe that idea.  Challenges are indeed a part of life.  The blessing inherent in challenges is that they invite us to grow.  They demand that we ask questions we could never have imagined prior to the challenge; they allow us to access new wisdom, new ideas and new actions. 

Challenges also soften us: when we have walked through our fears and doubts, we develop more compassion for others as they face their fears and doubts.  We begin to understand that, although our experiences are unique to us, others share similar stories. 

Challenges ask us to shed an old skin, just like snakes do (4-8 times a year!).  We are offered the opportunity to expand, to open up and to experience beingness more richly than before. 

Of course, we can back away.  We can try gluing the old skin back on, even as it desperately tries to free itself and allow the new to emerge.  The result?  Even bigger challenges emerge, for we cannot remain stagnant.  Growth and development is as inevitable for us as it is for the acorn that grows to a sappling and then to an oak.

By reframing challenges, by seeing them not in human terms as fail or succeed, but by imagining them as opportunities to experience life more fully, I find a gentle comfort.  I'm no longer in the fail/succeed bind, which always stops me short, as I fear the shame attached to failure. 

Reframing challenges allows me to experience the moment, rather than judge the outcome.

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