Monday, March 2, 2015

When Obstacles Become Our Partners in a Car Chase to Enlightenment

Photo of the author by Kristen Harker

By Nicole Caldwell, originally published at Elephant Journal March 2, 2015

Perception transforms experience. How one looks at the world, alters that world wholly.

In the Better Theory, what most people see as the negative—pain, struggles, mishaps—are actually tools to enlightenment. Crisis teaches us cool. Pain teaches us pleasure. Loss teaches us love. Every negative we face is a potential guide we are wise to pay attention to.
We generally consider hardships to be disadvantages—experiences to be loathed and avoided at all costs. With this conventional wisdom, anything that is difficult or painful works against us. Yet history tells a different story:
Albert Einstein didn’t start speaking until he was four. Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school when he was 10 because his parents couldn’t afford his education. Ella Fitzgerald—along with other celebrities like Halle Berry, Jewel, Dr. Phil, Jim Carrey, Harry Houdini and Charlie Chaplin—experienced homelessness. Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times. Oprah Winfrey was sexually abused as a child and became pregnant at 14. Beethoven lost his hearing at the peak of his musical career.
What do we gain if we look at the next tough decision or challenge as an opportunity to grow? To learn? To make different choices? To start something new?
Without struggle, hardship or broken hearts there would be no music. No art. Without the blues there would be no Billie Holiday. No Ray Charles. No Hank Williams, Elvis Presley or Etta James. Without the blues we’d be without Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Picasso. Bad stuff that happens is the grit in our bellies we can choose to use as fuel for our creative process.
continue reading this piece at Elephant Journal

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