Somehow Everything Serves Me

Does this seem like a radical statement and unlikely to be true? Is it enough to shy away from even reading this post or is there a chance that you hope that it is true and want to know more?

For the majority of my life I would have said ‘yes’, it is a radical statement and ‘yes’, it’s unlikely to be true. I would have followed that up with answering that ‘yes’, it is enough to make me move on and ‘no’, I don’t want to know any more. I know enough already.

I felt it would take a major shift to change my outlook, one I did not believe was possible.

I’d suffered numerous outcomes in my life that I could broadly describe as ‘bad or negative’. Things had happened that hurt me and distanced me from others. I’d fallen and failed and frozen in place and thought to myself, what good can ever come from ‘this’, whatever ‘this’ was.

Perhaps you’ve experienced your own challenges, pain, frustration and resentments in your life. Many are probably the ‘fault’ of others or fall loosely into the category, ‘it is what it is’. Some problems may be the result of actions you’ve taken or not taken. Others are because of words exchanged, sometimes in the heat of the moment.

When I first considered the statement that, ‘somehow everything serves me’, I wondered, how could this be true? How could something so painful or which felt so wrong, ever offer me any benefit or value?

I discovered that asking this question out loud or thinking it inside of me was a part of the wall that separated me from an answer. Asking this implies, at least to some extent, that I don’t believe that everything could possibly serve me. And, if I already held that opinion, there was no room for any benefit or value to show itself.

There was another hurdle to jump over.

What did the statement mean to me when it said, ‘serves me?’ Did that mean that there should be some obvious connection I could see that linked a ‘negative’ experience with an eventual ‘positive’ result? And, how exactly would I be ‘served’? Would I even notice?

I find I learn best when I have an example to follow. I promised myself to remain open to the idea that it could be possible that somehow everything serves me. I promised to be observant, during the search and afterward, in watching for the benefit or value as it was brought my way.

I felt it would be a good idea to choose something big as my example. Something with a little meat on it. It turns out that wasn’t all that difficult.

I lost my job. By lost, I mean that it was taken away from me. One day I had it and the next day I didn’t. I’ve read that this rates as the #5 most stressful experience in life and I can see why. It changes everything; financial, emotional, social, intellectual, physical, you name it.

I confess my initial reaction was one of being totally overwhelmed, and I believe that tears were involved. There was only the very smallest part of me that held out any hope that this might ‘serve me’.

I came to realize that it’s possible to stand too close to a situation and that you have to take a few steps backward to be able to see clearly.

As the days went by, I kept my promise to remain open. I allowed myself to grieve and release the heavy weight of my emotions then move on with a watchful eye. I found that I could stand far enough away and make decisions that would help move me forward. I took a critical look at our finances and made sweeping changes. I opened to receive an offer for a new job, even though it wasn’t a part of my original plan. I made concessions and tried to rewrite my story.

Months passed and there they were, sitting right in front of me. A whole host of benefits. I had a new job which offered me the chance for achievable results. I had dramatically reduced my work stress level and responsibilities. I had the chance to revise our finances, which set us up for a better future forecast. And best of all, I found a way to retire years before I would have, had I stayed at my old job. This allowed me to spend more time with Maureen and to share in the radiance of babysitting our granddaughter, and then our grandson.

I’ve discovered that, no matter what example I choose, the outcome is the same. I am served by everything that happens to me in my life. This doesn’t mean that everything is rosy and bright. It’s work, most of the time. But, it is work with a huge payoff, far greater than I’d ever thought possible.

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A Sense of Fairness

Often it seems that fairness is hard to come by. We are apt to judge by so many different standards that arriving at any agreement becomes difficult. It can make you wonder if there is such a thing as fairness.

I’m pretty sure the whole idea starts out early in life, as if we were born with an inner sense of what could be considered fair. Watching children for even a short period of time it’s likely you’ll spot this. I think most parents would say it happens every day. One child has a toy the other wants and an argument breaks out or one of the children rips the toy from the others hand and runs away, each one shouting, “it’s not fair”.

I’m not sure that any of us ever outgrows some version of this.

We seem to have an expectation that life will be fair. Why is this? Who is it that made this promise to us, as if the world owes each one of this valuable gift?

When the balance tips and we sense injustice, it hurts. We feel it most keenly when we act in a certain way, using our idea of good behavior. We anticipate or expect a reward and if we don’t receive it, we may claim that life is not fair because, after all we’ve done our part.

This happens all throughout our lives. At home, in school, at work and in our relationships.

Maybe part of the challenge is that we don’t all use the same definitions of the word ‘fair’. One dictionary says that ‘fair’ is defined as, ‘acting in accordance with rules or standards’.

I can certainly see how this creates a problem. Whose rules are we talking about? And who is in charge of setting up the standards? If we end up with numerous rules and standards, how could there ever be any hope that there would be only ONE way to measure fairness?

Maybe it’s time to take a step back.

There seems to me to be a short, medium and long view here.

In the short view, we have two basic choices, we either complain about a situation or we accept it. In the medium view, we may choose to try to find ways to change a situation and arrive at a better sense of fairness. A negotiation of sorts.

I wonder if there is a long view we can take. One that supposes that life is operating on a grander scale than we can see. That fairness is bigger and broader than we thought.

Three questions pop up for me.

Do I actually know all of the facts involved so that I can make a determination about fairness? Not even remotely likely. There are just too many things I may not know.

At what point is it wise for me disregard my opinion about fairness, if it makes me unhappy? After all, I don’t have control over every outcome. If it’s more important to lead a happy satisfied life, maybe it doesn’t matter as much about my perception of fairness.

And the most important question is who can I turn to for some insight and inspiration?

My answer is always the same, the divine. For me, it is the part of (god) I call Lia (love in action). When I asked her for guidance about fairness, she asked me to trust that everything in life ‘serves me’, no matter how it looks at the time and that there is always an underlying love that threads through every action.

To truly understand, I need examples. Maybe you do too, so here is a quick one.

I invariably pick the slow lane at the grocery check-out, which can feel unfair. If I step back I recognize this is a feeling, not a fact and that if it makes me unhappy, that is my choice, but not a wise one nor worth the cost. And if I look a bit deeper, I notice that, while I am waiting I see more. I have a chance to slow down and breathe and make eye contact with others. I can even close my eyes and call Lia to me and savor my connection to the divine.

So, it’s okay with me if I end up in the slow lane because I’m changing the name now to – the savor lane.

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