I am going to joyfully be present and acknowledge all of the miracles given to me today.

You are in a crisis. You have your journey and your MLCer has their journey. Theirs is a crisis and it has made a crisis of your marriage and thus your life. The crisis is an adversary. Your MLCer has become an adversary. The alienator is an adversary. Sometimes it seems the world is your adversary. People on the boards, your friends, your church, people on the street…
Today is Thanksgiving—in the United States. It can be hard to find things to be thankful for when it feels as though our entire life is falling apart and we can do nothing about it—or at least we can do nothing about parts of it. So let’s face the crisis and thank it. Scandalous, perhaps, but this is your journey, so make it something for which you want to be thankful.
Today is Thanksgiving—in the United States. It can be hard to find things to be thankful for when it feels as though our entire life is falling apart and we can do nothing about it—or at least we can do nothing about parts of it. So let’s face the crisis and thank it. Scandalous, perhaps, but this is your journey, so make it something for which you want to be thankful.

If the truth is told, things are just as bad as you yourself care to make them.
-Anne Frank: Friday, 14 April, 1944, pg. 188

It is through adversity, suffering, pain, anguish, hardship… whatever you want to call it, that the essence of the magic within our lives from those trivial things to which we cling, it separates that which is genuine from that which has led us astray, bringing us back into our authenticity—the magic of our true Self. But adversity can destroy us too; whether we survive and thrive or allow it to be our end is of our choosing. We break through our adversity when we use it as our motivation to take charge, take back our power and own our experiences as our path toward Self as well as compassion for others. Motivate your Self upward; greatness is within your reach if only you reach.
Honor the teacher, the mentor, the guide that helps you through life and enables you to grow. Give conscious acknowledgement and honor, not lip service. But let’s create a twist in that recommendation. Perhaps you have thanked your favorite coach, your mother, the teacher who smiled and with whom you felt special… But what about the coach who yelled, the teacher who pushed and challenged, what of those who helped you grab your power by challenging you and yet whose methods were not soft and smiling, but who might have scared you, whom you might have avoided, who may have seemed mean or uncaring. What of those whom you rebelled against and in so doing survived and thrived?
And so I encourage you to create something formal some ritual of honor and remembrance to offer gratitude to those in your life who through their challenges and obstacles have encouraged your growth. Thanking our friends and those mentors that help us with smiles of encouragement is normal, perhaps expected and we do it graciously—when we remember. But what of those who showed anger, who bullied, who hurt and insulted us? What of those who meant well, but went about their intentions with hurtful actions? What about those who did not mean well, but whose challenges still enabled you to overcome, to grow, to learn, to survive…
Choose your ritual, but I will make a suggestion and please add your own in the comments.

Crisis Candle

Light a special candle reserved for that person who you have forgotten to thank because the pain has been so great. Give it a name. You can name it with that person’s name, or just call it your crisis candle. Light it and offer gratitude. My candle’s name is George (I actually have a pair). He meant well, but he was not nice. He wanted me to do my mirror work, but he did not say it that way, he said it by insulting me, calling me names, trying to discredit me and arguing with me. He rarely—if ever—conceded and I finally had to cut-off communications. But I love him AnyWay. He was one of my greatest Standing mentors. We debated back-and-forth and it was good for me because he encouraged thinking; I had to end it when he would not stop and he began to make his attacks personal. But that does not discount or discredit the help he gave me. I had other mentors, but he was the most abrasive, the most challenging; he wasn’t about hugs (I’m about hugs), he was about getting up off you’re a$$ and facing the sinner in the mirror—pure Tough Love, but still it was love. I imagine meeting him in person, but I don’t know if I would hug him or hit him, but I do know that I do love I thank him. I light my George candle in remembrance and gratitude, for otherwise my thoughts of George bring my anger to the surface and yet he helped me so much that I want to recall the benefits and bless him.
It is through our sufferings that we learn empathy and compassion and that we are better able to love. We fear such vulnerabilities and yet without vulnerability we are surrounded by walls.
Who or what do you remember with anger, fear or animosity that enabled you to grow? Who or what can you thank and honor by recognizing the positive benefits embedded within criticisms, insults and challenges? I do not want my heart hardened to George or anyone else and by lighting my George candle with thoughts of George I am grateful for the gifts he gave me.

Be the Blessing

And for those of you who are still stuck, who still can’t find the blessings, become the blessing. It is not true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. It can, but many choose to let crisis kill them figuratively and for some even literally. Strength is a choice; we each have personal weaknesses and in part our strength is in relationships—how we cultivate relationships. Cultivate a relationship with God for His he will share his limitless strength. Cultivate a relationship deeper within your Self for you have reserves of which you may not know and your relationship with Self is also a great place for communing with God. Cultivate relationships outside of your Self, away from your isolated bubble of sorrow. Cultivate relationships with nature, plants, animals… Cultivate a relationship with your neighbors, lost friends, someone you pass on the street. Cultivate a relationship with shut-ins, the homeless, the hungry, the sick—a smile can be infectious. Become God’s tool for bringing Grace to others who are also feeling stuck and cannot find their way out.


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