Challenge is a necessary part of life. And no one is exempt. That includes people like author-teacher extraordinaire Jean Houston. Being “famous” didn’t allow her to opt out of the process. So here are some of her conclusions after meeting difficult times:
1. “It is absolutely essential to look at what happened in fresh ways. A change in perspective can lead to the way out.”
2. “As much as you can, stop mentally re-living what happened that was so painful. As long as you focus on the pain, you will have pain. When you look for a broader landscape, you open yourself to potent opportunities for growth that await you.” While this is particularly difficult to do when working through grief, it is an essential part of our growth. Acceptance is part of the lesson inherent in grief, which makes Jean’s next suggestion even more important.
3. Jean suggests asking “hard questions,” such as: “Are you in a cauldron of pain or a chalice of opportunity?”
4. “Then try to re-frame the event so you can see it from a broader point of view. If you can do this, you open yourself to the activity of grace.”
Jean concludes, as have many others, that “personal wounding opens us, as nothing else can, to the larger reality that we all contain. Suffering cracks the boundaries of what we thought we could stand. Yet, through those cracks sprout the seeds of our growth and transformation and, yes, even the larger meaning of what happened.”
Speaking from my own experience, that “larger meaning” is always there, and it is drawing you to it with a love beyond description.