Have you noticed how much happiness you can gain out of sorrow? I know this sounds like a riddle but it is so often true; and it’s a truism that I try to help my clients see when their hearts are breaking.
Some of the best and most cherished things in my life have been borne out of what on the face of it looked like a very bad thing indeed. If I had known then that those awful circumstances, those sorrows, were actually the foundation for future happiness would I have moved through them more quickly, with more peace, with more grace, more trust in the universe? I like to think I would.
If I had known that a broken engagement that left me living in a foreign country without family with nothing other than the clothes on my back would eventually mean that I was free to meet and marry the absolute love of my life, I think that would have helped. At the time of course all I could think was “This shouldn’t be happening to me”.
If I had known when I was in the miserable depths of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, bedridden, unable to work and desperate to heal that I would find a way to wellness that was so empowering that I would then coach others back to a life of vitality that would have made it so much easier to cope with. At the time of course all I could think was “This shouldn’t be happening to me”.
That when we lost not one but two pregnancies and then had an ongoing cancer scare on top of that, if I had known that it would bring our marriage even closer and bring a new appreciation for our childfree spontaneous existence that has brought a lot of fun and travel into our lives, that would have helped. At the time, in the horror, of course all I could think was “This shouldn’t be happening to me”.
And so on.
At the time we can be so overwhelmed by the sheer shittyness of a situation it’s all but impossible to see anything positive coming out of it at all, ever. I love the way Mary Oliver (my favourite poet and all round quotemeister) describes it:
“Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that, this too, was a gift”
Some of my most favourite and treasured people, things, experiences in my life have actually been born out of the toughest and most miserable of times. I am sure this is absolutely true for you too. So: if you are going through a tough time right now think about the possibility that your current struggle just might, in some mysterious incomprehensible way, be building you a magical foundation for something really special and fabulous. You just can’t see it yet. But just knowing that it might be there, glinting away in your future, can make the tough times a whole lot easier to bear.