In 2014, my cat had a stroke, rendering her blind and deaf with little memory left. On the advice of my vet, I made the difficult decision to have her euthanized. Her death was one among a sea of losses, which seemed to arrive all at once. That year, due to mounting expenses, I felt compelled to sell my home. This came on the heels of closing my business, which resulted in considerable financial loss. That same year, my literary agent died, and I parted ways with my then romantic partner who’d been by my side for more than a decade.
The losses stretched their way into the 2015 tax season when I opened a letter from the IRS and thought for sure that I was being audited. After checking with my CPA, I learned that I had not yet filed my tax return, and was the victim of identity theft.
You may wonder, how did I respond in the aftermath of these challenges? I was anxious, depressed and underwent many sleepless nights. I cried. My heart felt broken. In spite of that, however, I woke up every morning and took care of everything that required my attention. This period reminded me that the “dung” of life is what makes the flowers grow.
When I was able to relax around the harshness I was experiencing, I remembered that life was guiding me through this storm. Yes, my cat had died, but it offered me an opportunity to travel and move to a new home. A relationship ended, but the love I experienced would be with me forever, and had already strengthened a wonderful new relationship. One literary agent was gone, but another soon came who was perfectly suited for who I am today. Even the loss of my identity reminded me to practice greater mindfulness in my personal and business affairs.
In a little more than a year, I’d lost nearly everything. Yet I’d been freed, opening up the time and space needed for the next step of my journey. I did not manifest any of this consciously, nor did I plan it, or try to prevent it. I merely experienced it fully. And I have never felt better.
The status quo must be interrupted for a new level of organization to occur. Muscles and bones, for example, grow stronger only after they’ve been stressed. Life often creates a disturbing essence that becomes the catalyst for our awakening. Whenever we’re agitated, it’s a sign that we’re evolving.
We may not like it and may feel scared or confused, but we can’t avoid this or wish it away. Inevitably, at various times, life does not go our way, but what we often dismiss as the “unwanted” in life is actually the fertilizer that allows us to grow.
When you welcome each moment – no matter what it provides – every single experience opens you up to learning. Life becomes your teacher, offering you the greatest gift: wisdom.