How do we awaken? The easiest and most common way is through adversity. The majority of us need to go through really hard times in order to wake up to the beauty of life. It is natural for all life forms to live through a period of adversity in order to become who or what they truly are. To use an example by the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, envision the seed of a flower growing. It is meant to struggle to get past the soil at the top of the ground before coming into the sun and air, and become… a beautiful flower.
Many years ago I felt intrigued by other people’s personal journey of awakening and how they came into their passionate and enthusiastic way of living. I wanted to grow. I knew there was something more to life than what I was living. The stories I read put me in touch with a deep desire to encounter adversity in order to awaken too. I did not want it to be too hard but still… I had noticed there was a pattern of either living a comfortable life – which is by all means okay – or going through extreme hardship and start embracing life in a totally different manner.
The universe answered in the most unexpected way. One Sunday morning ten years ago my husband told me he was seeing another woman and that he wanted to be with her. No kidding, my whole world crashed one hundred percent. I think it took me three or four years to start feeling kind of stable again? I was lucky. Through the darkness I experienced, and however horrible it felt, I sensed that one day I would be fine. Although in extreme emotional pain I knew I was learning something really important about being a human being. Day after day I focused my energy on getting through the tunnel of darkness that was surrounding me. I was determined to come out in the light on the other side.
During my years of intense turmoil I immersed myself in mindfulness meditation, yoga teacher training, meditation retreats and therapy sessions. I also read many books about spirituality and how to live a good life. Something seemed to come up all the time: The toughest life experience you have, or the hardest you feel a person is treating you, that is your spiritual teacher. This is life teaching you the lesson you are ready for. This is your opportunity to wake up. What also came up again and again was that one day you will feel nothing but gratitude for the dark experience you had. At the time I decided that would absolutely never happen for me haha.
And then it did. The worst experience I could ever have imagined changed my life to become so much better. I cannot say my marriage falling apart was good for my family. But for me, personally, it was exactly what I needed to awaken to the amazing beauty of life: To wake up to the joy of simply being. To have full trust in life. To understand and see other people for who they really are… which is love. It had to be horrible and it had to take time. Today I am so grateful for what those difficult years taught me I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.
Some time ago I saw a video clip with the British author and life coach Jay Shetty. He was saying the following: If you look out of the window and see nature you will either see something growing or something dying. We are all part of nature. You can choose if you want to grow or die. I personally believe we can grow as much as we desire and are ready for. We can always learn more about life, about ourselves, and continue to peel off the “protective” layers that are holding us back from being who we truly are.
In case you are experiencing adversity at the moment here is my wish for you: Embrace the difficulties you are facing with unlimited kindness to yourself. You come first. Although challenging, maybe within the adversity you can notice a flicker of light and opportunity for personal growth? How mad it may sound, I believe (know) this is life reaching out, helping you to awaken to the truest and most beautiful you.
Wishing you well! Annette X