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Is it a problem or blessing in disguise?

One of the mantras in the blogging world and probably other worlds too goes something like this: “If you want to succeed, show people how to solve their problems." There’s something very valid here, of course. We are here to help each other. But there’s another way to look at this issue.

Trust life. Trust your own unconquerable spirit. Sometimes what we thought was a problem or crisis turns out to have been a blessing in disguise. It opens a door to a whole new experience of freedom and happiness. It is a catalyst to a new life.

My despair was total and unrelenting when the spiritual community in British Columbia I had been part of for 35 years collapsed quite suddenly and at the age of 63 I really had no choice but to come back into the hum and roar of “normal” existence.

But being replanted in the gritty soil of this world has been my salvation. It has not always been easy. But it has opened a door to a continuing explosion of freedom, new meaning and deep inner-knowing that I’m absolutely sure would otherwise never have happened.

Above all, it has made it possible for me to love this world (and myself) in a way I believe would have been impossible otherwise.

How thankful I am for that cruel blow life hurled at me that forced me to grow. That forced me to change. That forced me to expand my boundaries, and become more compassionate, more real, and more whole.

I salute you, and I salute the very real problems and challenges that you may be facing. But I find the words are true. God, as someone once wrote, moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. Who knows what beautiful things life may have in store for you and for each one of us as we trust life and listen to the sweet call of our own inner wisdom?

May your problems, large or small, prove to be blessings in disguise. And may nothing stop you giving the unique gift that is yours to give this world. The world needs your wisdom. The world needs your love.

I’d love to hear any thoughts you may have on this. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend, and help my blog grow:-).

Picture credit:lukasbenc

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

popokigirl February 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm

This is something I struggle–a lot–to believe. I want to believe it, but in the face of some things, like chronic pain or serious disease, it’s hard to see these things as gifts of any kind.

I also don’t see this idea expressed as much in conjunction with these situations.

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hello popokigirl, and thank you so much for writing and sharing your thoughts and concerns.

As I was thinking about your comment I thought of Steve Jobs. He reached a point where life was untenable, and he bravely realized it was time to let his body be released from its pain. But I loved so much the account widely circulated of his last moments, where as he lay on his deathbed he apparently saw something rather remarkable.

“Oh wow,” he said. “Oh wow. Oh wow.” What did he see? Who knows? But I mention it because I think quite a lot of people, in various ways, and at different times in their lives, are experiencing life-transforming moments. I remember a few years ago when I became seriously depressed. All I could see was darkness. But then I had a moment of epiphany where I realized the truth of myself wasn’t depressed at all and I began to heal pretty quick from that moment on.

Someone you might enjoy if you haven’t already read her books is Byron Katie. She’s a special lady. Here’s something she said one time: “I discovered that when i believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional” There was more, but you’ll get the gist. Good bye and God bless.

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popokigirl February 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Wow, thank you, Christopher. I’m definitely going to check out Byron Katie.

A thought you expressed above resonated in a way I hadn’t expected:

“But then I had a moment of epiphany where I realized the truth of myself wasn’t depressed at all and I began to heal pretty quick from that moment on.”

I think sometimes I deceive myself about what “the truth of myself” is. Something to think on.

I’m a recent discoverer of your blog. Thank you.

Evan Griffith February 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Christopher —

I will be quoting this line of yours from now on: Trust your own unconquerable spirit.

It should be on bumper stickers!

Reading of your journey through the disintegration of your spiritual community at the age of 63 . . . helps. It helps me understand that the issues I’ve dealt with since the economic meltdown are survivable. And as you demonstrably live, thrivable, ultimately.

Thank you, again —

Evan
Evan Griffith recently posted..A reader asked me: Must we hit rock bottom?

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Hi Evan,

Thank you for your kind words and generous spirit. I’ve found in my own life there’s something unique and special about agreement between men, just as there is between women. Something that nourishes the soul.

Very thankful for the agreement I feel with you Evan and happy to share the journey with you. Yes. Life is survivable. And thrivable. Hang in there, brother. And thank YOU.

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Corinne Rodrigues February 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Very thought provoking, Christopher. I don’t quite agree with the idea of showing people how to solve their problems. I believe everyone will find their own solutions within them.

Like you said the process itself is what causes us to grow and become who we are meant to be. I think, we are called to share how we found a way and that might inspire someone else. To me, making a difference in that way is success.
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..You’re Good

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

What beautiful words Corinne. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and love in this way. Your words on what constitute success are absolutely beautiful.

So happy to reconnect with you (though we’ve never really been “unconnected” have we? Blessings and love to your and your lovely family. Take care and be well.

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charlie February 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I have to agree with Corinne, I think. I’ve found that – unless you’re very careful –
showing people how … can lead to resentment on their part – ‘Who does he think he is..?’
you almost have to ‘show-without-showing’.
It certainly does require grace — loads of it — well fertilized with love.
And be prepared for an uncertain response………

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

So much wisdom showing up in my inbox. I love what you say here Charlie. Every word rings so true for me. Speaking of grace, that is what shines through your words.

I think it’s a matter of balance. There are times in all our lives, I’m sure, when we all need help being reminded “how.” Being reminded of wisdom that is ageless and true. But basically, I think that “preaching,” as we have known it, is a model that is on the way out. Just like the old-time manual typewriters I started my reporting life with are in museums now…

One thing I know for sure. Every one of us is a teacher, with a unique gift to give this world. Best wishes and thanks for your comment.

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Christopher Dailey February 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I am a simple man that found a simple truth.
Accept me with all my fractured lines,
for in the end we find it’s love that binds.
The Luvolution grows stronger every day.
In Lac’ech Ala K’in.
Sunarrow.

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

I love what you say Christopher. Love is the only healer in the world, isn’t it? It is love that will bring us into greater and greater harmony with ourself and our own true nature, and with each other and the masterpiece that each one of us is.

I’m with you. I don’t think anything can stop this Luvolution underway on this planet. Blessings and peace brother.

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Christopher Dailey February 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

Namaste Christ offer, peace be with HU, in my soul i am free, for it has been ever Its will to lead the least of Its servants to thee.

Lucy Raja February 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Even I have experienced some unwelcome changes in life, which have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I understand your feelings on this completely.

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

It’s lovely to hear from you Lucy. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s a real joy to be getting to know you better. Blessings and love.

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Tricia February 6, 2012 at 2:06 am

I think Shakespeare (again) hit the nail on the head when he said “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so …” So often, I’ve found that my initial, emotional reactions to things is more influenced by my state of mind than the facts themselves.

I’ve found it helps to remove the judgement, and then to just deal with it, for it is the judgement/thinking about that debilitates my energies … thankfully life has always more surprises in store than I can dream up when I’ve the courage to go out and be present for them …
It’s that being present bit though that is the challenge!!
Tricia recently posted..We can make a difference …

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

Thankyou Tricia and I couldn’t agree more. A wise old bird was our friend Shakespeare.

You drill down on the very core of our dilemma. Let go our addiction to judgment. Stop being quite so concerned about the often dumb predictions and messages of our own mind. And as you say, have the courage to be truly present for the good stuff life is trying so hard to bring to us.

I’m so happy to make your acqaintance and send greetings and blessings across the miles. Be well Tricia.

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Arthur February 6, 2012 at 3:26 am

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations” Chuck Swindoll in “Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction” Life Lesson #1 Ingredient #2

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

Hello Arthur, how are you? Somehow I think you’re doing just fine. I absolutely love your quote. Sums it all up right there, doesn’t it?

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Linda/Positive Spin February 6, 2012 at 6:15 am

Hello Christopher,
I think that the way we deal with the difficult times in our lives depends on our personality to a certain extent.
When faced with a problem, I always say,
1. Has the sky fallen in yet?
2. If I look long enough I will find the silver lining – if I choose to…
I have seen the benefits of redundancy and unemployment, for example. So many can say that if they hadn’t been forced to leave their job they would never have found a better one.
They were. as you say, forced to grow, leave their comfort zone and discover new talents they were unaware of.
I truly believe that a problem can often be a blessing in disguise, if you look.
Linda/Positive Spin recently posted..Struggling To Make The Right Decision? Here’s My Positive Spin On How to Do It.

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here Linda. I love your practical , no nonsense approach. Most often, the sky hasn’t fallen yet, has it?

And regarding the silver lining of which you speak? I can only speak for myself. But as I think back on my life and the unprecedented number of disasters and tragedies and challenges I’ve had — much more than anyone else I’m sure:-) — I can’t think of a single circumstance that did not have a “silver lining” to it. It’s all good because it has all brought me here. Thanks again for sharing Linda and can I send you a hug across the internet?

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Linda/Positive Spin February 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

That’s my first cyber hug, Christopher! Thanks – made my Monday, for sure!
Linda/Positive Spin recently posted..Feeling Lost? Here’s How To Find Your Way (1)

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Christopher Foster February 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

Linda, thanks, lovely to hear from you so quickly. I wonder. Might there be a book idea here somewhere, “Beginner’s guide to cyber hugs’ or something of that nature? Just kidding:-)

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Lorraine A. Pollay February 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Dear Chris,
I remember you fondly from EDL where I shared your poetry and stories. I also share the same age bracket – as I am now 84 years young. I felt the devastation that you described after the collapse of the community, and took all of the wisdom, truth, love and light that I had discovered there and immersed myself into the community of “Johrei,” which translated means “Purification of the Spirit” and I have been expanding my consciousness and others ever since.

What a joy it has been to reconnect with you and your spirit and hear about your continuing journey of awakening. I used to be known as Laurie Seitz, before my new marriage in the days of EDL. (Wonder if we ever met?)

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Christopher Foster February 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Lovely to hear from you Lorraine. Many thanks for your comment and congratulations on being such a young 84, and staying strong and keeping on expanding and growing. Very happy to reconnect with you too, and wish you much happiness as you continue your journey. Not sure if we met or not, but thankful we’re meeting now.

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Steven Aitchison February 7, 2012 at 12:54 am

Beautifully written as usual Chris. I tend to agree with others about showing people how to solve their problems, everyone one is different so guiding others on one possible way to help them, would be a better way to put it. However, knowing you as I do, I know this exactly what you meant.
Steven Aitchison recently posted..Buckaroo Buddha

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Christopher Foster February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Wonderful to see you here Steven. Many thanks for your comment. I think you put it very well. I kind of think there’s a middle way here, not too far to one extreme, not too far to another extreme. I’ve sure appreciated your guidance and support very generously given in different ways since I had that coaching call with you in 2009 (that helped get me started with my blog).

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Noch Noch | be me. be natural. February 10, 2012 at 1:13 am

I think a lot of times, we probably know that problems are blessing in disguise, the challenge, at least for me , is to sit out the problem and have patience to wait for it to unfold so we see the fruit of our bearing what life brings.

Noch Noch
Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..today I laughed: how is business done in China?

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Christopher Foster February 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Thanks Noch. You make a wonderful point. Patience is critical at every stage. Blessings to you.

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Kamonda P. February 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Lovely post! We are all students in the School of Life. Everything we experience is a lesson for us to learn, to grow, and then to teach others. Your greatest blessing often comes from what you think is your greatest obstacle. When you trust in your Spirit, you’re able to better manage change, knowing that whatever comes your way is for the betterment of you.

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Christopher Foster February 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Amen to everything you say Kamonda. Thank you so much for your comment and for the wisdom in your words.

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Christopher Foster February 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Thanks popokigirl. Yes. Who am I, really? It’s a big question. A profound question. I think it can set us free. Stay strong.

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