I recently re-read the book, The Alchemist by author, Paulo Coelho. I try to read it every few years. He was on to something when he wrote “every blessing ignored, becomes a curse.” See, God puts people, as well as obstacles, and even tragedies, in our path with great purpose. Sometimes bad things have to happen so that good things can happen. Our experiences are all pieces of blessings that make up the puzzle of life. They are meant to come together to lead us to our life’s purpose and to help us reach our fullest potential. We must learn to see the good in all that we encounter. Even the awful things. If we ignore the pain or avoid doing the work that’s necessary to process it, we will most certainly get stuck, unable to make connections or see the bigger picture. If left unattended long enough the hidden blessings of our life become a curse keeping us from our magic.
So many times we get lost in the pain or anger of a soul altering loss and are unable to recognize the hidden blessings that almost always accompany it. This slows our personal growth and blocks us from achieving true peace and happiness. It’s different for everyone. Yet it seems to be a necessary part of reconnecting oneself after a personal tragedy. I hope in sharing my experience I can shed some light into the darkness of this universal pain.
The first time I was faced with this unique type of pain was in 2010 when my father died very suddenly. It was a complete shock. His death completely devastated me. I lost all sense of control over my life and fell into a state of deep depression and anxiety. This lasted for almost three years. I was angry. I was tired. I was in no shape or state of mind to reach out for help. I was sad. I was often confused. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.
I could not breathe.
I didn’t know it then but taking care of my two very young children and tending to their very special needs is what kept me from completely breaking. When my boys were born I never would have described their disabilities as blessings but that is exactly what they are. I never could have imagined their albinism or subsequent legal blindness would play a protective role in our family but it has. See, the magic isn’t usually where we plan for it to be. In fact, It usually ends up being something completely different than we expect it to be. More often than not its hidden in the crevices and corners of circumstances we wish we didn’t have to face.
In so many ways it has been navigating the detours of my unanswered prayers that have lead me through my deepest despair to the greatest blessings of my life. However, the journey back from this devastation was not an uphill one. It was more like an infinite loop of happiness, anger, sadness, joy and complete numbness.
Slowly, with unwavering love and guidance from my tribe, I committed to bi-weekly sessions of therapy. Little by little I began to gain some emotional stability. This next stage of my grief initially lasted two years more. Over time I have come to understand that “this stage of grief” is living. I started living again. I began to read a lot of self help books about grief, love, and loss. I also wrote about it all as I was reading which proved to be one of the most helpful tools in my healing. Bit by bit I began to feel longer and more consistent stretches of healthy emotion. When I added exercise and started eating right I really felt like myself again. I woke up one day and realized I was no longer depressed or anxious! Buuuut… I wasn’t happy either. Not until I added prayer to my daily self care routine. God is the piece that completes my puzzle. While learning to nurture my relationship with God I gained the confidence and composure to see the bigger picture and start each day with gratitude and intention.
The journey through the grief and pain after losing my father was like putting the pieces of a puzzle back together. The only problem was, some of the original pieces were misshaped and some had to be replaced. It wasn’t easy. I had to fight every day to keep going. I was on the brink of completely losing my identity. Let’s face it, some days were easier than others. Thankfully, my children really needed me so I refused to give in. Then, slowly, each new piece lead me to the next and eventually, seven years after losing my dad and consequently losing myself, I had finally healed enough to trust in God’s plan for my life.
I believe it is through suffering, real suffering that we begin to understand the importance of internal balance and synergy in society. The first time we experience intimate heartache we automatically understand all that was impossible to know before. In order to grow you have to face the painful empty feeling and all that comes along with it. Face it head on. Let it break you. Let it leave you breathless, vomiting in the trees, shaking, and screaming. Let it bring you to that hopeless place of desperate despair, the place so unbearable you can’t imagine surviving.
Because you will survive.
If you work really hard the pieces will start to come together and you will begin to see the blessings in the mess of it all. You will remember you are not alone. If you allow yourself you will trust in the blessings of unanswered prayers. Then, as long as you don’t give up, you will find your magic.