How problems make you more creative

Posted on Jul 25, 2012

I saw my dear friend Penny come up on Skype last night. I haven’t talked with her in a while, so I jotted a few words down; as soon as I had hit Return, she called. Her 39-year old single daughter is undergoing treatment for breast cancer right now. She’s had a mastectomy, and is about to finish a round of chemo that has cost her her hair, made her very sick, and seems linked to other problems still not explained.

Another long time friend, a year older than me, also has breast cancer. She too had a mastectomy and underwent treatment, but the cancer has now spread to the bone in two places. I’ve put her in touch with the Oasis of Hope, the holistic Tijuana cancer clinic where I accompanied my mother 20 years ago.

I have two friends now who are losing their vision, one 67 and the other 75. They both have the “wet” kind of macular degeneration, which creates holes in your vision and currently is untreatable. The younger one can no longer drive; the elder reads with one eye.

Life is Optimistic

On the same call, Penny told me her partner’s son has a new daughter; and Penny lit up when she spoke of the miracle of this child. Ten perfect tiny fingers, ten toes, a beautiful face and head. Life’s ultimate expression of optimism. Talking with Penny is always balm for my soul.

When I hear these stories, and there are many more to go with them, I think of how courageous it is to be human. We all have our struggles; they come without warning. How we respond to them is our inalienable right and our responsibility.

Each of us who (I believe) chooses to come here to Earth confronts a unique set of circumstances we call problems; no escaping them. If we’re fortunate enough to discover that we choose how we respond to them, we can make a good life with them, no matter how difficult they appear. Think of Stephen Hawking. Watch the film, “Life is Beautiful.”

Every Problem, An Opportunity

They say you have to pick your battles. If you want to be prepared when the big ones come along, you have to use the small ones (when things just don’t go the way you want them to) to practice. The problems of life can bind you until you are powerless to move. But every one is an opportunity to build the spiritual muscles with which you create your life.

What struggles are you confronting today? How are you using them transform yourself? How are you using them to create a better life… for yourself and others?

Some challenges are easier than others, and good support can make the difference between being bound and growing stronger. Give yourself that gift today. Whether it’s with a close friend or a professional counselor, coach or mentor.


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