I guess it was inevitable that the very next class on the same subject went totally south! How could this be I wondered...and on the very same subject matter, which I'd even adjusted to make it more palatable, at least that's what I thought! I was frustrated with my failure as a teacher.
I had just made a point that through this class we would gain a new "perspective." That we would never see the world like we did before. We would begin to see with an "artists eyes."
I realized that I needed to adjust my own perspective, that it is actually true that it's in weakness that we are made strong. That this experience of a class not going well will cause me to work at making it better. It is in pain and trouble that we grow and develop. The tree in the centre of the forest, due to the shelter there, becomes the weakest tree. The seed has to actually die for a plant to grow. The lion has to be hungry to get food. He has to make an effort, he has to work to get his supper. Plus he must risk injury and even death in the process of getting this supper. Just as the one being hunted has to work, think and plan an escape, plus risk injury to survive. The worm has to die to become a butterfly.
This is not what I heard when I was a young man. Nor in our culture today. Things not going right is not acceptable. It means failure. I heard that in response to pain, real men don't cry. Survival of the fittest was taught as a life-style. The stoic, the strong silent types were the hero's to follow. In fact, failure, weakness and pain were bad. What we were trying to develop was actually some kind of a just, painless and perfect society. Weird eh? Where did we get such ideas?
Our culture looks down upon those who do not succeed. This brings shame and/or depression, attitudes of anger and un-forgiveness. We do not measure up. We play the blame game. Or, we check out and don't even try. All of these options are destructive, and if we do not deal with them we slowly die physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
All of us are in fact one second away from major disasters and difficulties. One betrayal, one job loss, one illness, one natural disaster, can drastically change our lives forever. We really do not have much control at all. We are not enough in ourselves to make everything right and or prevent experiencing difficulties in life. Even the ageing process cannot be controlled. It's inevitable, we will not be able to live a perfect life of complete success and control. It is impossible. The fact is that if we do have control we make bad decisions and bring even more trouble on ourselves.
All of this sounds very negative and hopeless, but it is just this that brings us to understand that there is a bigger plan. We need a new perspective! We must understand that the pains of this life are there for a reason. They are there to force us to look beyond ourselves for help and assistance. They are there to bring us to our knees, admit that we cannot do this ourselves, and look for help. When we feel inadequate, that's perfect, for in that we will search and find where real help, power and strength lies. That these inevitable challenges of life are there specifically to help us understand this unique perspective we must have on life.
For me this life giving perspective begins with my faith. We are spiritual beings and that side of us cannot be ignored. My faith guides me in a perspective that says I must rely on my creator, who is not the creator of evil but who meets me in the midst of all that is wrong and evil in this world. He has proven to me that his greatest gift to me is the power to forgive, as he's forgiven me. I am paying it forward in like manner, forgiving as I go along. When a curve ball comes my way, I work at forgiving the person, their wrong perspective, their upbringing, the circumstance, the organization, the others who were part of it, the ones who did not report it,....etc. etc. This may or may not solve the problem but it frees from the bondage of anger, frustration, and not only revenge but the mental energy and time used up in revengeful thinking and planning. Forgiveness gives me the gift of life. It is from this foundational one-pont perspective that healing can begin to happen.
Because we are then "free" we will have the mental space and energy to work on the issue. We will then have the mental energy to think outside the box, try creative things we've never done before. Plus we will begin to heal as we discover ourselves through the various creative ways we employ just to survive. This perspective will allow us not to be to proud to for example turn to friends, to family and relationships for nurture and help. We might go to counselors and/or self help groups. We find will ways to express and tell our stories through creative means such as writing, music, art, discussions, physical activity and so on. We may even begin doing something we know we have a gift for. What the amazing and surprising thing is that as we do these things and get creative, we find that the process continues to heal us. One day, we will look back and realize we are not victims anymore. We will actually look back and see our "scars" as preciouses as we realize form where we've come. As we keep moving we will continue to change, mature and grow.
What we must avoid is getting stuck. If I have stopped moving, that's a problem.
If we can come to the place where we can begin to understand this and even welcome problems, troubles and trials, we will solve many of life's issues in one sweep. We must deal with the faith aspect of life, then all will fall into place. It all has to do with perspective, one-point perspective.
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." James 1:2-3