Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Weather Eye

Albert Einstein said,"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." And, while I know that to be true, I often wonder how it is that one comes to believe that. When you're standing in the middle of an upheaval, if I were to parrot Mr. Einstein's theory, you'd likely snap back, "It's all relative! (Get it? Einstein-relative-theory; funny? Not so much? Fine!) And easy enough for him to say; he's not dealing with all of this!"

So, I'm wondering: How do we come to this spot of encouragement? Is it from experience? Sure, but it has to be more than that.

Is it the perspective of the backward glance after the difficult time is over and you've had the chance to process what you went through and what you have when it's over? Is it when we can see what has been learned or gained?

Is it the rescuing touch of a trusted hand of someone who was there with you through the difficulty? Someone who was there to listen and guide?

Was it your trust, faith, belief in the rightness of everything in your life, even the difficult?

Perhaps sheer tenacity? Some seem to hunker down and wait for it to pass, to change. Weather the emotional storm as it were.

Or, is it the ingenuity of some of us to think outside of our comfort box? A curiosity to tinker with what is there and decide what can be done with it?

I'm wondering...if you believe this statement to be true...and you have an example of how a difficulty turned into an opportunity, large or small, would you share it with me? Tell me how that was for you?

Will you give everyone who finds themselves in a difficulty hope to believe the very same can be true for them? Help instill some measure of belief that it can become opportunity.

Share it so you turn the eye of a storm into an eye of hope...

To all my readers, trust me when I say that the stuff to read in this post is on the comments page. Those are your story tellers today; I'm just the gal who asked the questions!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Questions


Genie Sea said...

Morning Holly! I missed you! :) I'm back in full blog swing as my vacation starts today!

I take the opportunity of being alone to get to know myself, and enjoy my own company.

I took the opportunity to come to Toronto and start a new life when finding a job in Montreal was impossible.

I took the opportunity when I was having such difficulty in one school I worked in, to take some time away and find a different way.

Those are just a few instances. Life has many difficulties, and choosing to make them into opportunities is reveling in that half-full glass! :)

Sarah said...

Good morning hon!!
Wow that is a tall order - but I will give it a rip.
I grew up upper middle class and married that..I also married abusive..when I finally untangled myself nearly 12 years ago - the price was..I lost everything. I started over from scratch. It took a bit of time..and a few years of pure Hell. But this is what I was given for all of this pain and destruction in my life. I was offered a new perspective on who I was, who the universe was, what I was capable of and a clearer picture of how I fit into the world. I was given a chance to step a little closer to being the true me - to my True North.
It has led me in to many amazing places and to amazing people..Like you dear Holly!! People and experiences I would never have if all the Hell had not happened first.
Now and again folks ask me about what I have been through and ask if I regret things..of course..I have learned to take the lessons from those regrets and leave the guilt behind. I have grown in huge ways that would never have happened had I not tromped through the mucky pain first. I felt cursed then..I feel blessed now. I have been humbled enough to accept the truth about myself from others when they offer it.
So hon... I as your friend am asking you to trust me when I are a genuine, loving person. I appreciate your honesty with me when I need to hear truth..I hope my pride never gets in the way of your gently offered words..because you help me grow. You keep me honest & that is never, ever a bad thing. Sometimes the truth hurts... this is life. To grow sometimes we need bit of pain in the mix.
Love and hugs, Sarah

Eileen said...

I'm a believer. And maybe my examples would just make the cynical respond that the outcomes just happened but weren't necessarily related to the "troubles". As with so many "beliefs" ... it's a personal grasp on our way to make sense of life.

My younger brother was engaged in the early 70's and on the way to mailing the invitations the bride-to-be changed her mind. For a spell he was left in the swirl of loss, doubts, confusion, etc. To fill this unexpected empty future he volunteered to spend a summer in the jungles of Ecuador working at a medical clinic. What happened was that he met a young woman from across the US right there and she truly is the soulmate that was meant to be his life-long loving partner - it's now over 30 years, five sons, and six grandchildren later! Thank goodness the turmoil gave him that opportunity to create this life of his!

Kerrian's friend just returned home from their trip to Italy ready to start her new position as an ER doc only to find that the position was being rescinded. In the middle of all of the confusion, anger, doubts, etc. she reached out to hospitals that had previously told her that they did not have any positions to offer her and, low and behold, that had chanced and she now starts in a better place, with a 10 block walk to work, instead of a 45 mins commute by subway and her future looks bright once again.

I guess I try to keep this belief in mind so as to remember to keep moving forward, acting in a positive manner, not closing the doors to any and all possibilities on the other side of the "disaster".

cinner said...

My exhusband walked out on me on a Saturday morning. Everything had been fine the night before, so when he left I crumbled. He called Sunday evening to ask how I was doing and to tell me he had gotten into the drugs and did not want to pull me down with him. I had him meet me the next morning, I changed my name back to my maiden name and had him taken off all the accounts. The next day we divided property, I gave him the car which I later learned he had gotten 500.00 at a pawn shop for it. Anyway it took me quite some time to get over it. ....But I changed my name two days later because I knew I could be strong with my name, that I was a fighter....I learned so much from that experience, I did not lose 10 years out of my life...I was given the tools to make better choices, to be strong as me, to trust again, to really learn what love is. I have found that life has many ups and downs, believe in yourself, stick to your beliefs and eventually we can get through anything....on a different note, I really liked your followers when it was the first thing I could see, seeing all those faces and I especially loved the guy with the clown nose...just my opinion. Take care my friend.

Alison said...

All of those things Holly - all of those things. For me, I have to believe that in the midst of turmoil, grief, whatever; there will always be something else to come. Another opportunity. When my daughter died one week after her 21st birthday - in a house fire in London, England - our life changed overnight. As you can imagine. That same year my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour... I had always thought that being ordinary was some sort of a protective cocoon, but I discovered that it isn't. John died two years after Sophie. So things weren't good at all. I could have curled up in a ball and given up, but I had to keep going. As I said, I had a belief that it would get better and that new opportunities would arise. I still had my two great sons and their partners and I had wonderful friends. The support from friends and the community in general was amazing. I also had a strong sense of 'life', if that makes sense. There were many downs before the ups, believe me, but life has gone on and it's OK! I moved to a different city and began teaching older students. With that came the chance to teach French, and following on was the opportunity to apply for an Immersion Award to spend a year in France, and despite my age I got it! And here I am. As you know! Sure, I'd give anything to have John and Sophie back, and my sons live overseas, but I have learnt to live on my own and I am mostly doing all right. To be honest, I don't especially like being on my own and really miss being special for someone. But there are so many people much worse off than I am.
Hey, how many people get to live in France for a year?
Of course I can moan for Africa, but in general I try to be positive and keep an eye out for the main chance! I believe in serendipity - those magic little moments when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time and something wonderful happens.
So that's me. Heading back to New Zealand in 3 weeks and likely to be VERY unsettled when I get there!

Sarah said...


Toni said...

double hmmmm.
my dad being a jackrabbit the whole time I was growing up -- we moved seemingly every year, all my life ... I was raped when I was 19 ... my best friend's death by breast cancer, another lifelong friend's suicide because she had no insurance to treat her ovarian cancer and didn't want to put her family in debt ...
there's not enough room here to articulate the path thru and subsequent benefits of each of these ...

but I was thinking of more common life events that are blessings/challenges in and or themselves -- i.e. my boys, childbirth, parenting ...

jobs, changing jobs, dealing with jobs, working, not working, balancing ...

mainly I think perspective DURING changes outcome ... i.e. being able, in some part of my brain, to step just a little back during a tough tough time and say, 'pay attention, LISTEN, LEARN, so this is worth something at the end!' ... I do wonder if keeping a journal has been a large large part of that ability?

Love this post, by the way. I also appreciate all the other commenters being so gracious in telling their stories -- it's not always easy to 'out' with some of this, as I know, and they know. One of the advantages of time passing, too, is enough distance not to attach stigma or judgment to where we've been, mistakes we've made.

Kori said...

The things we go through on a daily basis are what make us who we are, and what make us special to everyone else. Been through a storm? I know I have!! I may not understand why now, but someday I will cross paths with someone smack in the middle of a very similiar storm. I may be the only one who can understand, relate, guide, and comfort this person. If I can help someone else, then I must tell myself it was all worth it!

Mel said...

Some powerful stories here and powerful Medicine with them...I am grateful and honoured to share in them with everyone...

Of course you must know this is one of my favourite Einsteinisms...the whole thing is actually our little family motto and is, according to the custom of family mottos, stuck to the fridge. It's where the names of my blogs came's absolutely how I view each moment, each challenge in my world...on a big scale and on a day-to-day basis...

Our challenges were plenty....the trials and fall-out of our 'starter' marriages, job upheavals, travel, bodily injury resulting in huge financial burdens, life, death, Motherhood (and Fatherhood)....but through it all we had each other and we rode out the storms...emerging from the other side, a little windswept, a bit bedraggled, but stronger for the experience....

I don't know what it is that rings so true about this statement...the idea that we are stronger than we might think, that we are never sent anything we can't handle, that great things are just around the next bend if only we keep walking....

Here's another fave of mine - on a magnet, on the fridge...."Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly"

~peace Dear One~

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Holly!

Yes I totally agree with Einstein and the others who have shared their stories here. I think you have to look for the positive coming out of the negative things that happen during the course of our lives.

I discovered that things happen for a reason early in my life ... at my first job. But that's not the dramatic part of my story. I have experienced this my entire life and have many incidences that support my belief. However, there is one in particular that I hope I can adequately relay here.

In 1990 I relocated to Iowa and met Carol, who became one of my closest friends and 'sister'. Her father was diagnosed with cancer in '94 and passed away within 6 months of that diagnosis. I was there for Carol during that difficult time. It's amazing how well meaning people inflict pain on another during that time in their lives. It was as if I became a shield for Carol to protect her from things she didn't need to deal with. About 4 months after her father died, I moved to Colorado Springs. We continue to stay in touch to this day. Carol felt that I was brought into her life to help her through that difficult time and more.

When my mom passed away in 2006, Carol was there for me. It's a really long, convoluted story; to sum it up, a road trip was required. We laughed that we were "Thelma and Louise" only in a good way...with a MUCH happier ending. We did what needed to be done to tie up the loose ends in my home town and headed back. Carol helped to shield me during that time.

I'm sure I could have endured the agony without her aide...somehow, but I didn't have to. She supported me in my time of grief, as a 'sister' and friend, just like I had helped her in her time of grief. We laughed and cried together. I was her strength when she needed it, she was mine.

Carol and I have been through much more than this...our mutual divorces, our finding of our respective soul mates, job changes, family turmoil.

I consider myself blessed to have friends like Carol in my life, because there are more examples of good coming out of bad in my life than just this one I have shared here.

I know, firmly believe, things happen for a reason. We may not understand why at the time things are happening, but they make us stronger, better as a result.

Holly you are a dear. Powerful, thought provoking post today. Thanks.

joyce said...

First, I love your pic of the "eye of the storm". Second, there's a song with a line I like that has kind of the same message....every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. And to answer your question...when my employer was "forced" to retire, because of his own actions, I was angry at him, even though I thoroughly understood what he was dealing with. And because he lost his position, his office closed, and I was without the job I loved in a severly downturned market with a few black marks of my own making it even more difficult. With a few pushes I managed to start my own home-based business, doing the same type of work, and I love it. I don't know how long it will last as I am not getting the amount of work I should have, but, it was an opportunity opened out of the face of disaster & dispair.

And you're right, the other posts tell the real stories today.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh Holly, What a wonderful post (with GREAT pictures) and what fabulous comments-- all powerful and honest.

I have no great words of wisdom or advice from my past other than to say, in every single life-changing case, I was able to look back-- after the fact-- and realize that the bad/unpleasant things that happened, lead me to the better place I ended up at. I can literally "connect the dots" of my life and see the each step leap frogged me to the next better place.


sema said...

Hi Holly,
Powerful lessons for me today reading the questions and the valuable answers.They have given me courage to face our difficult times with confidence.
thank you

Arcta Firebringer said...

What a good thing to read after an aggravating day! I'll take it to heart and see what I can do with my soul-sucking workplace...

spottedwolf said...

you got STYLE woman.....STYLE!!!!

spottedwolf said...

I've seen some come
and watched some pass
some filled with truth
some naught but gas
some stand by with helping hand
some just offer a reprimand
some will speak to better time
some will scoff at all mankind
some with strong will certainty
some will whine unfailingly
some will rise to the call
some will try but always fall
one things for sure a guarantee
tis I who makes my meant-to-be !!!!

Not So Glamorous Housewife said...

Holly you make my brain hurt with all of these thoughts.. When I was a kid I remember the eye of a huge hurricane passing right over my house. It was wonderful and calm after hours and hours of "hunkering down". As a kid I also looked forward to the adventure that the rest of the storm would bring. The aftermath was messy but everything was more beautiful and green than any other day before. Sorry about the literal metaphor but it's just so true.

SCJ Jewelry Design said...

Holly, this is a beautiful, thought inducing post. Thsnk you for writing it and for the many comments from others.

I have seen in many an example, both in others and trying in myself, that how a person approaches a difficult time makes all the difference in the outcome. Negativity breeds a negative outcome. Searching for the good brings about good results.

My own trials have helped me find myself and explore who/what I really love and want in my life. They have enriched my relationships with others enormously. It has been my trials that have helped me define my beliefs, my passions and my self worth. They've help me realize how blessed I really am.

As my aunt told me after my first husband died, "It's the end of the chapter, but not the end of the book. Keep writing."

miss*R said...

I am just in awe of all the comments.. so not much i can say..
have a fantastic weekend, Holly xoxo

Tessa said...

You know, it never fails to knock me right over sideways when I read of how people - using all their courage and strength - have turned misfortune around and by doing so have made their lives rewarding and enriched with love, and excitement. Witness the commentators here on this page. Bravo, I say to you all, and even louder... BRAVO! You are wonderful, amazing, brave...heroic even. I'm in awe.

I think that living in Africa has made me realise how very little we can take for granted....that we must, must, must make the most of every single moment of our lives. It is vital that we do so. People here in England - people who don't know Africa - have said to me that one could be deformed by that continent. Yet it seems to me one can only be deformed by the things one does to oneself. It's not the outside things that deform you, it's the choices you make.

Ribbon said...

This is a wonderful topic Holly...

backward glance.... yes sometimes that's the way it is, but I do feel that you can be in the eye of the storm and not be the storm.

The one little corner of the universe that we can control is ourselves.... with practice like all learned things in life we can become the masters of ourselves (our attitude).

At any one time no matter what the situation we can choose to stay conscious in our thinking as opposed to auto pilot to determine our frame of mind.

I really do believe that life is what we imagine it to be.

We could all experience the same car accident, yet have a different emotive tale to tell.

Ok time for me to stop rambling as this is the comment box and not the post box :)

love to you and all of you who have left enriching comments here.

Ribbon :)

anne h said...

I already know it's all going to be ok. I know this. I feel it. I live it. And yet, I sometimes doubt myself.
I keep loving your posts...thanks for your comments on mine, as well.

linda may said...

G'Day Holly,
Just thought I would jump in here and add my 2 bobs worth. A year ago we made the decision to move to Canberra, a last ditch attempt to try to fix things with my eldest son. He had depression from the time he was 14 or so and is now just turned 27 yrs old. Anyway, it worked. I applied for a job cleaning and asked the employer at the same time if my son could work with me and told him the story. He said yes. He has been great to us and is taking a genuine interest in my sons predicament. So we are working together. My son now takes medication which he refused to do before. He got his drivers license and bought a car of his own and even goes out by himself to meet friends who enjoy the same music as him,(metal) which was something not really available to him in the small country town we lived in. So the move was great for that reason alone.I have had some personal trials since moving here and am now facing a dilemma because the house we are in is due to be sold and now I have to move forwards with a decision to buy or rent or ....I dunno yet. But for the sake of my son the move has been the best thing to happen for many years.

linda may said...

Addendum Holly,
excuse that language but.... Shit Happens... deal with it. :)
There are some amazing stories in here this post. Your idea has prompted lots of people to tell theirs. Well done you.

Dawn said...

I on an island.
Storms rage about.
I stay.
I live.
I die.
I am on an island.
Storms rage about.

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