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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Don't be afraid to struggle.

Finding Strength

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
Edward Abbey

That doesn't sound much like an Irish blessing, does it? Whatever happened to, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back...” and such? Truth is, struggle makes us stronger. In the words of the famous British abolitionist, Frederick Douglas, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Just as we don't develop strong physical muscles without exercise, we don't develop a strong, resilient psyche without facing life's difficulties and, like Jacob, wrestling with God.

Carl Jung said it plainly: “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” I say, don't go looking for pain—plenty of it will come to you. I know absolutely no one who hasn't had their fair share of difficulties. It may seem as though some folks skate by with nary a gray cloud in their sky—the rich, the powerful, the famous—but when you dig a little, you find that they, too, have experienced pain. There is no question that life can serve it up. The only question is this: “How will we deal with it?”

Some of us deal with it badly—by blaming others, by crying foul, by shutting down our hatches and not allowing anyone to help. We stay resentful and angry our whole lives, which, of course, creates even more problems for us, and for everyone around us. Some of us handle it passively, by hoping and praying that the circumstances will change, and the problems will just evaporate into thin air. On rare occasions, that works. Most of the time, it doesn't. What's good to remember is that there is not always a good solution, but there is always a benefit to tackling our problems, claiming them as our own, and then mining them for gold. Again, Carl Jung: “In all the chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” You won't find it without doing the work.

                                                      In the Spirit,


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