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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Facing Adversity

Planting Seeds

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
Napoleon Hill

I have learned over the course of a lifetime to look at things from a distance. In the moment, it's difficult to experience what is going on around you and make sense of it at the same time. At least, it is for me. The work of Caroline Myss has taught me give as much attention to the change that comes after an historical moment as I give to what happened during that moment. In my personal life, too, I have found that many absolute disasters turned out to have beneficial consequences. Doesn't mean the experiences weren't terrible at the time, or that the pain of those moments wasn't real, but in retrospect, I realize that the pain and turmoil were necessary for change to happen.

We humans do not change easily. We require a motivational kick in the butt to get up and do something different. For example, in my youth people took to the streets and created sustained chaos to change deeply discriminatory laws. Every night on TV we saw fire hoses and police dogs, the battered bodies of teenagers, men and women beaten on the Pettus bridge, and we had three beloved leaders shot dead. Finally, we woke up and changed the laws. Schools opened and children learned how to live with differences. We're still cleaning up the mess, but the tide has turned, and our future will be different from our past. That pain was necessary in order to bring about a better life for all.

Looking back through history, and today, we see periods of terrible carnage: world wars, bloody genocides, economic depressions that cause insurrections and revolutions. In their aftermath, people long for freedom and hope, and their deep dreams of a different world bring about change—a righting of wrongs. Singer, writer, Debby Boone, expressed it this way: “Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream.” We must keep our dreams alive, and work in whatever way we can to make them a reality.

I believe our current crisis will bring about change. I believe that it will stoke the same kind of yearning in people today as did the adversities of the past. People will step up and do what needs to be done to right these wrongs. Something good can come of this if we hold on to our dreams and put our shoulders to the plow. Just as our forbears did, we can plant seeds that will bear good fruit for generations to come.

                                                                In the Spirit,

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