PV MIrror, Apr 17-24, 2010, issue # 80, pg 15

Life doesn’t give you the people you want; it gives you the people you NEED… to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be.

How many of you have even stopped to consider this? How many of you agree with it? I absolutely agree and have personally experienced it over the years. The key has been awareness. The more aware I remained, the more appreciative I was and am of the people who have come into my life and the lessons they taught me.

It’s true for the most simple interaction with a store clerk or cashier who frustrates us in order to teach us tolerance and patience. Or it’s true about our boss, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and our most personal and intimate relationships.

Another important thing we need in order to appreciate them is to be open to the lessons they are here to teach us, whether it is to be morepatientempathic,  compassionatelovingconsiderate, or forgiving. How many of you really struggle with forgiveness and hang on to anger for years? How many of you have trouble letting people love you, keeping everyone or one particular person at a distance? Maybe someone who has hurt you was in your life to teach you forgiveness and love despite the pain they caused.

Some people come into our lives who are so different from us that they are here to teach us not to be judgmental and to become much more respectful and appreciative of the differences. Most of us are very uncomfortable with people who are different because of the way they look, or dress, or behave, or their political and religious beliefs are completely opposite from ours. We criticize them and think they should be more like us. Maybe we don’t agree with their approach to life, their priorities and values, and so we judge them, sometimes we even try to change them. How many of you can relate to this? How many judgmental thoughts do you have in an hour or in a day? My guess is a lot more than you are aware of… It may take some of us a lifetime to learn any one or all of those lessons and some of us won’t learn any of them.

How open are you to receive these people and the lessons they bring? What keeps you from allowing them into your life or maintains you in adefensive resistant posture in your interactions or relationship with them? Why are you so afraid of the differences and the unknown? Why not consider what would happen if you found the courage to allow the lessons, the pain, the hurt, the love? You would laugh and cry and learn and grow. Your life would be enriched and you would become a wiser better person.

If we could embrace and accept everything that happens and the people who play a role in each and every situation/event, then we could see that it is all a gift; all in our best interest. In Chinese, there is only one character for the word “crisis” and for “opportunity”; they are one in the same. In the book “Spiritual Growth; Being Your Higher Self” by Sanaya Roman (HJ Kramer Inc, 1989, pg 94),she states, “crises offer opportunities to reach the deepest level of your being and know your Higher Self in new ways”. Crises shake things up. They test us by the way we react and manage them. It is during a crisis that we learn what we are made of and what we are capable of.

Even if we are not in crises, life presents us with opportunities to grow every day; every situation is an opportunity to become stronger, wiser, and more loving. Sanaya Roman teaches that “everything that happens to you is for your highest good” and that we must “trust that what other people do will in some way be for your higher good, even if you don’t understand why”(pg 101). Imagine if you could accept this concept, then everyone who comes into your life is there for your higher good! No matter if they make us angry, or hurt us deeply, or teach us how to accept and love them…they are a gift we just have to be willing to receive.

“Your Higher Self led you to this experience for a reason”(pg 104)so do not resist it. Resistance is based in fear. Whatever we resist persists. As long as we resist the lesson we will repeat it until we allow it and learn and move on.

A basic premise of life and spiritual teachings is that we grow and learn and change when we are in the chaos; not the status quo. If we do notallow the chaos, we stunt our growth. If we only seek and allow what is calm, familiar and comfortable, we stunt our growth. We must lean into the pain. We must be willing to make mistakes and to try again and to be hurt and love again. The role they played was to help us whether they were the betrayer, liar, cheater, abuser, best friend, or lover. We are changed forever.

Practice gratitudeSavor every moment! We must be grateful to all of life’s messengers whether they stay for only a few minutes, or a few years, or for the rest of our lives; they are a gift. Appreciate the laughter, the tears, and the joy! The impact they made and the lessons they taught will stay with us for a lifetime! Become the person you were meant to be!