Posts tagged ‘hope’

Five Ways to Prepare for 2015: Get Lucky

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“Why use bitter soup for healing,” Rumi asks, “When sweet water is everywhere?” PTSD survivors and all of us seeking health and happiness in 2015 (and every day of every other year) will do well to remember Rumi’s question. We have much healing to do individually and in this broken and weary world. We can’t do it by continuing to drink bitter soup. Reveling in our pain, injustices, and victimhood only keep us sick and toxic. No, my friends, instead of continuing to count the ways in which we have been injured and hurt – and we have been, all of us – we need to “Get Lucky.”

Getting lucky is a change in perspective. It catapults us from pity to prosperity. The truth, of course, is that the cup is half full AND half empty. It cannot be one without the other. If you don’t believe me, go get a glass and fill it halfway with water. Nothing can be half full without being half empty. If you still doubt me, watch the sky for 24 hours. It cannot be dark half the time without being light half the time. “Good and bad are mixed,” Rumi reminds us. “If you do not have both, you do not belong with us.”

We have been hurt, and we have been helped. We are wounded, and we are healing. We hold within ourselves the potential to be very, very good and very, awfully bad. When we stay stuck in our victim mentalities, we hurt ourselves and we hurt all those around us. When we focus on our woundedness, we focus on what was done to us. When we focus on our healing, we focus on what we can do. We could not control what was done to us. We have complete power over what we do.

Getting lucky means that we start concentrating on how lucky we are. You know how these things work: kindness begets kindness. Misery loves company. Pretty is as pretty does. Believing ourselves to be lucky begins to create more luck. Good fortune comes to those with eyes to see it, ears to hear it, and a heart to accept it.

Tomorrow, December 28th, is the birthday of my cousin and friend, Karen. Karen has had more loss in her life than the rest of us put together. This year, again, Karen volunteered to work Thanksgiving and Christmas days because, as she bluntly puts it, other people have family to stay home with, so why wouldn’t she go in and work? She says this in a matter of fact way. It is simply the truth to her. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself. In fact, if you ask her, as I have, she’ll tell you she is the luckiest person in the world. I tell her she is the most resilient person I know. And you know what, because of her astonishingly positive attitude, she is the happiest person I know, too. Happy birthday tomorrow, Karen!

Also, tomorrow is the 51st wedding anniversary of my brother and his wife. Skip and Molly began their marriage with a devastating illness that kept them separated and impoverished for their first year of marriage. Many couples would have folded under such a beginning. Let me give you two examples of how Skip and Molly have made their own “luck.” When Molly was offered a job that demanded they relocate, Skip found a job in a neighboring community. When Skip, a music teacher, wanted to play his trumpet in a community band, Molly asked him what instrument would be easiest for her to learn. If he was going to go play in bands, she’d learn the clarinet and go play with him instead of staying home (and feeling sorry for herself?). They consider themselves very lucky. Surely they have been. But they have been instrumental (musical pun) in making their own good fortune. Happy Anniversary!

And December 28th is also the birthday of one of my granddaughters. This particular one would describe herself as the luckiest girl in the world. She doesn’t have the one thing she most wants in the world, a horse, but she is very aware of the riches she does possess. She concentrates on her loving family. She is practically oblivious to the fact that most of her childhood she has been a cancer survivor. She is also matter-of-fact about what the cancer has taken from her. Happy Birthday, sweetie pie!

All of which is to say that when we talk about “getting lucky” we are talking about making a conscious choice to see what we have and to live in a state of appreciation and gratitude. This is more necessary for PTSD survivors than for most of the world because, having been traumatized, it would be all too easy to stay in the trauma state and forget the rest of the name: we are trauma SURVIVORS. The triumph is in the survival. The victim is undergoing the trauma; the survivor has overcome the trauma.

I don’t think many of us feel “lucky” to be trauma survivors, but, of course, we are. There are many trauma victims who don’t survive the trauma. There are many more trauma victims who stay stuck in the trauma for the rest of their lives. Then there is the group of trauma victims (like those reading these words) who choose to use the trauma to learn and grow. “The cure for the pain is in the pain,” Rumi says. Pain of any kind is always a teacher and an opportunity. If we have a stomach ache, we need to figure out what we have eaten which is disagreeable to us. If we have a headache, we need to analyze what stress and tension in our lives is causing our heads to hurt. Louise Hay says when we get a cold it’s because we’re “resistant to change.” When we are achy we are “longing for love, and longing to be held.” Abdominal cramps are a result of “fear,” and alcoholism is “self-rejection.” Every physical sensation we experience has an emotional component, and Louise Hay has broken the code and can translate for us what they mean. And how do you suppose she learned this? She has survived breast cancer twice. She transformed her suffering into wisdom. When she wanted to write about her discoveries and couldn’t find a publisher, she created a publishing company, and now Hay House is one of the premier publishing companies in the United States. Some would say she “got lucky.” She might say “the cure for the pain” is always “in the pain.”
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Let’s spend the last days of December 2014 making the mental and emotional shifts which will allow us to enter 2015 lucky, lean, loving, laughing and light. We are going to have the best year of our lives in 2015. Can you feel it? If not, just suspend your disbelief for a little while and come along on the ride. Let’s see how lucky we can get. I remember years ago when someone gave me a card to congratulate me on something, and the card said that “TRY” and “UMPH” were the ingredients in triumph. They’re also the ingredients in luck, which is homemade, handmade and heart made. Let’s get lucky.

Blessings, susan

Luckily, Photography by Mary Ellen Jelen

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December 26, 2014 at 11:58 PM Leave a comment

To hope,

you have first

to feel hopeless. — Richard Rohr

August 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM 1 comment


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