I wouldn’t be the Charlotte I am today if my parents never got a divorce.
It’s funny, isn’t it? The biggest and most painful, scary, vulnerable challenges are the ones that shape who you are to this day. Go ahead – think about a challenging time in your life where it was/is the most uncomfortable, demanding or obscure. Now think of your life without that moment. You simply wouldn’t be you, am I right?
Don’t get me wrong – for the better half of my awkward “tween-ager” years, I sat on a couch, and listed all the reasons why “life sucked” because of my parent’s separation to my regularly scheduled therapist. At that point in my life, I saw my “situation” as a tragedy, and I was the victim. Unavoidably, I was forced to grow up fast, asked to pick sides and torn between two homes, making Christmas and Birthdays my least favorite times of the year.
During this time, it was impossible for me to visualize my truest self in the midst of a chaotic storm. But the byproduct of the dishonesty that poisoned my parent’s relationship would end up being the reason why I value honesty in my relationship to myself and others.
As I mentioned, it takes time to separate yourself from the “valleys” in your life, so you can eventually identify the light in the darkness. But once you are able to take a birds-eye view of your circumstance(s), 10 times out of 10, these are the moments that define you… and often times for the better.
Take for example, my yogi friend who was recently granted a Green Card in the U.S. after straddling the border for the majority of his adult life. Among a vast pool of feelings, his alien status caused him to feel ungrounded, isolated and captive. Despite, this hardship, however, it only took an afternoon hanging out with him to learn that he is one of the most hardworking, talented and universal beings I know.
While watching the Argentinian/Netherlands futbol match together a few days ago, I couldn’t resist the question – “How are you so motivated?”
Post sip of his Amber Ale, he looked at me and said,
“As hard as my situation has been, I wouldn’t be the motivated person I am today if I didn’t come from a third world country.”
My friend’s response was the spark that ignited a “Ma-ha” moment, also known as, Mother of all “Ah-Ha” moments, in my brain –
Our obstacles are our wisest teachers.
Facing challenges such as enrolling in Teacher Training, majoring in Religious Studies, and traveling alone to Nairobi, Kenya would not have been possible if I didn’t trust in the wisdom that our challenges are actually our opportunities.
In the end, our moments of fear, doubt and challenge are not our downfall but as my mentor, Saren Steigel, states – “the path worth taking.”