From the School of Pain to the School of Vision
Many, many of us have struggled with some aspect of lack in our lives -- not enough time, opportunities, food, well-being, quality relationships, education, money, friends, etc., etc. Whether we realize it or not, we have been using the pain of those "apparent" conditions as a very powerful teacher so that we may learn to know Oneness in God. Rather than allowing Vision to pull us into awareness of how beautiful, powerful, wonderful and holy we are, we have chosen to be pushed into that awareness through pain, believing that we are separate from the Infinite Source of all. Exquisitely tormented by the pain of not enough love, time, money and/or health we have been forced to resort to one or more of the following human solutions to our suffering: ē We create addictions to work, drugs, food, alcohol, or sex to numb the pain; or ē We live lives of quiet desperation, feeling like this condition must be the punishment we deserve for being such bad people, and hoping that by some miracle it will all go away; or ē We grovel around for yet one more solution we can impose that will "fix" the situation or make it better, such as changing jobs, trying one more health cure, divorcing our mate, etc. Eventually, we will have exhausted any number of these methods and hit our wall.
Feeling utterly defeated, we will know that the jig is up when we canít haul our accumulated baggage forward one more step. Down on all fours under the unbearable weight of our "teacher," pain, we can do nothing but wave the white flag of Truce and yell into the void, "I give up!" The end has finally come and we have no recourse but to "Let Go and Let God." What an overwhelming time this is. And what an enormously powerful time! Yes, powerful. Because it is only when our ego minds have run out of temporary solutions, avoidance patterns and rationalizations that the Mind of our Hearts can open to the Grace of God.
Always there and waiting for an invitation from us, the Grace of God is truly the answer to our prayers and beseechings. When we embrace the Grace of God we are no longer forced to learn our life lessons at the mercy of pain, but we are open to living life guided by Vision and Inspiration. As one of my mentors taught me at a critical crossroad in my journey: "When you have nowhere else to turn, you are teachable." From the Low Road to the High road: My Personal Journey I used to be a professional student at the School of Pain. For well over 40 years I believed that I was a helpless victim of my life circumstances and the lack of money. I was certain that I was being punished for untold sins, as I struggled to "make it" in the world. Pain became the professor in my chosen survival major -- Finances. Convinced that I was helpless to solve the never-ending problem of too little salary and too many bills, I felt entirely justified in blaming my situation on all sorts of scapegoats. I claimed that I was a victim of the economy, my marital status, my sex, my education, my boss, my God (who had surely forsaken me). I held the belief that the number of dollars in my checking account defined my self-worth.
You can imagine how low my self-esteem fell during the financial ebbs of my life, such as the time when the ATM would not allow a withdrawal because my balance had fallen below $20! I also believed that all the dollars I did receive had to be earned by the sweat of my brow and that it was my lot in life to never have enough money. I just knew that life was meant to be a struggle, and then you died! As I matriculated through the School of Pain I finally came to one accelerated course that had life-changing effects. A few years ago I found myself at the wedding celebration of my precious daughter with not a single dime to pay my way, much less contribute to her special day. Having to tell her and her wonderful husband-to-be that I had to renege on my promise to contribute to their marriage day took me down to all fours. "Oh my God," I thought, "could I get any lower than this?" The shame and guilt I felt over earlier debt I had incurred, the bankruptcy I had declared seven years before, and the begging I had done from friends just to pay the rent all paled in comparison to the utter hopelessness and despair I felt on this occasion of the happiest day of my daughterís life. Reduced to ashes, I cried oceans of tears in the wee hours of that wedding day morning. "How had I gotten myself into this pathetic place?" I screamed from my inner pain-wracked self. Iíve worked so hard, raised three kids as a single mom and been a religious person -- what did I do to deserve this? What am I missing? I spent the pre-dawn hours of that day submerging myself in my familiar victim mode of self-blame and self-flagellation. At one point in this vicious downward spiral, in a space between the torrent of tears and wails, I heard a soft voice say, "Be Still." Startled, I obeyed and stopped my sobbing.
"What are you grateful for right now?" the Voice quietly asked. "That Iím breathing," is all I could answer. I felt the tiniest measure of calm inch its way through my shuddering body. "Will you surrender all your problems to Me?" the Voice asked. "And will you trust Me?" It gently inquired. "I have no choice," I sighed. "I have nowhere else to go. I have tried every way I know to fix this endless financial mess. All I want to do right now is to enjoy being the mother of the bride," I declared, feeling a little bit less hysterical. "Continue to be grateful and watch the miracles unfold today.
Turn it all over to me and have a wonderful time," the Voice said. "When you are grateful you open the door for My Abundance to flow into your life." That fateful, extraordinary day I summarily transferred from the School of Pain to the School of Vision. Little did I realize how easy it is to be accepted at this school and how welcoming it feels. I received so much support from others there that I never felt like "the new kid on the block." And what a surprise it was to find everyone around me expressing their gratitude that I had made the decision to join them. Attending this school guarantees every student a degree in listening with the inner ear to the Divine Plan for oneís life. Here we are taught through inspiration, intuition and imagination what our true purpose is. Here we learn to choose the high road to clarity.
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