A few months ago, a client came to me who had been unexpectedly laid off. It was a huge blow for her and she felt a bit of her identity had vanished. I helped her to ground back into who she was and the impacts that she had made over the years in her career. As the news started to sink in, she eventually found herself strangely happy and relieved. I helped her to see the layoff as gift. The abrupt change had presented an opportunity for her to find a more positive environment where her skills and expertise aligned; where she could feel challenged and grow.
My aikido teacher, George Leonard, called this awareness taking the hit as a gift. At various times in life we all receive hits. They can take the form of injury or accident, relationship struggles, career pitfalls, family crises or disappointments. Some are more forceful than others. When we receive the hit and label it as bad or negative we lose the opportunity to grow. If we receive the hit and look at it as a gift, we can open up to the possibility to change a pattern, belief, behavior or relationship in our life that is no longer serving us. We are empowered by this wake-up-call to act in a way that improves our health and wholeness thus embracing the pain or challenge for what it is, an opportunity.
Here are two ways that you can take your next “hit” as a gift:
1. Find the Resistance and Expand
One overlooked upside of any challenge, set back, injury or crisis is the knowledge that something you are doing (or not doing) is causing you pain. The pain that you feel is a wake-up call to really look at your life and ask yourself if you are enhancing your health or detracting from it. When you feel pain, your body is sending you a message to change and expand. In physical workouts, you expand your muscles by working with resistance (weights). The same is true in the conscious realm; you can expand your awareness by working with the hits that you receive. Instead of backing away from the pain or pushing through it, try staying with the resistance and allowing the change or expansion to take place.
2. Go to Gratitude
Stop and take a moment to look around you and examine what you are grateful for. Is the “hit” you are receiving still as dramatic as it seems? When my client lost her job, it seemed pretty serious at first. As she examined her life, she realized she had other things going well. She was healthy, had a great community and a loving dog. When you are grateful for the hit you receive, you open yourself up to explore new opportunities and expand your awareness. This creates a shift of energy from outward flowing to inward receiving. It also illuminates what really matters in your life and gives you a roadmap for spending more of your time on the things or with the people you love.
These are just two ways that you can reframe your hit as an opportunity to create real change. It is the aha moment that many of us need to gain perspective and reorient ourselves to what really matters. My client is now working in a more fast-paced environment where her strengths will contribute to growth. She also benefitted by cutting back on expenses and getting clear about what really makes her happy. Whether it is a blessing in disguise, a silver lining or a gift, with a bit of time and the right mindset this “hit” will create transformation.