Turning troubles on their head

October 6, 2017

soul-schoolLast night I dreamt that I was at a family get together.

So what, you’re probably thinking.

What’s different about this dream is that in reality, the people in my dream, my closest genetic family, are not in my life.

This is not my choice. But, to be honest, it probably should’ve been my choice, if by nature I wasn’t loathe to break even the thinnest threads that connect. Because as author Mikal Gilmore wrote in Shot in the Dark:*

*Hell was my family. It was having to live with people who did the worst things to people they should love the most.

Who wants to live in that scenario?

But let’s turn this around and view it from a different angle.

If, like I do, you believe that what happens in this life is planned in advance in the time between lives … and that we are involved in the planning–agree to it, in fact–as part of lessons to be learned in this life…it changes the view significantly.

I do believe that there is a greater meaning to our lives. That we’re here to develop our souls, because that’s what goes on–not our bodies. We never really die…the soul is eternal and its job is to evolve and grow. This life on earth is just a brief stop, meant to be a form of Soul School, a lesson or two or three on our soul’s journey.

It’s my belief that the situation with my family is something we all agreed to play out in order for me to learn the big lesson of this lifetime. And this isn’t the only scenario designed for that same lesson. I’ve lived a number of experiences all meant for the same lesson. Some of the toughest situations were carried out with love by members of my soul family to help me along and sometimes that meant they had to play difficult roles. They had to inflict pain. Others got to bring me more positive lessons but these people, the people now in my family, had to do the harder stuff.

I do believe this. And yet, I’m human. So I do feel pain and hurt. I do over analyze and look for human reasons. No one’s been more analytical or has dived as deep as I have on the subject of my family.

And yet, I can’t hold it against them because they’re playing an important role in my soul’s evolution.

If you don’t see the purpose of life as I do, I can see how difficult tough life situations can seem. They’re difficult for me, too, even with my beliefs. But if you’re going through hard times, it can be helpful to stand outside the pain and suffering and consider if there might be a greater message for you or someone else.

Look, I get that it’s no consolation. Sometimes, I feel the same way. On one of those days, when the larger picture seemed illusive, I received an email with this inspiration:

One with an awakened heart remains rooted in the unchanging truth that underlies all conditions and therefore can maintain equanimity in the face of change, whether pleasant or unpleasant. ~Ellen Grace O’Brian

It was a great reminder of the bigger picture, of the “unchanging truth that underlies all conditions.”

Now, this is not a simple concept. Nor is it easy to live out.

But that doesn’t make it any less so. Which is why it’s so important to take the lesson.

*From Shot in the Dark, by Mikal Gilmore, who is one of the most talented writers I’ve ever read and this is by far one of the best books I’ve read.






31 comments on “Turning troubles on their head
  1. That’s a very enlightened stance to take. It’s a hard one, but I think it’s one that can really help us change our perspective and thus, our mindset.

  2. Bill Sweeney says:

    What an excellent way of viewing the trials we face in our lives. I’ve never thought of it before, but you’re absolutely right. Those hardships shape us into who we are.

  3. Cole Nemeth says:

    Although my beliefs are different, I do agree that difficult situations teach us valuable lessons. And I totally understand the pain that can be caused by family.

  4. Mikal Gilmore is such a brilliant writer, and his sentiments are very powerful. I’m sorry you can relate to his terrible experiences but am awestruck at your enlightened way of looking at it.

  5. Diane says:

    You are entirely right. We’re here for our souls to grow. So very well said, Carol!
    I love the quote: I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it. I firmly believe that life needs to be viewed through an eternal lens.

  6. I still dream about my family. They were a huge part of my life and now that I’ve removed them it’s going to take years to recover from their toxicity.

  7. Sometimes the ones who we assume are supposed to love us the most, or in fact the most toxic for us.

  8. Morgan shaw says:

    I can totally relate to this post ! My family is still in my life but we do not get on so they might as well not be. Thanks for sharing your pain even though it is difficult this is not a topic I come across a lot was an itnrrrsting read Morgan x

  9. Cassie says:

    this is a refreshing look on how we deal with the trials we experience throughout life. I think it’s all growth and learning, and we just continue to evolve

  10. Mitch says:

    Family is a tough one for me. I find that less things bother me now that I have a son and I want him to have a relationship with them. I will always have issues, but I put them aside for him. And he will probably have issues with me some day. We can only do the best we can.

  11. Mary says:

    Carol, you always have me thinking in ways I have never thought of. Thank you for opening my mind with a different perspective as I face some recent challenges.

  12. brianne says:

    I always believe dreams can be insight to you and your problems. Family can sometimes be hard to deal with at times!

  13. I will have to check this book out. It sounds like something I would like. Thanks for the introduction!

  14. Rosey says:

    I haven’t heard of the author until now. I’m glad you enjoyed his writing. I’m sure he appreciates the blog post!

  15. What an interesting way to look at life. I have a complicated family situation that is plagued with a lot of addiction, and I have had to turn away from some people just to protect myself and my family. But there is some comfort in the idea that it is all meant to develop my soul and teach me a larger lesson.

  16. Wendy Polisi says:

    I definitely agree that we’re here for a purpose. We shouldn’t shirk the responsibility of what that purpose is.

  17. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? I think these experiences are meant to happen to allow us to grow and improve our lives. We definitely have to take the lesson and learn from it.

  18. Family is not always easy to deal with and no family is definitely perfect. I just think that it’s important to look beyond differences and stick together, but not everyone sees it that way. I hope your family finds their way back to you.

  19. Theresa says:

    That’s an interesting way to look at it. I haven’t spoken to my sister in 6 years, both of our decisions. Sometimes I’m okay with that, other times it does bother me. It’s comforting to know that maybe there is a higher purpose to our estrangement.

  20. Stephanie says:

    This is one of the powerful statements you have in your post: It was a great reminder of the bigger picture, of the “unchanging truth that underlies all conditions.”It has resonated with me in some areas of my life as I grew up with a complicated relationship with my father that I carry with me until now.. The author’s writing style truly pulls you in emotionally…

  21. mary says:

    Love your perspective. I agree that there is something more meant for our lives-a greater meaning. Hope I find out what that is!

  22. I do believe we’re here to learn lessons. I’ve been blessed with a great family but I’m working on being a better judge of certain other relationships and some other obstacles. Life is such a mystery but I remain open to all possibilities.

  23. Ananda says:

    so true there is a greater meaning to our lives. i love listening to eckhart tolle, and the three principles. truth sets our hearts free. xx

  24. Jen Temcio says:

    I am curious to read Mikal Gilmore’s book Shot in the Dark because I relate to some things but would hope to pick up his forgiveness and graciousness and see myself in a positive way instead of harboring negative feelings.

  25. I can very well understand this situation and admire you for finding an explanation for a life a life lacking in parental love, abuses, frustrations. Usually, people tend to choose a partner that mirrors the bad parent behavior and end up repeating the bad experiences from childhood. So I’m not sure the purpose of a tough life is to learn something, suffering rarely makes someone a person better, on the contrary.
    And let us take into consideration people who got killed by bad persons, what is the lesson they had to learn? And when?

  26. Mallory says:

    What a positive perspective. I think it’s such an interesting way of looking at what most people think of as an extremely painful situation with family. I really like the view of life as “soul school”. I don’t always see eye to eye with my family so I’m going to remember this as part of my soul’s learning and growing.

  27. Mallory says:

    What a positive perspective. I think it’s such an interesting way of looking at what most people think of as an extremely painful situation with family. I really like the view of life as “soul school”. I don’t always see eye to eye with my family so I’m going to remember this as part of my soul’s learning and growing.

  28. Eloise says:

    I like your outlook on life, it’s always best to look at the bigger picture. Tough times happen to us all, that’s part of life and how we learn to deal with it is important… if we see them as learning opportunities and ways to grow and become more wise than it’s not so bad. Everything here on earth is temporary in our human life, then our beautiful souls take what we’ve learned and move on up. I like to believe when you think of everything as temporary than it’s more doable and easier to work through because you’re more level headed and able to think outside the box to resolve any conflict.
    I had a near death experience 5 yrs ago and it changed my views on how life should be lived and our purpose here on earth… My life before had a fog and ever since I was able to come back I’ve been living in clarity.
    I’m sorry you don’t enjoy your family and it can be difficult to be around them, but your views on how there’s a purpose is amazing. Maybe you can learn from that to better your kids lives in the future. Pass down your knowledge…
    Great read!

  29. Our Family World says:

    Sometimes when I get too overwhelmed with all these responsibilities I face, I start to question myself – Is this my purpose in life? To be stressed out everyday? I should learn to see the positive and be thankful for the blessing of being able to use my talents.

  30. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    As I was reading this post, there was one quote that immediately came to mind – “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” It is so true that our trials. our hardships shape our character and gives us a clearer picture of what our purpose in life is.

  31. Jessica bradshaw says:

    Your outlook on life is absolutely beautiful. We have to make the best of all situations. I have had several experiences that made me say “why me?” But they have all been growing experiences.

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