In the Eye of the Storm

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 7.24.42 PM.png

— Marianne Williamson, A Year of Miracles

Aside from daily prayer, meditation, and conscious connection to be of service to those around me, I love starting my day by reading a daily reflection. Mostly because the passages usually speak to where I’m at and answer questions I’ve been subconsciously posing. The above was my morning read the other day from Marianne Williamson’s A Year of Miracles. How true this is for me right now!

Four weeks ago, I sustained a major laceration through my foot from a surfboard fin and haven’t been completely able to walk yet, forcing me into momentary pause from the beach, swimming, ballet, live music, and surfing: all the things I love most. While working from home as my job graciously allows, my laptop cord shorted and I had to order another. It’s expensive, especially for overnight shipping. Cue financial fear and stress, as if I needed this on top of my piling medical bills for my injury! The overnighted cord didn’t arrive for six days. Since I can’t walk, a simple task became complicated and stressful. And I couldn’t work. And my job was frustrated. And I couldn’t fix it. Then last week, my apartment flooded three times and visible black mold developed. The same night, I heard a bang and gushing water; my toilet tank split in half and flooded the place for the fourth time. I took that as my last sign! So I had to vacate, moving in temporarily with my clinically narcissistic mother. Through all of this, contrary to expected experience, I feel decently okay.

Aside from a few brief moments of panic, I’ve been comfortable. The gift is those moments have only lasted about ten minutes each (I proudly counted each time!). As I heard in some of my first Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, when one door closes another one opens, but it’s hell in the hallway. The waiting period between a break in love and the miracle occurring is the biggest challenge to my faith. I kept feeling like I’m not being taken care of and that there isn’t a loving force out there looking out for me. In holding on, learning to recognize the miracles as they appear, and acknowledging them, my faith is either strengthened or restored. My job is to keep my eyes open for them. Meditation flawlessly provides this opportunity.

It’s easy for me to say that life isn’t working out when on the outside a lot os going wrong, but I can consciously decide to see the glimpses of hope in the eye of the storm. Just a few days before the laptop cord incident, the majority of my medical treatments, and the flooding, approximately $1,200 that I didn’t immediately need found me from a half dozen random sources. As if it fell from the sky. I had a few options to spend it on things I didn’t fully desire, but I chose to set it aside. A few weeks later in the chaos, I suddenly needed that cash, and miraculously, I now have enough to replace my damaged furniture and pay off most medical expenses. I’d love to have used it for another Hawai’i trip, my freediving certification, or Phish tour, but I trust that because I decided to take care of myself, the funds for these extra opportunities will flow in just as easily, as they always have. Out of nowhere. When I ask. Especially because the Universe supports me being responsible when I need to be. Historically, I’ve gotten rewarded for taking care of myself. I had some extra savings for a trip last winter, but not quite enough. I used it instead on a new mattress to support my scoliosis and sleep quality, which I’d wanted for years. Two weeks later, one of my designer listings sold for twice the amount I estimated for the trip. Taken care of.

But because I’m human, I fall short of believing all this will happen again when I’m in the thick of a challenging time with no resolution in sight. The most profound blessing in all this recent mayhem is my willingness to return to the solution and take action in that direction, notably through meditation. Not surprisingly, the periods of doubt and discomfort are shorter and significantly less intense than they were before I started my spiritual journey. I can get back to feeling okay, or even happy, faster than I used to, as if my spirit now has a lower tolerance for self-induced distress before rerouting its course back to love.

What progress from my life before! Meditation is the constant that brings me back to my center and dissolves anxiety, deep sadness, and fear. It’s funny how little actions started popping up for solutions to this month’s madness and I know that I haven’t exhausted all of my options yet. As A Course in Miracles beautifully describes, what isn’t love is a call for love; why ignore the growth opportunity now when it’ll just pop up down the road in another form? I have a choice whenever a challenge arises to meet it or run. It’s not up to us what we learn, it’s only up to us whether we learn through joy or through pain as the Course reminds me. The Universe’s intention in every situation is for my maximal soul growth toward enlightenment. The lessons will continue to appear until they are learned. With all this recent chaos, I’m deciding to learn.

That I’m not in a panic, that I’ve gotten out of the few tailspins I’ve had, and that I’ve been able to move on from those moments of self-pity and doubt are the promises coming true, for sobriety and everyday living. The key is to wear life like a loose garment: be firm in my goals but flexible in my approach. In the grand scheme of life, these small detours aren’t a big deal. After years of studying it, the Buddhist principle of impermanence is finally imprinted within my consciousness: the root cause of human suffering is the false belief that our temporary situations will not change.

But they will. Because life is fluid.


Disclaimer Charlotte Grey does not claim any professional training in social work or psychiatry. The suggestions listed on this page and on this website are meant to inspire supplemental treatment options for self-help. It is recommended that professional treatment be combined with any solutions discussed herein for suspected or known psychological or psychiatric malady, and that the content of this website not be used as substitute for professional treatment.

writing © Charlotte Grey Writings

*For writing requests, please contact Charlotte via e-mail.