Posted in coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity

Playing Life Poker? What Trumps What?

Every play rock, paper, scissors when you were a kid? There’s a hierarchy in the game and the goal is to try and always be the one to come out on top. When facing a challenge we look for ways to overcome adversity. Our goal and our only goal is to find solutions that will outwit the challenge or put it to rest. That’s great when talking about tangible things like overcoming debt, fighting illness, parenting teenagers; we can develop strategies that minimize the stress caused by these life events. Think about the moments before you find the solution and you’re in that place of suffering; what do you do with suffering?

When I was a freshman in college I changed my major three or four times the first year. There was a period of time when I was in the teacher education program and my professor Dr. Sacca was teaching us how to determine for ourselves as students and a tool to teach our future students about what is important in the lesson. He said, “Repetition for emphasis.” His point was that if something comes up more than once in the lesson it will most likely be on the exam. So in life, when we experience suffering from life interruptions over and over, what do you cultivate to overcome that pain?

I told you that story because at the end of the show Criminal Minds (I’m obsessed with profiling serial killers…don’t worry just a phase) the voice over is a quote pertaining to experience the agents just experienced. I heard this quote yesterday and wrote it down, then said to myself, “Gee this sounds familiar”. It was familiar because the last time this episode aired I had written down the same quote in my notebook, “repetition for emphasis.”

The lesson expressed by Ben Okri is, “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering.” In these moments it’s important to remember that we’re spiritual beings having a human experience. We as a species have survived because we’re adaptable and teachable. We are social creatures allowing us to teach each other ways to overcome adversity and avert negative experiences in the future. We love and have the capacity to comfort and be comforted alleviating isolation and vulnerability.

The quote by Okri is one of those “in your face” lessons that we must not only read, but assimilate into every cell of our being. We need to infuse creativity, endurance, transformation, and love into all of our actions, thoughts, and beliefs. We’re greater than the interruptions that intrude on our lives. Tattoo that quote on your heart and use it as a guide when you need to make the tough decisions life requires of you.

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