Everything that is happening to you is meant to be happening. For some of you, reading this is grounds for instant resistance: shock, argument, or eye-rolling. “Everything…that is happening”? Maybe, if it points only to the positive, familiar, and comfortable parts of life. “Meant to be happening?” There’s a purpose behind things, yes, but a predetermined course of events? What about free will? Who is calling the shots, anyway?
There are no coincidences. Often, you can’t see this until you engage in hindsight, and even then, you may not make the connection. It takes practice and contemplation to recognize that a greater energy has been with you throughout your life, overseeing the shots.
In my growing up years, I was always helping someone: parents, siblings, or friends. It seemed to be my inner nature. No resistance, just following the expectations of my parents and, later, those of my heart. Of course, my ego had to play devil’s advocate: What would happen if I refused to help. Consequence was a deal-breaker. Stop challenging or I would have limited time with friends or greater restricted phone privileges. Soon I understood the meaning of “under the thumb.” Fear and conditional love went unchallenged during an era when some parents offered few, if any, choices. In my world, adults were calling the shots and didn’t welcome a second opinion.
For many years, I couldn’t understand how a tight leash could result in anything positive. Why didn’t a greater energy intercede during this controlling time? During the early years of life, parents and guardians decide what is meant to be. They do the best they can with the knowledge and means that they have—realizations that became evident to me only after many years. I learned complaints were futile, a strong work ethic generates praise, and perseverance pays, life traits that are, indeed, valuable. Conversely, these years further prepared me for my own child rearing and adult work life. I learned what not to do by example. Everything that is happening to you is meant to be happening.
Even then, I must have been influenced by the guidance of a greater energy. I deviated from how I was brought up and cherished the spontaneity and lovingkindness of life and my own children—despite the usual whining and button pushing—while learning life lessons from them. Parameters are necessary, but not ones of fear. Authentic encouragement is essential, and voices need to be heard—even when the truth hurts. Unconditional love changes everything for the better. These were my positives.
Incorporating these lessons in my work and volunteer lives, I was often thought of as being too soft and not assertive enough. People tended to take advantage of me. However, a greater energy, oblivious to me, must have offered support, nudging Press on!
Teaching English to secondary-aged students and later training adult learners in business writing honed my own writing, storytelling and curriculum development abilities. Developing these skills and applying nurturing lessons created positive results that served others. Individuals learned to value themselves, find the good in situations, and become empowered. This had become the foundation for all my work.
Another example of wondering if circumstances were really meant to be happening to me was during the mid-1980’s when there was a glut of English teachers. I was unable to find a permanent teaching position. A substitute teacher for four years, I was convinced that being an English teacher was my most suitable option. In hindsight, I had not been open to working with the will and timing of a greater energy. I was consumed with thinking that I knew best.
Miraculously, several corporate training positions materialized. I was a bit hesitant, yet the prospect of corporate training was exciting. Grateful to generous individuals who believed in me and helped me to network, I quickly was able to segue much of my English teaching portfolio to reflect adult learning styles and business writing curriculum. By meeting adults at their level of understanding and using creativity and humor, I knew that I was on the right track. Everything that is happening to you is meant to be happening.
Again, it sometimes takes several persuasions of looking back to realize that you are exactly where you need to be at any point in time. Thirteen years ago, an accident lead to torn ligaments and tendons in my left ankle—the ER doctor said it would have been better if I had broken my ankle. Shocked by the reality that this was happening to me, indignant that I could do nothing about it, and frustrated that I was not in control, and never had been, I began my healing adventure. I was not a happy camper; although experiencing the paths of the Carleton College arb from a luxury wheelchair (pushed by my husband) was an attitude booster. When I reached some acceptance of my situation ten months later, hindsight told me, Everything that is happening to you is meant to be happening. My accident was the initiation of accepting my spiritual journey, and I am grateful.
Everything that has happened in your life was meant to be—especially the difficult or horrific circumstances that you don’t want to revisit. Finding one positive characteristic about negative circumstances and then focusing on it helps to pass the time and keep your sanity, leading you into the next moment, and into the next. Acceptance lets you see that you are not separate from others. You and they—we—all weather impermanence or change, good times and challenging ones, and a host of other dualities. When you allow all these conditions to happen, in their own time, you live more fully.
From a higher vantage: I Invite you to revisit the mileposts of your life, its turning points. See if a greater energy wasn’t in the thick of things along with you. Rich aha’s and understandings are waiting. A greater energy knows.