Changing Destinations ... Universal Detours for a Better Life
by Edward B. Toupin
I recently worked with several people who are in the lowest points in their lives. It seems that everywhere they turn and everything they do creates a new avalanche of loss. Some of these people were, at one time, wealthy individuals, but, because of changes around them, they suddenly lost everything. The others were living comfortable lives and it seemed like everything just stopped working for them. In all cases, they were slowly sinking into despair because they couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
At one time, I had money and a beautiful home at the top of a mountain, overlooking a valley. We had a view of one of the Rocky Mountain ranges and we could watch the weather roll into Denver, from above the clouds. It was spectacular. However, in a matter of six years, I was broke and homeless. My wife became deathly ill, which ran us into debt. Then, once she was back on her feet, the Hi Meadow fire in Bailey, Colorado ran us out of our home. Two months later, my father died, plunging the entire family into discord. However, once things settled down, we stopped long enough to realize that we were suddenly traveling down a different path.
We had everything, and then suddenly, we had only the bare essentials necessary to survive. After the shock, we realized that we were truly happy for the first time in years because, in the worst possible situations, we could live anywhere as long as we had my wife, me, and the two dogs. Beyond that, very little else mattered. We realized at that point that we had the opportunity to change our lives, completely. That's when we relocated and started over on a new and wonderful
adventure --- ourselves. After some time and some adjustments, things are great again, but they're great in completely different way.
We all experience life's challenges and Universal tests; however, sometimes these tests appear to completely destroy what we see as our personal world. Regardless of how hard we try, everything goes wrong, changes, and simply falls apart. Of course, the view of our "world falling apart" is relative to each of us based on our personal experiences. Some may simply lose a diamond ring while others may lose their money, home, or loved ones. This sounds like "inevitable doomsday" talk, but this is actually an important part of our lives where the Universe forces us determine new paths.
Realize that the Universe will never "take" anything away from you. There are grander scenarios in play than simply putting you on a course for loss. Instead, in these situations, you are already heading down a path where material items are stripped from your life. It's like the path turns from pavement to dirt. If you look at these situations, you'll realize that those things that are stripped away are usually items that you hold dear, but are no longer of any real use. These items are "anchors" because they're keeping you where you are and not allowing you to move forward. It is the Universe's way of showing us that we don't need these things anymore as we've moved beyond them and need to let them go. In most cases, these situations occur before you move into something new because you're either not listening to "the message" or you need to learn something before you can continue.
The hardest part of this entire situation is not so much the loss, but the recovery. Loss can be viewed in two ways:
- I have a void because I lost something or someone dear in my life.
- I will remember that part of my life, but a new door has opened for me.
Sometimes, as you experience loss and go through the grieving process, you can eventually feel better and "lighter." You are losing anchors that keep you in place. However, it's easy to remain in "loss" because you don't have to face what has occurred and you never have to take responsibility for potential loss in the future. Essentially, sitting in loss means that you're waiting for that "other shoe to drop."
Once you are at a point where you feel you can recover, you have to decide "what's next." You've probably been running in panic mode, juggling everything in your life to keep from sinking. Since you're so used to this mode of operation, it becomes hard to change from keeping the dogs at bay to running in a positive direction again. You have to take stock in what you have, learn from what has happened, and examine the new path on which you have been placed. But, realize that once you lose nearly everything, you have an entire range of choices available to you because you don't have the excess load that was keeping you motionless. Additionally, as you begin to recover, you'll find that you've actually gained so much more. I know this sounds patronizing, especially if you're in it. But, if you step back and analyze your situation, you will find that you've not only learned something, but you've also taken a very definite turn in your life.
Understand that when you're in an avalanche situation, you need to recognize what's happening in your life. Step back and analyze what is really happening and define the underlying issues causing such a calamity. In most cases, as in our case of fire, illness, and death, there is nothing that you can do to stop it from happening. But, you do have the power within you to keep it from taking over your life by ensuring that you don't fall into despair or depression. Realize that, although the loss leaves a void, you have been given a new lease on life and a new set of possibilities to examine.
In many cases, the Universe throws a curve to make you change directions---whether it is emotional, physical, or spiritual. If you can understand that sometimes things happen that are out of your control, then you will be able to better handle such situations. To prepare yourself, you need to go back to the basics such as life, love, security, and ambitions to evaluate the stability of each element and know that the things that really matter in your life are inside of you. When you have little to carry and everything you need, it's much easier to handle the curves and maneuver to a more stable and fulfilling life.
Copyright 2002 (c) Edward B.
Toupin, All Rights Reserved.