Thanks for sharing this Tony! It reminded me of something I hadn't thought about when posing this question, so here it goes:
All throughout my teens and early 20s, I struggled with painful, uncomfortable cystic acne. I tried everything to 'get rid' of it, including rounds of antibiotics, which worked for a short period of time while also undoubtedly destroying my healthy gut flora as well. Nothing really seemed to work, which led me into a diploma program for Holistic Nutrition (I was growing increasingly interested in alternative methods for managing this symptom, along with other things I was experiencing such as depression and fatigue).
At the time, I certainly would not have been able to see my acne as a blessing, but now I see it as a clear cry from my inner world to pay attention and to develop a new relationship with myself. It was something I could not ignore and so I started on a journey of learning more about how to truly nourish myself - both through food and through thought.
Great question, wow there are so many examples of this!
Many years ago, when I started a new job, I started to develop what I know interpret as stress and anxiety related symptoms in my body. I became very ill and lost a lot of weight (I was already very thin so losing weight was potentially dangerous for me). I was fortunate to find an experienced naturopath who provided compassionate and practical support to help me get on the road to recovery and self-healing, she helped me to gain more awareness of and sensitivity to the effect of different foods on my body, introduced me to cranio-sacral therapy and invited me to consider whether there may be emotional issues that I needed to address.
This experience I now regard as an opportunity for me to develop more sensitivity to my body, thoughts, feelings and to experience the power of the inner wisdom of my body. It led onto seeking out professional counselling in the following years help to address underlying emotional issues which helped me to heal personal wounds in myself and with my parents.
What appeared first as a challenge now seems to me to have been a catalyst and invitation for me to get more curious about myself, my personal suffering and to develop self compassion and appreciation for the body.
Hi Gillian, thank you!
Great to know a bit more about you aswell.
The natural environment is also one of my passions, in my previous job, I developed the good habit of taking time out in the middle of the day, to walk in the local park and ground myself by simply sitting on the grass or leaning against a tree. I found that simply allowing myself to connect with nature helped to calm and revitalise me, so simple yet so powerful!
Nature based meditation practices sound amazing, I know a few people who are not really interested in formal meditation practice and are real nature lovers, they have often said that for them just being in nature is their meditation, I suspect you will find a lot of people will be interested in this way of connecting, a great way to make meditation more accessible. I look forward to hearing more about your work.
This week's question asks:
What is one experience you've had that first presented as a challenge and now you view was an opportunity?
As time unfolds, things that once proved challenging for us start to be perceived differently. Many challenges can later be looked at as blessings or opportunities. What is one such example of this in your own life?
Thank you for this lovely introduction Tony! It is wonderful to learn more about your background and what brought you here. It seems you have quite a wealth of professional experience that will interweave beautifully with mindfulness (not to mention many years and hours of personal practice and retreat!)
As I mentioned in the other thread, I can relate to the need to change careers and the big unknown that comes with that. I think many people are in this boat and could use some support with it.
If you have any questions going forward, I'm the moderator for the community and the Chief Care Officer, so feel free to reach out at any time. A bit more background about myself - I am a freelance writer focusing on topics such as mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality. I am also a yoga and meditation practitioner, though I haven't taught in-person since the pandemic began. I'm finding myself falling more and more into my passion and niche within this field, which has to do with the natural environment. I'm currently working on some nature-based meditation practices for my own website as well as my Insight Timer account.