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Gillian Florence

What is one experience you've had that first presented as a challenge and now you view was an opportunity?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Hi Gillian,  really interesting to read about your experience with acne and how that led you onto exploring holistic practices.  Its so true that at the time, thinking of the experience as a blessing is the last thing we are willing to entertain, but with the benefit of hindsight we can see how without that, we might never have found our way to developing insight and a more nourishing relationship with ourselves.   I also suffered with acne as a teenager and into my 20's.  I remember at one point (probably after reading a lot of self-help books) deciding that I would try shifting my mental reaction to the suffering and simply see what happened if I didnt react to it and found that the flare-ups started to calm down.  I now see acne or cold sores as simply an indication that my psyche is out of balance and a reminder to pay more attention to how I'm treating myself.

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