“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway
Wëijï, is the Chinese word for crisis. The symbols that make the word translate to mean transition point. In reality, it is a compound word with one symbol representing opportunity and the other symbol representing danger. You see, the Chinese view crisis as a two-edged sword that presents opportunity as well as danger.
Likewise, in our own lives, the way we respond to crises can actually endanger us, such as when we descend into prolonged despair, negative emotions or self-destructive behaviors. But, we can also avail ourselves to opportunity by accepting the challenge that such crises bring. In crisis situations, life sometimes calls us to adjust our priorities, accept our losses and adapt our thinking processes and beliefs.
I recall a Northumberland folk tale about peacocks eating thorns in order to produce their beautiful tail feathers. The story symbolizes that the harsh things we learn to digest can lead us to our inner beauty.
Although struggling to accept losses can give rise to many negative emotions, not all emotions experienced as a result of a crisis need to be negative. Illness, loss of a loved one, depression, trauma, unemployment stress, all represent examples of dreaded transitions that issue compelling invitations for us to change—to begin a journey of self-renewal and growth. When we are open, we can often find many blessings hidden in the heart of tragedy.
Join me next week as I discuss how crises can provide us with the lessons we need to become more resilient human beings.
Dr. Eileen Wynne, PhD