Let me just start this blog by saying that I need a good foot massage. And a drink. Or three. The last few days have been spent with either friends or clients, all of whom have had some bout with serious illness.  Lyme disease, cancer – the biggies.  I’m wiped.

Their struggles have been epic, and it was painful to hear just how difficult their lives have become.  In one case, a dear family member didn’t survive her cancer.  In another, my friend’s work life has been completely derailed by her illness.  It has been unbelievably rough.

Needless to say, each of these clients/friends had one question in common, namely, “Why?”

I do not pretend to have the answer to that one.  That’s waay above my paygrade. But what I DO know is that people who have a major issue in their life —  an accident, death of a child, special-needs kid, serious illness – have taken on a brave karmic challenge.

The way I understand it, before we incarnate, we decide that we need some “extra credit” in the Karmic School of Life.  By willing to live out an especially hard experience here on Earth, we make up for lost opportunities in past lives – or for having been a soulless putz.  It’s the mother of all summer school courses.

Clearly, making that decision to live through such a hard experience takes major cojones.  But it doesn’t mean that it makes it any easier once you get to this side and actually undertake the journey.

The point is, such an extreme experience is bound to lead to some form of enlightenment and understanding.  Its not just for you, either – all those around you that are affected by it will also have a chance to up their game.

My friend with the Lyme disease shared a lot of information about what she was going through, information that I knew would be helpful for another person in my life who was dealing with the illness.  In two hours over sandwiches, she had turned her problem into something helpful for another.

The client who had lost her sister to breast cancer realized that the experience of going through those devastating few years had brought positive change to her otherwise dysfunctional family.

Someone like Stephen Hawking has shown that, while his body isn’t under his control, his mind soars free, free to make astounding discoveries in science.

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Still smarter than you.

There are others: the mother who lost her child to a drunk driver and started “MADD” or John Walsh, who suffered the loss of his son Adam, yet turned that horror into a crusade to find other criminals through America’s Most Wanted.  Talk to the parents of a special-needs child, who will admit that the practical realities are difficult – but how that child has been a gift in what they teach them about love and endurance.

I’m not trying to minimize the difficulty of surviving or living with a tragedy or tough situation – but when you consider the sheer bravery of the soul willing to take that on, well, thank yourself for being such a badass. And offering us all a chance to grow in profound ways.

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