October 23 – The Wisdom to Survive, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“My mom said she learned how to swim. Someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. That’s how she learned how to swim. I said, “Mom, they weren’t trying to teach you how to swim.” Paula Poundstone

Reframing what happens to us can be a healthy way to survive terrible things, or it can become a veil of denial that keeps us from moving on. Often, we simply have to trust that we will see the truth of things when we are strong enough and ready.

Yet the danger in not seeing things as they are or were is that we can start to believe that in order to learn something we need someone to throw us off the boat, or out of the relationship. If we can’t see the difference between the cruelty or hardship we experience and the wisdom waiting in our reflex to survive, we can find ourselves needing crisis and pain in order to learn. While much learning comes from crisis and pain, not all of it needs to.

We don’t need something to go wrong in order to change.

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