I have been considering, for quite some time, what the topic of my next blog post would involve. So many events have occurred over the past few months that I delayed my posts because I was so overwhelmed by the continual manifestation of unwanted occurrences in my life. I kept thinking, things are going to improve and by then I will have a much more comprehensive perspective. Well, things did not get better. In fact, circumstances turned for the worse and then they continued to deteriorate. Why were these horrible events happening, I kept asking myself? What have I done to deserve such treatment? Why is this happening? Why me?
As my world crumbled, I continued to focus on what was most important at the time: finishing my first semester in graduate school at University of Houston (pursuing a graduate degree has been a long-revered goal of mine) and keeping my eyes open for career opportunities, as my career had taken a most definite reversal and had stalled. A dark cloud seemed to hover over me and no matter how hard I tried to escape the abyss of depression and fear in which I had found myself, nothing seemed to work. I was lost, yearning to become and feel complete again.
I have been a student of new age spirituality for years and years, and I knew that from all the spiritual lessons I had learned, these events were happening for a reason. But why now? This is a time when my career should flourish and I should enjoy abundance and a wealth of opportunities. The fifties are often considered the most important time in life when careers are at their highest and we experience the very best in friendships, relationships, and key moments of self-actualization. Unfortunately, for me, nothing seemed to work. I was stuck. Friendships that had long been the cornerstone of my emotional ecosystem of support were no longer there. Friends that I had turned to for years and years to get through the rough times were either emotionally or physically absent, unable to reach or stubbornly indifferent to my circumstances. These experiences brought about a revelation on just how significantly friendships change over time and the dynamics that shift our interpersonal relationships.
For many of us, we choose to enter romantic relationships and marriage because we want and need emotional support. Life is meant to be shared and it is not much fun to be alone. So, whether we intend it or not, our secondary and tertiary relationships, outside of our partnership or marriage, take a back seat. We are so focused on our romantic relationship, partnership, or marriage, that we no longer provide the support that we so often gave our “bestie” or best friend throughout the years. For someone, like myself, who is not currently involved in a romantic relationship or partnership/marriage, this lack of caring or emotional indifference is a slap in the face. We all remember those times during college when we swore to always remember our best buddies and to be there during the rough times and even in some cases, we made promises never to forget or abandon our “best friend forever”. The song “The Promise” by the group “When in Rome” certainly comes to mind: “If you need a friend, don’t look to a stranger, you know in the end, I’ll always be there….”
Unfortunately, time mars such an endeavor during middle age and perhaps even before then. Changing dynamics within our lives and friendships mean that we shift our priorities. Those of us who are single probably endure the most of many friendships where a one time “best friend” or “close friend” just checks out. And the friend that checks out may not even be aware of it! It just happens. It’s a part of life. However, if one exercises even a semblance of emotional intelligence, it is obvious that our most revered friendships deserve care and attention, particularly when one is experiencing a life-threatening situation and is in dire need of support. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could turn their backs on a dear friend when they need assistance during a crisis. Such abandonment is most definitely a slap in the face and requires us to reevaluate and examine the place, if any, this relationship should have in our lives.
Middle-age is a time when we experience a multitude of changes. Those who have children witness their bundles of joy head off to college, our careers often have extreme demands, and our partners/spouses also have their challenges to which we must attend. Inevitably, this is a time when our parents need us the most. When our parents age and we tend to their needs and concerns, or we witness the cruelty of old age and all the illness and despair that can often accompany such a grueling time of life, the experience has the effect of forever changing us, the caregivers. We have witnessed the ravages of time, despair, and illness, and we are changed. Forever. We are not the same. And this change in how we perceive the rest of our lives is very significant. It is painfully understood just how preciously fragile our later years are and how eye-opening it is to prepare for those last chapters in our lives. We see ourselves in our parents. In the next twenty years or less, the same challenges that aging has brought upon our parents will affect us. And will we have the same level of support that was provided to our own parents? Those of us without children wonder what will happen, should the time come, and of course it will, when we will need assistance just to get through the day. And this realization certainly changes our existing interactions within friendships and relationships. While the opportunity to bounce back from an illness or a bout of depression in our twenties and thirties was easily realized, we suddenly experience an epiphany that in our fifties, time is short. There is not that much time left, and when the “life-clock” stares at us in the face, this realization alters our perceptions, our relationships are reevaluated, and we question how they fit within our lives. Are they contributing to our wellness and happiness or are they bogging us down, contributing to depression or a sense of despair? Therefore, it is logical that we remove these friendships from our lives or limit their influence on our happiness, given that our time on this life is short – there is only one attempt at this life and it is certainly not a dress rehearsal. It is “opening night” every single day and we must make the best of it.
So, does this mean that we just arbitrarily begin to dump our friendships? I have never been a fan of “fair-weather” friendship. I believe that true friendship involves being there for our friends during the bad times as well as the good. Those who have even a modicum of emotional intelligence will know that dumping relationships is not easy to do and it should never be done lightly. Especially if there is a desire on one side to continue a friendship/relationship, we should give it a decent try and should not arbitrarily cut people off. Specifically, when a friend is in a dire situation, we should do our best to provide some level of support; perhaps they are fleeing domestic violence, their life is in danger, or perhaps they need not just an ear, but help transitioning or need a temporary place to live while they sort things out. So much for those drunken promises when we were younger, in college, or in our twenties. Those promises are certainly broken when harsh realities surface – especially harsh realities as I have described.
Recent events in my life have brought me to the realization that I cannot rely upon familiar sources of support – either because of life’s design or through unfortunately stubborn individual choices. The ecosystem of emotional support that one may have experienced in earlier decades is significantly altered or non-existent as time passes. Changing dynamics within relationships shift the support system and it is important to recognize and adapt to these patterns. When a crisis occurs, this shift can seem like an earthquake, so it is better to recognize the signs as they occur and adapt as quickly and efficiently as possible. Otherwise, the very events that you thought could never happen may quickly appear within your life and the associated daunting challenges may overwhelm you when your support system is no longer there. Throughout such a seemingly adversarial environment, it is even more important to tap into our inner divinity and find a closer relationship with ourselves and God. By remembering our spiritual essence and acting in accordance with the laws of the universe, we will take giant leaps forward and will flourish once again. We discover and develop our divine, spiritual essence as we cope with unbearable situations and make soul-based, spiritually-aligned decisions during critical circumstances.
At this point in my life, I am facing a new chapter, a new beginning. And now, more than ever before, I call upon spiritual principles to assist in coping with the numerous challenges that are occurring simultaneously. When one experiences life-threatening or changing events, it is vital to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can assist in reaching out to resources to help solve such problems. The second action is to find emotional support however you can, through forming new friendships, seeking new support groups, or reengaging existing friendships. When we experience a crisis, we must seek support, and often during these difficult situations, the people that we have called on for emotional support in the past are not able or willing to help us, so we must seek out other sources. We must continue to move through the process, to heal and to remedy the problems that have led us to such disastrous circumstances. Throughout such a process, it is very important to stay connected to our sense of a higher power, the divine source that can lead us through the darkness to light, peace and understanding.
Multiple circumstances arise out of fear, misunderstanding and jealousy. When we examine the bulk of problems between ourselves, family members and close friends, it can often be deduced that the source of contention is a lack of communication, a misunderstanding, or a long-held grievance rooted in ego-based jealousy. When we stare deeply in the face of danger and reckon with our own mortality, a new awareness arises from such a crisis. When we realize that danger exists in our lives, we must seek light and guidance from God. It most definitely signals the need for a shift in consciousness that affirms: “I will not become a victim. I deserve to live my life without fear, without the fear of losing my life. I belong in this world and you will not take it from me. You can threaten and bully, but you will not take away my spirit, for it is eternal.”
That shift in consciousness requires a great deal of soul-searching, meditation, and a commitment to see beyond the current situation to its resolution. It means that we are most likely forever changed by such dangerous circumstances, but we must move forward, toward light and understanding, and with the sincere desire for peace, unity, and communion with God and spiritual principles. Every action has a reaction, and we are certain to experience karma through every decision that we make. The universe has a unique way of correcting itself and it is important to be forever open to the infinite number of possibilities that God will send our way, but only if we are open to receiving his miraculous assistance. We must try, even with our busy lives and multiple responsibilities, to make decisions that take us closer to the divinity that resides within each of us. Decision-making in the converse takes us away from Spirit and sets off a chain of unwanted occurrences in our lives. With every decision that we make, let us ask ourselves if the action we are about to take places us closer or further away from Spirit. We owe it to ourselves, families, loved-ones, and closely-held friendships to act with kindness and Godliness, even when our physical lives remind us of scarcity and limitation. And lastly, when our loved ones or friends reach out for help amid the most daunting of circumstances, we should open our eyes and hearts and do what we can to help. It may not be our direct responsibility, but it is the right thing to do. In fact, how we respond to a friend’s sincere request for assistance may make a world of difference and save his or her life.
When we act in accordance with the laws of the universe which demonstrate consistently that scarcity and limitation are not real, they are illusions from which we have the ability to conquer, then we are open to miraculous and divine intervention. When the realization dawns that we are not held back by self-imposed constraints or limitations, then a new world appears upon the horizon and we can truly become what we have always dreamed and desired. The universe leads us through a pathway to an enlightened version of ourselves: The Higher Self that God always wanted us to manifest here on earth is suddenly tangible. A new World, a new Self, and a new Consciousness. It is as if we awaken from a nightmarish dream and remember who we were at the very beginning of time: joyful, abundant spiritual beings with unlimited potential for love and the wonder of the universe. If we are open to his divine assistance, he leads us to that beautiful place within our lives where we can become a better version of ourselves by remembering that we are creations of love, light, abundance, and divinity instead of fear, limitation, mistrust, anger, jealousy or delusion. When we shift our perceptions from darkness to light, fear to love, and scarcity to abundance, divine intervention awakens us to a world of infinite new possibilities.
May the love, peace, light and understanding of God be with you now and forever.