This post is about lightening up no matter what life is delivering. It’s not about avoiding, minimizing or denying that dark days do come and appear to temporarily derail our progress. Initially, we’ll see them has happening for no apparent reason. They come in the forms of overwhelming loss or worries about money, loved ones, or health. Sometimes we don’t know why we feel bad. We may be going through a lack of appreciation, exhaustion, hormonal or health challenges that are all stages in our process of personal transformation. All transformations are accompanied by pain. Dormant periods precede growth spurts. We feel like giving up, like there’s no way out. Sometimes we can barely get up in the morning, get out of bed and get dressed. Life seems bleak. When dark clouds are hovering, we have choices. We can give in, don’t resist, sing the blues, ask for grace, have a good cry, leave work early, take a nap, meditate, take a walk, eat comfort foods and somewhere deep down know that This too shall pass.

Joy comes from our hearts, not our minds. Our heart connects us with God and the universe which integrates our own unique center of experience, awareness and character with the forces that go beyond our comprehension. The heart is the center point of stillness and peace from where we can view infinity. It’s the soul’s gateway to life and beyond into eternity. Dark nights of the soul are difficult periods that cleanse and transform us so we can open up and re-enter our hearts and re-anoint them as our sacred centers. Life is love in action and that’s why the present moment is always sacred. Hurts and sorrows are not punishments from God, but messages that show us where we need to change to grow into serenity which is our nature. Our troubles become lessons, our grudges become grace and from this perspective, all of life is good. Adversity pushes us out of our comfortable nests and forces us to fly on our own. Let’s welcome adversity as a gift for without it, our growth is slow and with it, we are transformed.

Every great person has a history of adversity. No one has ever made a contribution to humanity without first undergoing a certain amount of trials and tribulations. Adversity forges an immature soul into a powerhouse of strength. Gandhi was thrown off of a train and spent the night in a cold station because his skin was dark. St. Theresa selflessly tolerated barbs and criticism from her sisters in the convent. Moses was abandoned as a baby to the river, stripped of his dignity as Prince of Egypt and cast off into the desert before he found God. We all know what happened to Jesus. We’re often made great by our adversity. Souls that chose a life of service to humankind receive tests and trials that require them to forge their characters for the task. If we practice changing the way we see and understand adversity when it comes, life takes on a new meaning. We see that life is not out to get us. It feels like God does give us more than we can handle sometimes, but God is our best friend, not our enemy.

Life’s trials are the universe’s way of lovingly teaching us the valuable lessons we need to learn- the very reasons we have come to earth. Our job is not to run from the button pushers, but to find our buttons and unplug them when they’re pressed. Those people who bring our irritation to the surface are doing us a great service. Our most difficult experiences usually make us stronger and help us to move forward into new and more fulfilling ways of being. They push us out of ignorance and into truth. They are the keys to our joy and freedom.