I hope this SPARK finds you well and enjoying the emerging spring!

It has been a long and rough winter for me. My relationship with John ended. I moved into a place that did not work out for me; it was my worst experience as a tenant. I had a really bad cold that lasted over a month and weakened me so much that I had to ask my friends for help with getting groceries. For the first time since I began writing my newsletter SPARK, I took a break from it.

Fortunately I found a good new home just minutes away from the ocean and moved here a few weeks ago. Recently I have been waking up with writing ideas every morning, so it seems that the time is right to write a SPARK for you.

Throughout this rough patch, I was so grateful for all my years of practicing relaxation and self-care. I gained an even greater appreciation of these practices. I reached out and received so much support through coaching, counseling, my qi-gong community, my choir community and my friends and family.

I feel so very blessed!

Throughout, I kept reminding myself of a story that I want to share with you today:

‘An ancient Chinese story tells of a farmer who owns a famous racehorse. One day, the horse ran away. His friends commiserated with him, but the farmer replied, “This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” Soon, his horse returned and brought another fine-looking horse. His friends congratulated him, but the farmer observed, “This isn’t necessarily a good thing.” Later, the farmer’s son is thrown while trying to tame the new horse. He broke his leg, which left him lame. The farmer’s friends offered condolences, but he responded, “This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” Sure enough, war broke out and the son’s lameness prevented him from being conscripted. Though many neighbors’ sons were killed in the fighting, the farmer’s son was spared. Who knows what is good and what is bad?’

Think of difficult or “bad” situations that you have experienced in your own life and look for the “good” things that have come out of your “bad” experience. Take a moment to write these insights down.

Here are a couple of examples from my own life:

A very stressful work situation served as the catalyst for me to explore other career options, work with a life coach and find joy and fulfillment in my career as a life coach.

A car accident in my mid-20s dramatically changed the pace of my life. Debilitating injuries forced me into two years of physiotherapy and daily stretching routines. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t just bounce out of bed and into my day. It felt like I was falling behind in my life. In the midst of my frustration, I noticed a distinct change in myself. By taking quiet time for myself in the morning, I stayed more focused throughout the day. I noticed how helpful it was to relax and collect my thoughts first thing in the morning. It was the first of many steps towards making relaxation and self-care a priority in my life.

When we are right in the midst of a challenging time, we don’t yet know what good is going to arise from it. We don’t yet know what is good and what is bad. However, given our life experience we have reason to trust that eventually we will gain a greater understanding. Who is to judge what is good and what is bad? In time we will realize that hard times are blessings in disguise.

Here is to springtime and new beginnings!

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