Transcendent Recovery

Transcendent ~ going beyond the limits of ordinary experience, far better or greater than what is usual. Recovery ~ the act or process of returning to a normal state after a period of difficulty.

Let’s face it; if we’ve been on the planet long enough, we’ve all encountered some sort of difficulty. However, it is not the rough patches of road that we endure that define us, but rather how we respond, or perhaps more accurately how we recover.

So, what exactly is recovery? It is, in its essence, a lived experience of moving through and beyond the limitations of one’s personal challenges. Then what is Transcendent Recovery? It is a concept which describes people who, following the experience of any human hardship get “better than well,” not in spite of the hardship but because of the experiences and insight that emerged within their difficult times and subsequent recovery processes. It is within this experience of transcendent recovery that people can reframe their suffering from a curse to a condition that brought unexpected gifts into their lives.

We might be suffering from any one of a number of hardships: loss of job, financial distress, the break-up of an important relationship, or dealing with a more cataclysmic event such as a life-threatening health issue, or the death of a loved one. Regardless of the nature of the adversity, regardless of whether the hardships we encounter are wholly or partially of our own making or simply the whims of the universe there are many commonalities in how we experience the adversity and what we need to do in order to recover and move forward, to transcend and move higher. The most prevalent commonalties associated with any life catastrophe are undoubtedly emotional pain and fear. We may think about quitting, giving up hope; we may feel overwhelmed. It is precisely in these times of personal mayhem that the universe intervenes in ways that can hardly be classified as random. Rather people and events conspire to guide us out of calamity and perhaps even forward to new territory… if we allow it.

There are as many responses to calamity in our lives as there are people on earth. However, most of these responses can be grouped into one of three large buckets: 1) We never quite make it back. We settle for part of the life with used to know and live in a perpetual state of brokenness. Sadly, this is a common outcome. 2) The fierce among us might work with all of our will to put our lives back “the way it was”. Unfortunately, just as “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” couldn’t to put Humpty Dumpty back together, so too do we often fail. Think about a time when you’ve broken a piece of china or art and attempted to repair it. Even in the most skilled hands a “prefect” restoration is near impossible. 3) We accept that the hardship was part of our “becoming”, that although our life may never look exactly as it did in the past it may actually emerge more beautiful for its imperfections. Being open to the subtle nuance of the cracks in the restored piece of art, seeing a richness in the restoration not previously present in the original work. (Think of the many amazing works of sculpture which populate Rome and other Italian cities that have been defaced over time by vandals or sadly, the Church. Are they not more beautiful today because they encapsulate not only the Maker’s original vision but also the marks of time?) It is through this openness, this acceptance that we open the doors to transcendence.

Calamity changes us; that much is certain. It reshapes the parts of our life that we may have liked, even seen as perfect. But it also has the potential to change the undesirable in us, to soften or even eradicate our deficiencies. We all have defects, flaws, weaknesses; no one is exempt. In this area personal hardship properly harnessed can often serve as a catalyst for positive change, the impetus to transform our defects of character in to desirable characteristics. Surely, we can all recall times when calamity served to transform pride to humility, fear to courage and faith. It is exactly in these times when our weaknesses take hold of our life and lead us astray, lead us far from our true path that the Universe intervenes most powerfully. Calamity strikes; cracking our hard exterior for the design purpose of allowing Divinity in, of allowing spirit to rise up, of awakening the God or Goddess within. Herein lies at least a partial answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people; hardship in not a punishment, it is a course correction.

Finally, no matter what the hardship, what is really attacked is our belief system. We lose faith in ourselves and /or in God, or perhaps we never had much faith and the adversities that have entered our lives only serve to confirm that we don’t deserve to be happy, and that the Universe doesn’t care. However, if we can find a way to instead look at any adversity from a place of gratitude, yes, gratitude and accept it as a crucial part of becoming who it is we were meant be, and find self-forgiveness for any of the times that we’ve failed to live up to our own expectations then we can fully harness the power of adversity in our life.

Be well everybody, john