Are you struggling with overcoming something in your life? Something that you seem to just can't get in front of? Hold up a minute. I want to come back to this later.
When I was in Japan, I dated this young man. He was into sword making. We hopped onto his motorcycle and headed out to a rural part of Kumamoto, Japan, to the sword maker's home, his master teacher.
This young man was a sullen, troubled person and was somewhat of a social outcast. But when he got to the home of his master teacher, he just lit up. At one point, he took over the process from his teacher, who had been forging a sword, when we came in. I watched the young man become engrossed in what he was doing. He forgot that both I and the master teacher were even there.
The metal was pounded, over and over. Gray wisps of material and ash floated in the air and escaped every time the metal sword received a blow. The metal being forged glowed orange in the hot center, yellow around the outline of the orange and gray and blue around the edges. He literally pounded that sword "to be" for an hour. That thing still looked like it did when we first came into the workshop.
That's why I liken obstacles in our lives to the forging of a sword or a knife. Just like that sword is strengthened by being placed in fire and being pounded upon blow after blow, so are we. Beyond that, once you actually overcome an obstacle, you become an expert on it. You create a tool from this experience as well.
You are an expert on YOUR experience. Contrary to what a lot of credentialed people may try to tell you, your personal experience has value and a use, for other people.
Many times, it is not theoretical information or direction, the general stuff that we are told about, that makes a difference. It is someone's tangible, very personal, firsthand, esoteric and distinct experience that captures, motivates and fascinates us. It is that person's story that inspires us to catapult ourselves toward our accomplisments. It is these experiences and information that we seek.
I am struggling through some very difficult challenges today. More importantly, I have overcome some incredible challenges as well. It is the history and the fact that I have overcome those challenges that I use as leverage to help me know that I can get through the obstacles of today.
But the most incredible thing that I have seen is this. Very often, the thing that is your greatest challenge that you persist to do and overcome, is your greatest gift. It is your greatest gift to yourself because you have triumphed over it. That process that you went through to come out to the light and be successful is priceless in itself. You can now transfer that same process over to the NEXT challenging area of your life. That is called experience. Unlike yesterday's challenges, you have a history and some precedence on how to address today's and tomorrow's challenges.
That's a roadmap, a guide, a gift to yourself. Through life experience, and if you live it consciously, you have created an internal compass for yourself to help you get where you need to go - even faster the next time around.
That same roadmap that came to be, came to fruition because you have coalesced your experiences into crystal clear vision, can now be gifted to someone else in need.
So the next time you start to lament about that challenge that you feel you just can't overcome, before you spiral downward into something ugly and nonproductive, such as self loathing or even depression, bless your situation.
Know that when, not if, but when you overcome this great challenge or obstacle that you face, that you will leave with some very tangible treasures: A map of how of to overcome future challenges, the gift of this map to yourself, and this gift of knowledge that you can teach and pass on to someone else.
To strengthen and forge a sword literally requires fire, an arising from the ashes, and the pressing and compression and the shaping of pounding pressure. From all of that comes a gorgeous, magnificent knife or sword - a great tool that you can always use, in your daily lives. The same process is applicable to you.
Be the gift that keeps on giving. Persist and overcome what challenges you today. Create a roadmap for those who are lost and the discouraged of tomorrow. Let your obstacle that you have overcome, be the oasis in the desert for someone. We all know that an oasis is a life giving find for anyone lost and thirsty in the desert.
By the way, that young man gave me that knife he worked on that day. It was a gift. What beautiful gift will you be creating and giving? Thank your challenges, and get ready to wrap them up in some pretty paper and a gigantic bow. Somebody's out there with outstretched arms waiting to receive your gift in the making. Get to it! Be a beautiful gift giver. Beautify bit by bit, one gift at a time, literally and figuratively.