Life unfolding

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Portrait of Gwen Randall-Young

Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
– Max Ehrmann

Much of our frustration with life comes when things do not go according to plan. We plan an outing and it rains, we do not get the job we hoped for, the relationship ends or illness happens. “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” we say with dismay.

Like a child stacking up blocks, ego has a vision in mind and admires what it is creating. When the tower suddenly collapses, ego collapses too. There may be sadness, disappointment, anger, a sense of betrayal and unfairness, even utter devastation. Ego feels victimized and goes into contraction.

It is interesting to consider how the little child reacts to the blocks tumbling down. Isn’t it true that most toddlers love it? They know a force outside of their control is eventually going to act on their little project. The game is to see how high they can build it before it falls. Sometimes, they like the falling part so much they will actually make it fall and delight in starting anew.

These children are little Buddhas. They know how it works and decide to have fun with it. They do not get attached to what they are building. They seem to know it is the process of building and rebuilding that is important, not the end result. We could learn from them.

There is so much in life over which we have no control. A surfer has no control at all over the waves, but he can develop the ability to ride them. Similarly, life is less stressful when we understand it is about how we deal with challenges that is important, not hoping we do not have any, at least no big ones.

Imagine people were put into groups and they all had to build something with identical raw materials. They were told they would be evaluated in the end and they focussed on building the best, most creative, most outstanding “thing.” Unbeknownst to them, they were not being evaluated on what they built, but rather on how they worked together, how they dealt with problems and frustrations and how the wellbeing of others was more important than “winning.”

Who knows if we will have exit interviews at the end of our lives? Maybe we will have one with ourselves. Hopefully, by then we will have realized life is not a race or a competition, and neither fair nor unfair. It is an opportunity – an opportunity to work with whatever we are given and to grow and evolve in the process.

It is an opportunity to trust that we co-create with an unfolding plan, and even if we don’t like what is unfolding, to consider the possibility that we are being guided in a different direction than we had planned – one that serves our highest good.

So many times I have counselled clients who were broken and devastated when their partner left them. They do not like this program and just want to press “delete.” In time they do survive and eventually meet someone new. They tell me they cannot believe how wonderful this new person is, how much they have in common and how much better it is than their old relationship. The universe knew something they did not and made the blocks tumble down.

So it is okay to be sad, to grieve and to resist a little. Then start building something new.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For articles and information about her books, CDs and new “Creating Healthy Relationships” Series, visit See display ad this issue.

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