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  • Craig K. Whitehead

Surviving challenges: Following life's little compass.

Updated: Aug 20, 2019

It's an interesting life. No doubt. We have all heard it said that tough times and challenges come to teach us. I am deeply grateful for one thing, despite seeing my parents go through some pretty rough challenges, and thinking it would never happen to me...(I have learned that one the hard way), I am born with an innate sense of survival. Maybe and more likely I have my parents and their struggles to thank for that.


“Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.” ― Erol Ozan

Now I see my nephews all grown up and moving into their future's, the eldest has ben awarded a Dean's Scholarship at TWU University in British Columbia, Canada and we are all so very proud - and gutted too. Watching a generation grow up and move into their futures is a very humbling experience. One can only hope and pray they are prepared and strong enough to face their challenges too, and overcome their obstacles.


Mine has been an interesting life. From what one can only describe as a tumultuous, very emotional childhood - mostly filled with unhappy reminders, but in between the cracks of unhappiness - there is light. That line shines through brighter yet. I find myself facing very similar challenges to those my father and mother did. I guess as I grow older I realise how easy it is to allow yourself to be overwhelmed, disheartened and disappointed. Maybe being alone through most of my childhood - and adult life, has taught me to face the world- on my own. In doing so I have always pulled myself up by my bootstraps- lesson after lesson. The hard part is living your life in view of others. Knowing that most of the time others have opinions about your failures or limitations. But in the end...with a little help from my spiritual life and a whole lot to reflect on- I realise opinions don't really count. Not really- they don't pay your bills or light your way unless they are helpful to you. Everybody has one (an opinion) after all...is it important to worry endlessly about people who are fickle and who change like the tide? Or is it better to dig deep into one's self and find the stuff you are made of and channel that? I'd say the latter.


”There's a crack in everything… that's how the light gets in”, lyrics by Leonard Cohen.

I watched Oprah talking to the graduates of a very respected university - Harvard, I think, when she said at the end of her TV shows she would ask most people..."do you know what you want?" Most of us don't know what we want so we live life from one aimless lesson to the next. Possibly this, is life's way of trying to steer us like a ship lost at sea by offering us buffers along the way until we figure out what it is we want? One thing that resonated with me in her talk was... if we listen to that little voice inside ourselves... that voice we all have. The voice that warns us, communicates with us and guides us. The voice I believe is partly my maker and partly my compass showing me the way.


It is a known fact that many creative types torture themselves through a creative process. Maybe in the darkness of self doubt and fright we see a light that other's don't? Maybe its our creative duty to shine that light through the cracks of life to make the world a brighter, sweeter more endurable place to be? To enthuse, encourage and to muse other people's existences. Like many, I have my challenges, some bigger than I ever imagined I would deal with- but one thing is for sure... the more I heed that little voice, the compass inside me- the easier the road gets and the clearer that voice becomes. The kinder the lessons become and the better life is to enjoy. I have accepted the light I have inside me, I purpose to shine brighter each day, despite the cracks in my life. The Japanese have a process called Kintsugi, also known as Kintsukuroi, (is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Wikipedia)


"To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken". - Mark Nepo

If we only treat the brokenness in our lives as a celebration of our journey, I believe we will understand each other better by understanding ourselves too. Just like the nature of the creator in us who makes all things new, even through the brokenness. Be inspired to overcome your challenges, even if you break... knowing you can be mended by precious moments and become more desirable after repair. And if you can't- that at least inside you have a light to shine so bright it paves the way until you reach the point where you are made whole again. - CKW


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