For many years I’ve had two small pieces of art above my desk, both of which are very meaningful. The first is a postcard that displays the Chinese characters for “crisis.” I got the card from a financial planner who used it as a marketing tool for her investment business. At the time, she also shared some wisdom about how any crisis could give birth to opportunity. I loved her message and the postcard, so I had it professionally framed in order to preserve and enjoy it every day. Later, I found a similar decorative print online, pictured with this quote:
“Every crisis carries two elements, danger, and opportunity. No matter the difficulty of the circumstances, no matter how dangerous the situation, at the heart of each crisis lies a tremendous opportunity. Great blessings lie ahead for the one who knows the secret of finding the opportunity within each crisis.”
Those are words to live by, in my opinion!
The other piece of art is another Chinese character – this one for chaos and is also accompanied by some wise words:
“Chaos, Where Great Dreams Begin. Before a great vision can become reality there may be difficulty. Before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. As a new plant breaks the ground with great difficulty, foreshadowing the huge tree, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dreams. ‘Out of Chaos, Brilliant Stars are Born.’”
As one who has learned to look for opportunities in crisis and chaos, I am comforted and inspired by these words. Though I probably wouldn’t choose to re-experience any of my darkest days, I am a believer that every challenge or problem we encounter may be used to spark or inspire a “great endeavor.”
Today, after pushing against a collection of personal difficulties, crises, and chaos, a group of twenty authors – including myself – are bringing forth one of our collective dreams in the form of a new book. "SCARS to STARS: Stories of Vulnerability, Resilience, and Overcoming Adversity" launches TODAY on Tuesday 2-22-22! It has been a rewarding and inspiring journey to see it all come together – and yet I wouldn’t be a part of it without the challenges I’ve faced and overcome.
As I think of the painful twists and turns – the pandemic, closure of my spa, and a boatload of grief and loss – all of which led me to contribute to SCARS to STARS, I think it’s appropriate to - at least temporarily – rework part of the quotes above: How about this? “Great blessings await the ones who find opportunity within each crisis – and the stars inside their scars. You could also say that out of SCARS, STARS are born.
Learning to see crisis and chaos as creative and benevolent forces is not always easy. In fact, when the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, this perspective may seem completely out of reach. If you’d asked me in the heart of the pandemic or other difficult times, I might not have been able to grasp it either. However, over time I’ve learned again and again, dark moments will eventually pass, cuts and bruises will heal, and the sun will once again shine through.
If the place you’re in is dark and chaotic, I invite you to share in the glimmers of hope I’ve experienced, some of which look a lot like rubber ducks. And whether or not you feel led to check out this inspiring book, I’ll keep opening the gate, sharing my journey, and lighting the path along the way, right here.