Crisis Meets Opportunity
What can be more traumatic than addiction? To become aware of being out of behavioral control and attached to a substance and or process to the point of sheer destruction of one’s life? Sounds pretty scary – Not to mention the “ripple effect” of such a crisis, on others connected to the individual, family, workplace, etc. This can make for a highly complex issue leaving people feeling confused, overwhelmed and powerless. However, whether we are dealing with addiction, depression, pain issues or the like, deep within the situation there is a way through it – solutions, and a gem of opportunity waiting to be discovered.
The Chinese have been aware of this phenomenon for thousands of years. In Chinese the word for crisis consists of two characters: one meaning danger, and one meaning opportunity. Why? Because crisis always feels dangerous and can indeed be dangerous. However, it is often our response to sudden or unwanted events which impact outcomes and the future; but that can be tough to see in the moment when paralyzed by fear. Our fear of danger may be necessary for self-protection in some cases, but can distract us and impair our ability to see through presenting situations and identify important information and solutions. We often miss themes and patterns that are embedded in such circumstances which are clamoring for our attention and trying to provide guidance for us to find our way. Hence, the interpretation of the Chinese proverb also says that it is the rare person who can see the opportunity within a crisis.
In talking health and wellness, we need to recognize that our symptoms are messages communicating our needs, fears and wants. As a trusted mentor once said, “It is easy for human beings to mislabel experiences as symptoms.” It is natural to not want to be uncomfortable and when we do feel uncomfortable we may be apt to view our unwanted experiences as symptoms to be cured. But, when this type of thinking occurs, we miss the learning and information we need to create more productive conditions to move forward, to learn about ourselves and our needs.