Updated: May 9, 2022
Today my daughter, Nora, was feeling incredibly sad. We carpool to school with her good friend daily. But her friend didn't want to carpool with her today because she was upset about something Nora said the day before. Oh how hard it was for me to see Nora sad. I felt this urge to want to fix this for her. To protect her from feeling sadness. But then I reminded myself how important it is for me to normalize hard moments for her. Life is hard. It is not easy. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling some pain. So I just said "You are sad. I would be sad too. I am here if you want to talk about it." As I was driving her to school, she kept repeating, "Mommy, I feel so sad." And my heart kept aching for her. Then she asked "Does she not want to be my friend any more?" I was quiet for a moment because I didn't know the true answer to that. I wanted to be honest so instead of saying something I was unsure of, I asked her to do a gut check. "What does your heart say? Does your heart say she doesn't want to be your friend any more?" She shook her head no to which I said, "Well, that is the universe talking through you. That is the truth. I am sure she still wants to be your friend." As I continued to drive to her school, I shared a memory with her... Nora, I remember when I felt very sad and afraid because I upset some people a long time ago. About ten years ago, when I first started my dance school, I had a few dance classes. Sometimes a lot of students would come to my classes and sometimes very few would come. One day, I went to one of my dance classes and no one came. Not even one student.
I remember feeling extremely sad. My thoughts started saying things like "I am not a good dance teacher. No one likes me. I won't have any students again." And as I was driving back home that evening, those thoughts kept repeating in my head over and over again. So, of course I started to feel sadder and sadder and sadder. Until I finally remembered something I had learned recently: all hard moments are hidden treasures that help us become the best humans we can be. The universe sends us these hidden treasures as a gift. Some people never find the treasure because it is hidden. But the few people who do the hard work to look for the treasure - their light shines brighter than ever before. And it truly makes the world a better place. So, you know what I did? I started looking for the treasures. And I found lots of them. I started to remember some mistakes I had made with my students. I was unkind to one student. I didn't listen to one of the parents. And as I remembered these things, I started to learn how to be a better dance teacher. That hard moment helped me become a great teacher today. You see, the universe was helping me learn and grow. I know this may sound a bit weird but hard moments are actually quite exciting. I think you are having a hard moment with your friend right now because you are meant to find some hidden treasures that will help you learn how to be a better friend. So, we need to get excited. Then I started cheering and smiling super big and said... Woo hoo! Thank you universe for this hard moment. Nora gets to learn how to be the best friend she can be. So that one day, Nora will be the kindest, sweetest, most loving friend in the world. After Nora heard this story, she gave me a bright big smile. But she also looked at me as if I was a foreign creature from outer space. Later that day, when I picked her up from school, she happily told me that she talked to her friend about everything and told her she was sorry after which her friend gave her a hug and said she is her best friend. (I am not making this up. This really happened!) It doesn't end here though... the universe went above and beyond by validating this truth by allowing me to listen to Byron Katie's interview on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday podcast on the very same day! It was about her book 'Loving what is'. I was blown away when Katie shared that the key to not suffering is to lovingly embrace all that is presented to you in the present moment: whether it be a disease, an accident... or perhaps even a friend who doesn't want to carpool with you today ;) I often look for such truths in nature as well and I found out that volcano eruptions provide fertile land that enables farmers to grow more crops. Even Mother Earth is telling us that hard moments are indeed hidden treasures!