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Turbulence is a Gift

Written by Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection


Josh Waitzkin described the experience that his opponents provided for him in some of his most difficult martial arts fights in the most amazing light.

He said: "they were giving me a valuable opportunity to expand my threshold for turbulence". "Dirty players were my best teachers", was another description found in his book: "The Art Of Learning".

What an inspiring and an extra ordinary way to look at challenges and events that don't go our way.

It reminded me of Wayne Dyer’s brilliant saying:

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Whether it's pain or illness, financial challenge or people struggles that we face, maybe we too could view it as an opportunity to expand our threshold for turbulence. We know that life is seldom as we think it should be and seldom plain sailing for long and if we could open ourselves to what it offers us when it's difficult, we would surely gain and not lose.

I invite you to see how you could use this thought in the face of whatever you are facing right now. I always test these ideas in the laboratory of my own life and I can honestly say that this has worked for me in the most challenging circumstances: I started 2019 with 2 broken hands. I had an awesome ski trip, but the downside was that on one fateful morning, I threw caution to the wind and hurtled down the mountain a lot too fast and fell.

Luckily, it didn’t mess up my trip and Andrew Barrow has done a great job of helping me find the way to sort the injuries out and I am well on my way to restored wholeness. But, I have had a workshop in resilience and self-management as I faced my life without either of my hands!

I am amazed by what I have learnt and understood differently because of the experience:

Patience is probably number one.

I have learnt to slow down and let things take the time they need to. There is no way to speed up bone healing and there is no way to do things fast when you have no hands.

I have learnt to be present in what I am doing. You can't unlock a door with your mind elsewhere when neither hand works.

I have learnt to ask people for help and receive help.

As an independent person, it's really humbling to have to ask for help with basic things, like washing your hair.

I have also seen how creative I can be. When something needs doing, the mind finds a way to do it. Out of the inability comes the creativity. Out of the challenge comes the innovation.

I have learnt to let go the controls. Without your hands you can't control much!

I wish you the capacity to accept the turbulence you find in your world and trust that it is serving you and expanding your capacity and tolerance and that is making you grow and strengthen!




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