“THE OPPORTUNITY OF CRISIS”
by Jessica Kuzmier
When one talks about crisis, it generally is referred to being as something to be avoided, if at all possible. This makes logical sense. Why suffer if you don't have to? But many times, crisis is the major catalyst for change. Without it, a person would be likely to stagnate or fall backward. This is likely to be true whether the crisis is one of identity or of calamity. In this respect, graduating from college can be just as much of a crisis as flunking out of it, as regards to the changes that the circumstance brings. You are forced to deal with the fact that your old reality is gone.
Another added benefit of dealing with crisis is the way things become more crystallized and clearer. When one is involved in everyday life, the process can get so busy that you don't know what is going on. Busyness is a sign that things are copasetic in this hectic postmodern society. But once one is confronted with a crisis, all of that changes. You are forced to slow down, and all of the junk that seemed so important to get done yesterday doesn't seem important at all. It is like life is stripped down to the bare essentials, and you are faced with yourself.
For some people this kind of thing can be extremely terrifying, which is why the use of chemicals and other addictions is so prevalent when crisis is associated. It is hard to deal with the pain or trauma that life can bring, and many arenas of society are less than patient with the wounded soul. The technological society is too fast to want to deal with pain on pain's timetable. To wit, in the aftermath of 9/11, I read an article of how people were on antidepressants within two weeks after the terrorist attack, many of them being people who were worked in the building, or who had loved ones who died. If any scenario were to be deemed traumatic and understandably psyche changing, it would be the September 11th attacks. Yet people were being prescribed pills less than a month after begin affecting by this attack, as though they were crying for two weeks over a hangnail. Clearly, with this type of social pressure to get on with things, one may be understandably reluctant to sit down and be alone with himself or herself during a tough time. May as well stay busy, or, may as well get drunk and forget about it.
Unfortunately, by reneging on this crystallization process, a person never receives the gift of how a crisis can bring perspective on things. By keeping busy or drunk, one can pretend everything is still the same, which only is good if one is aware that he or she is in this denial and just not ready for the lesson yet. This kind of suppression can lead to the stereotype of the person who yells, "ANGRY? YOU'RE CALLING ME ANGRY? I'M NOT ANGRY. YOU JERK!!!!!!!!!", and can yield the disaster in worse proportions than if the person let him or herself be transformed by the crisis into something stronger than he or she was before.
The Chinese character for "crisis" is the same as "opportunity". One of the key things to begin this process of transforming crisis into opportunity is to deal realistically with the feelings that the crisis brings. You hear frequently that one is to feel feelings, but this is not the same as melodrama. To stop and take your emotional temperature is only to bring awareness to each moment, so one can better receive intuitive direction. Paying attention to yourself is a way to bring conscious thinking into one's life, rather than to run on automatic pilot into strange territory unknown to the soul. By staying attuned to oneself in each moment and hearing the direction of the soul, instead of relying on verbal chatter to drown your own voice out, one can better hear the lessons of crisis, and transform the soul to be closer to what it always intended to be.