Crisis or Opportunity? By Barbara Brewster

I wrote the below in 2004. Re-reading it in 2024, it speaks to me strongly of where humanity is at collectively. As you read, you might also relate in terms of YOUR, or the COLLECTIVE, journey.

2004–It’s 21 years since the universe handed me an exploding bomb—labelled “MS.” Such a teaching it has been. The first year was a great galvanization of focus, a huge unleashing of momentum, of mustering the energy of my commitment and inner resources, a tremendous jettisoning of burdens, beliefs, behaviors that not only didn’t serve me but literally curbed my spirit as well as body.

I asked: How did I get here? What choices have I made that contributed to this situation? What can I learn from it? What are the payoffs? What needs to change?  (Useful questions to ask personally and collectively.)

As the answers emerged, I began to change behaviors, responses, habits and, ultimately, beliefs. These changes were reflected in my body as improved health until, after six years, I walked a free woman.

My sense is that life situations come to offer me a chance to discover how I respond. Do I respond by rolling over and dissolving in pain, self-pity, resentment? Yes. Maybe that’s what it takes to realize that I can choose otherwise–to let the story move forward in a meaningful way.  I can dwell in the confusion, isolation, anger or–look anew. Look for–OMG! –the gifts in it.  Yes! Gifts—which, on the surface, I say, I don’t want. A gift in immobility? In pain? In isolation? In constriction, destruction, pollution, weakness, upheaval, apparent loss?

Yes. Gifts in all this–and more. In my physical immobility I discover my capacity to be more still. In my pain I discover the transitoriness of the body. In my isolation I discover the relationship with myself. In my distressed body (or planet) I detect the polluted thoughts and emotions that undermine it. 

Who am I–really? What do I feel, desire, value–really?  In my constriction I discover how I’ve habitually curtailed or aborted my freedom, my right—to be/honor/appreciate/ respect ME.  In my weakness, I surprise myself in discovering my strength. In upheavals and shakiness, I discover that which is my underlying eternal steadiness. In apparent loss, I discover the truth that nothing in myself of true value is ever lost.

It doesn’t make much difference what my particular health or other crises is labeled. If a body succumbs to radiation or pollution, does it really matter if it was produced by Apple or Adani? If the body–or planet–is a wreck, does it make any difference who I blame? I am still confronted with the question: How do I respond?

I believe at some level every one of us is here because we’ve decided to really “get it.” That we prefer love, not fear. So, since we’re in our particular personal and collective situation, USE it.  Let it be the catalyst that takes us to the Edge where we make the leap into our soul’s true–but mostly hidden or suppressed—expression.

USEFUL QUESTIONS:  How did I/we get here? What choices have I/we made which contributed to this situation? What can I/we learn from it? What are the payoffs? What needs to change? As the answers emerge, I/we can begin to change behaviours, responses, habits and, ultimately, beliefs.

To connect with Barbara Brewster, book into her next Joyshop or purchase her books please go

Phone: 041 751 6680 


(Originally Published “Living Now” Magazine ©2004)

Barbara Brewster

Barbara is an author, adventurer, awareness addict, Patch Adams clown, “wounded healer,” “Joy Machine” entertainer & inspirational speaker, who LOVES supporting people to gain greater awareness, tools, skills and enthusiasm for exploring, embracing, and expressing the fullness of their TRUE selves in all areas of their lives.



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