Present Perfect

“Every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Perhaps you’re familiar with present perfect as a grammatical term, but I would like to offer a different perspective of these words – as in “the present is perfect.”

Now, before you scream at me that your present is anything BUT perfect, please indulge me for a moment and consider an event from your past that you judged to be ‘bad or ‘wrong’ at the time. Now, think carefully about what transpired as a result of that experience.

What events unfolded because of it? What was the outcome? Is it possible that something ‘good’ came about? I would venture to say that it did… every time.

At first, it may be difficult at accept that there was any ‘good,’ but I guarantee that if you look hard enough and long enough, you will ALWAYS find it. Something ALWAYS happens as a result of an experience that makes it perfect.

The first personal example that comes to my mind happened a few years ago. One morning, I woke up with some discomfort in my lower back. Within a couple of hours, the discomfort had escalated to the point where I couldn’t move without excruciating pain. The only way I could get around was by dragging myself across the floor. Raising my body to sit on the toilet was almost unbearable, and sitting on a chair or couch was impossible.

Walking was also out of the question, so I ate very little that day. It was far too painful to stand up and prepare food, and I could only manage a few minutes at a time. I swallowed some pain-killers, gathered some cushions around me, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible on the floor. With the TV remote on one side of me and the telephone on the other, I managed to get through the day.

Sleep that night was fitful to say the least, but I managed to get in a couple of hours. The next day wasn’t any better. The pain was still unbearable, so one of my daughters came over to help. She took one look at me and carted me off to the Emergency Department of the local hospital where we waited for almost ten hours to see a doctor and for them to examine me. They took x-rays, they poked, and they prodded. Their diagnosis was ‘probably’ sciatica so they gave me drugs for the pain and referred me to my family doctor who later referred me to a specialist for tests.

At first blush, there doesn’t appear to be anything positive about this experience, but let me elaborate a little about my circumstances at that time. I had returned from Thailand a few months earlier and had made the decision not to work at a traditional office job because my boredom with office work was what sent me to Thailand in the first place! But, we all have to eat and pay for a roof over our head, so I had been working for a couple of temp agencies to tide me over until I came across the “perfect” job. I hadn’t the faintest idea what that would be, but I had faith in the Universe that it would materialize.

The only problem with temp work is that there are no benefits: No sick leave, no medical insurance, no drug plan. Plus, no work = no income. How was I going to pay my rent? My savings were nonexistent since my Thailand trip and my family were in no position to help out so my financial outlook was pretty dismal. My only recourse was… dare I say it?… WELFARE.

Just the word sent shivers down my spine! I had never received ‘charity’ in my life and even disliked unemployment insurance the couple of times I had been laid off past jobs. How was I ever going to accept welfare?

To cut a long story short, Social Services treated me with dignity and respect and I have nothing but praise for their help. Sure, walking into the building was tough on my pride. (Who would see me?) What would my bank say when they recognized the source of the funds paid into my account and realized I was on welfare? (As if they had someone checking!) How would I answer friends’ inquiries about what I was doing these days? It was a very humbling experience to say the least.

So what was perfect about it, you may ask. Nothing… at the time. Enduring pain, humiliation and guilt are not my idea of positive experiences. However, there was an up side to it all. As I was unable to sit for extended periods of time and therefore unable to work in traditional jobs, Social Services directed me to a self-employment program that taught participants how to set-up their own business as well as the skills necessary to maintain it.

In the months prior to my sciatica episode, I had written my first book “Joy Makers” and had the brilliant idea of creating a business around it. I wrote up a proposal for my idea and was accepted into the self-employment program. As a result, I received impressive instruction from a wonderful business advisor/trainer who also became a personal friend. In addition to this friendship, I also benefited in other ways. Here are some of them:

* My new business advisor/friend generously invited me to participate in a private course she was teaching about creating your own life. This led to some amazing personal revelations and was a turning point in my life.
* The same person also introduced me to another wonderful friend who I would probably never have met otherwise.
* My book was eventually published.
* The experience I gained from publishing my own book, led to a meeting with another self-published author who also became a very good friend.
* This friend became my business partner in two different ventures.
* I now co-own a self-publishing service where we assist writers to become published authors, and another wellness business which provides healthier, safer products for families and the environment at very reasonable prices.
* I still maintain contact with many of the people I met on the business course and have been able to share and network with many others.
* I learned a great deal about online marketing.
* I taught myself website design to market my book and my businesses.

These are just some of the results of that event. In addition to the above, one of my daughters who had been living in Pennsylvania, was prompted by my sciatica challenge to come back, and we continue to share a home. Since I had been missing her very much, I was overjoyed at her return as we get along very well. This relationship has proved to be a godsend to us both and we continue to grow from it.

I hope this account of a ‘bad’ incident has provided you with an example of the perfection of our experiences. Certainly I didn’t look upon it as a ‘good’ thing at the time but, in retrospect, a great many good things came about because of it… both the sciatica and my ensuing welfare episode.

There have been many other incidents where I can look back on a ‘bad’ experience and recognize the blessing that transpired as a result. In retrospect, I can’t think of one single event in my life that was not positive. So now, when something “unwanted” takes place, I look at it with acceptance – the attitude that this too shall pass and I will eventually find the ‘pearl within.’

For me, this is a much better way of looking at my life situation. For me, the present is ALWAYS perfect!