06/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Elizabeth Edwards: From Public Humiliation to New Reality

People say that we only get 'what we can handle,' that there are 'lessons to be learned,' and some simply say that God works in mysterious ways.

I'm not so sure about any of that, but what I do know is that when the bottom falls out, when the sky falls in, when the rug is ripped out from under, when our spirits have plummeted 10,000 leagues beneath the sea, we can either dig deep, find a way to move forward, grow, and cultivate an "I can take this on; I can get through this" attitude -- however painful -- or we can fall into the abyss.

With that in mind, I am humbled and at the same time curious by Elizabeth Edwards' new reality and the way in which she negotiates her way through its ever-changing, enormously complex and multi-layered landscape. As if she hasn't had enough 'life lessons,' in particular the loss of her dear son, Wade, she now endures a series of new losses -- her health, a most sacred relationship, and her reality.

I am sure Elizabeth has her meltdown moments (or even days or weeks), and well she should let it out, but instead of sending out invites to a pity party, she writes (without a ghost writer, straight from her own heart) her book Resilience which offers a lesson.

Elizabeth Edwards' life was on track, and she was steaming forward on all eight cylinders. From a place of incredible abundance and achievement, with the kind of status and prestige that people only dream of, her journey took an unexpected hair-pin turn, and suddenly she was plunged into a pit of shame, confusion, sadness, betrayal, loss and illness, all very much in the public eye.

Inevitably, there are for all of us, new realities to cultivate -- to tend, to plow, to grow. Even when all systems are a glowin' happy, life can and sometimes does take an unexpected twist. Life is precarious. And it makes us wonder...

... At the end of the day, what can we count on; what's it all about?

Answer: Character -- The capacity to feel hopeful, to hold to a deep conviction that there is meaning in life, and to have a sense of connection to the bigger picture, whether it is God, or family or community.

Spread the word...not the icing,

Janice Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, the author of Our Lady of Weight Loss and All Is Forgiven, Move On.

Visit Janice: Our Lady of Weight Loss
Janice's Beliefnet Blog.

Janice LIVE at Omega Holistic Institute

"Janice Taylor is a certain kind of kooky genius." ~ O, the Oprah Magazine
"mindful eating in humorous yet earnest style . . . ." ~ the
New York Times.

Illustration by Janice Taylor