I love the universe.
2013 was an awful year for me. Between my divorce, move, breaking my heel for the second time in a year, and turning 40, I felt like Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, when he was raging against the awful storm that ironically caused their shrimp company to thrive.
You see, in 2013 I learned several valuable lessons about the universe.
1) When the universe tests you, challenges you, and you fight it, that usually doesn't work out well for you. Because whatever lesson the universe is sending you, you need to hear -- even if you're not ready for it, even if you don't want it, even if some days it seems a little too much.
2) The universe has your best interests at heart. Even though it hurts, sometimes. Even though you don't always get what you want and quite often things you do want get taken away from you.
3) Every time you feel like you're gaining ground, the universe will pull the rug out from underneath you. In the battle of You against the universe, you'll never win.
4) The universe is not your adversary. It's your gift -- your greatest strength because the universe shows you your greatest weaknesses.
For these lessons, I am truly grateful.
An amazing thing happened when I stopped blaming the universe for whatever happened in my life that I didn't like -- when I stopped fighting. When I turned to the universe and said, "Bring it! I'm ready." I found peace.
When you do that, the universe will still test you and challenge you, but in a much gentler way. Instead of sending me Cosmic 2x4s, I now get gentle nudges. Instead of bemoaning, "Why me?," I have learned to embrace those gentle nudges and laugh at myself. And, most importantly, thank the universe for sending me exactly what I needed at that time in my life.
When one man broke my heart, the universe sent me his cartoonish doppelgänger so that I would realize he wasn't worth my tears.
When I was in denial about my eating disorder, the universe sent me a friend who got in my face and flat out told me I had a problem.
When I said I wasn't ready for a relationship, the universe sent me a man to test my claim.
When I decided I was lonely, the universe sent me friends.
When I got upset, the universe sent me a shoulder to cry on.
And most importantly, when the universe sent me a hard lesson, it also sent me love and laughter to accompany my tears.
What I have come to realize in 2014 is that I am never alone. The universe/God/higher power/whatever you want to call it, has your back. Ask and you shall receive -- it may not be what you wanted, mind you, but it will be what you needed.
Know that you are never alone, you are always loved, and whatever you're doing right now -- even if it's not your "best," it's good enough. You're doing the best you can. We weren't put here on this Earth to struggle. Life is a journey. You don't learn your lessons until you're through. But life is also a gift -- one that we never know when it will be taken away from us. So embrace all that life has to offer. Learn to laugh when the universe sends you another lesson you didn't want. Ask for help -- you're not weak for doing so. And love -- love until your heart breaks wide open. Yes, sometimes it will hurt, but the universe will always send you the healing you need. All you have to do is ask.