The Common Denominator—Turning Life Upside Down

People often ask me how I can be so transparent, upfront and personal with my life. My answer is this: What I know to be true is that everyone of us are living through circumstances that, though may look different than mine, are actually very, very similar at the core of our experience and our being. 

I share what I share about what it’s like to be me with the intention of letting people know that none of us are alone in our human existence. 

Wherever you look, you’ll see people who are going through struggles that though may look as if they are care free, are probably not. Regardless of the circumstances, few of us know how to be with ourselves when life gets messy. We pretend and put on a facade that all is good. My experience over 40 years of working in the field of personal growth, it’s few are far between that people are actually as happy and fulfilled as they appear. We are all very good at hiding what’s real, true and authentic within us.

Truly, I’m not saying anything that isn’t a reflection of what all of us are living through at our human-soul level. So, I’m pretty much an open book. My willingness to connect the dots of the unfolding patterns of my life, hopefully will inspire and encourage you to be curious about your own life, in a different more personal way. Or not!

The What If’s of Three Human Scenarios—One Common Denominator

A) I’m scheduled for a Colonoscopy in a few weeks—my first! I suspect that for anyone embarking on a screening such as this, there is the question: What if they find something? For me, this line of questioning brought up the thought and the fear of cancer and other potential dis-eases. That thought alone turns people’s lives upside down—at least it has for me!

B) The Tech Industry is going through a shakedown. Layoffs are happening, and my client Brian, is unnerved. His position at Google, considered to be very stable has him shaking in his boots. He has no idea what life would be like without the cushy, highly privileged position he has been in for over a decade.

C) A client of mine, Patricia, is realizing that her marriage is coming to an end. She sees the writing on the wall. Compatibility issues have plagued the relationship with her partner for a very long time. She’s hanging on for dear life to the threads of a reality that is really all she’s known, for better or for worse.

The common denominator in each of these scenarios, is that something is happening, which initially can feel as though the worst of the worst is occurring. A potential physical health issue, loss of a job, or loss of a marriage, takes us to the edge of security, stability and safety. Any individual going through any one of these scenarios, is headed for a personal transformation, most likely for the better. Though, it certainly may not feel like that in the moment that it’s all coming down!

Jumping or Being Pushed

There isn’t one single human being on the planet who will be able to avoid the inevitable moment when they face themselves within a circumstance that detonates reality as they know it! Whether you are the one who chooses to leave a relationship, or you are the one that appears to be a victim to a radical change in your circumstance—it doesn’t really matter. You and I and everyone you know will face “The Big Fat Be-With!” Don’t you just love it!!!

Just so you don’t get triggered by the angst of the unknown—again common to all human beings, let me share some good news. The good news is that, most people are extremely grateful for that Big Fat Be-With.

As painful and uncomfortable as it was, for those who have shared the worst case scenarios, they say that it forced them to examine themselves and their lives. They realized the degree to which they were unhappy and unfulfilled. They probed deeply into their choices to avoid, ignore and distract themselves from their restless, irritable discontent. Because of the Big Fat Be-With, they were given an opportunity to review patterns of living, perhaps choosing to let go of what didn’t work, and begin to embody something else. Most people report growing self-awareness, self-respect, self-empowerment, and gratitude for the courage and strength to endure what they thought would kill them.

As I face the potential of what might be revealed through my colonoscopy, I’ve been examining layers of “stuff.” The fear that there could be Cancer, the topsy-turvy life that I imagine—surgery, radiation, chemo, money issues, helpless, hopeless, powerless, defenseless. Most of us see ourselves as a victim, and that this potential cancer could be something that robs us of our lives. Actually, it’s not robbing of us anything. It’s a chapter of life and perhaps the biggest adventure yet!

What If I Look at This As a Gift?

Stephen Levine, a spiritual teacher and counselor, said something like, “Cancer is the perfect gift for the person who has everything.” When I heard him say this 40 years ago, I thought that was ludicrous. How could Cancer be a gift? Now, having gone through many life circumstances, where the only thing that can be faced while in the Big Fat Be-with, is the question: how am a treating myself while in the midst of this circumstance? How am I being me with myself, so that I’m comforting and empower myself as I go through whatever it is I’m going through? I see how this Big Fat Be-with is a gift and not a curse, a punishment, or some Karmic payback for wrong doing?

I’m At Choice

When facing any challenge, I’m always at choice to see it as opportunity to really be present to what is, and perhaps to make different choices. Do I throw myself to wolves? Do I become depressed and hopeless? Do I become angry, defiant and want to hurt, kill and maim? Do I accept what I cannot change—empowering myself to honor what is? I have no idea!! I’m just training myself to explore—not from fear but from, dare I say, from the notion that, “It’s all Good!”

Regardless of the Circumstances

Regardless of the circumstances, every one of us we will be gifted with some event that will show us who we’ve been and how we’ve been. We will be gifted with the opportunity to know ourselves, perhaps for the very first time. And perhaps, from that place, choose differently.

A book that I highly recommend, Radical Remission, by Kelly Turner, addresses nine key factors that can make a real difference in being with Cancer. For me, this book isn’t about being only with Cancer. It’s about being with myself, the way I think, what I believe, and the choices I make, regardless of the Big Fat Be-With that I face. 

I’ve read this book Radical Remission three times, because it addresses not only what people face when they are diagnosed with Cancer—generally powerless, hopeless, helpless. It address the human potential of every single person on the planet! It addresses the power that resides within each of us, to bring healing, wholeness and joy into our lives—no matter what!

Having gone through two divorces and a plethora of breakups; having given up custody of my children, having filed for bankruptcy, and numerous other life -shifting adventures, none of it ruined me, as I imagined it would. All of it required that I take a serious look at who I am, what I’m doing! Without these challenges, and without the wherewithal to seriously examine what the F…K I’m up to in this lifetime, I’d be dead now.

This is a Terrible Thing That is Happening To ME!!!!

Seeing people and circumstance, including health issues, loss of loved one, job and security of all kinds, as terrible, horrible and horrific, always puts us in a reality of vulnerable, hopeless and powerless. Now what?

When people say to me, “you’ll never guess what happened to me.” I know they are about to share how they were a victim to something or someone. I totally get it! Its the way most of us look at ourselves—as victims to people, places, things. At some point, hopefully, people will decide to choose to see themselves as something other than that! For me, the truth is, every one of us is powerful beyond our wildest imagination. 

I’m coaching myself to think differently, much like I coach my clients to do. Rather than seeing Cancer, or any other circumstance as wreaking havoc on my life, I’m looking at it as a life experience through which I will be gifted opportunities to see myself and the world differently. 

Changing my orientation from being a powerless, hopeless victim, I’m given the opportunity to explore my internal reality and perhaps discover a more healing, hopeful and helpful way of living through the experience. No matter what, I know I’ll come through to the other side more vibrant and alive than I ever imagined. 

I heard something the other day, that, easy times rarely spur us into character building processes. It’s the challenging events in our lives that grow us into our fullest potential. I trust that every one of us are given the gifts that challenge us and grow us. And those very gifts, be it cancer, divorce, loss of job and property, will be what we celebrate as our most cherished moments on Earth! Can I get an Amen on that?

I would love to hear your comments, questions and feedback. 

If you’d like more of Dr. Rosie, check out her website: You’ll find blogs, books, videos, podcasts, paintings and more.

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