Finding Freedom Through Life's Struggles..."You Live, You Learn"

Submitted by Fiona Reilly on Tue, 03/07/2017 - 18:26

Our souls are inherently free and joyful, our life purpose is to express our authentic beingness. As well as experiencing the joy and freedom within life, our soul wants to take us to all those challenging places where we get stuck and tight. Why? So that we can work through and be free of our old patterns, conditioning and karma, that which no longer serves us and prevents us from being free.

These things cause us to forget who we truly are and in working to release them, we return to lightness, liberation and joy again.

Acceptance of what is

In life we are presented with a vast array of experiences, some we perceive as good and others bad. Though ultimately they are all wonderful opportunities for learning and evolving at a soul level. We have a tendency to go towards that which brings us comfort and ease, and avoid that which we find disagreeable. The Buddha saw craving and attachment as the root of all suffering. We often swing from either craving something or trying to avoid something else. This keeps us from the present moment, rather than accepting and experiencing what is as it is. Ultimately our circumstances are neither good or bad, they just are. There is a book by Mary O Malley with a fantastic title - "What's in the way is the way". She asks the question what if your uncomfortable challenges were for you? What if they are the fuel for your awakening and becoming. I have frequently found that situations that I would not choose, have been my greatest life lessons and most valuable gifts. The timeless poet Rumi states, "Seek not for love, rather to remove the blocks to the awareness of love's presence." So one of the keys to dealing with life's challenges is acceptance of what is, exactly as it is. Remember that through the natural law of attraction, you have drawn the perfect circumstances to you for your evolution and growth.

Be curious

Rather than denying, suppressing or resisting your experiences, why not become curious. Explore what is being presented to you in life and what feelings or emotions are arising no matter how awful they appear to be. Awareness is an invaluable tool, as Eric Hoffer stated that "To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are." If we travel through our life without questioning or exploring, nothing will ever change. Simply observing and bringing attention to our distortions, old patterns and behaviours that no longer serve us, we enhance the possibilities for transformation.

"So your darkness, rather than being a mistake, is Life coming to you in a form that will show you the power of being curious about what is rather that the unconsciousness of fixing, changing, getting rid of or rising above. Your challenges are here to show you that healing isn't about stopping the game of struggle; healing is about exploring it." Mary O Malley

Be totally honest with yourself

Witnessing and exploring our shadow sides and discomfort is not easy. It may seem less onerous to turn away and put our attention elsewhere. It is for this reason that the world is full of distractions, addictions and things that enable us to become numb to our true feelings - technology and dense foods for example. However these things don't work in the long run, at least not if we want to develop and grow. Here is another poem from Rumi where he invites us to welcome all our experiences.

"Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." (Rumi)

The only way out is through

It's important that we fully embrace all our experiences, and be totally open and honest with how we are feeling. If we don't acknowledge our pain, it remains hidden and playing out in the background of our lives. For example we may have a challenge with a colleague at work that is causing us stress, if we ignore or deny it, it may be that it comes out sideways in that we take it out on our family or it slowly builds until one day we inappropriately explode with our colleague. Or perhaps it expresses itself physically in the form of illness or dis-ease. By going to the heart of our pain and feeling it deeply, we enable it to shift and release. Openhand's 9 Step Process can be really helpful in navigating our way through such experiences.

It is helpful to remain mindful of the breath to centre us and keep us grounded. Be with what is in all it's fullness, while remembering that it's all okay exactly as it is. When you get to the depth of your pain, it can dissolve all by itself and soul can infuse through you. It's not always easy or straightforward, so if it becomes too intense and prolonged, take some time out and find some joy and lightness again.

It may be that there may be a overspill initially if you have stored emotions or trauma over a long period of time. Seek the support of a trusted friend or therapist if you need to or call on the benevolent guidance of the Universe. You will come out the other side lighter and freer, what else is there to do? There is always something to learn from every experience, in fact perhaps the only "mistake" we can make is not learning from our experiences. You live, you learn!...

I wish you the very best with the challenges you meet in your life, remember the only way out is through. It's not easy, yet undoubtably you can do it!

With love and blessings,
Fiona is an accredited Openhand Facilitator. She is also a reflexologist and experienced doula. She is passionate about living true to her heart and soul and empowering others to do the same. Her website is...

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Being present and curious can be totally transformational ❤️ Thank you for your inspirational article Julie x


Hi Janhavi,

Thank you again, I'm glad you like the website :)

I love connecting in circle or 1:1 with other women now, it's so rich and nourishing to connect deeply soul to soul and heart to heart. It has taken me a long time, in my teenage years and twenties, I was often mistrustful of other women, which of course was a reflection of my own feelings of lack and I spent most of my time hanging out with men. Now I am blessed to have wonderful, loving, supportive and compassionate women (and men) in my life with whom I can connect with on a soul level and share deeply with. We nourish each other <3

You inspire me too, thank you for openly sharing.

With love and appreciation,



Hi Fiona!

Thank you so much for sharing your valuable insights into life's struggles.. I'll write and post these shares on my desk! I am all the more open to work to see those REAL MOMENTS as they are.

Thank you so much!

Your page is awesome. I always felt we, women can be of tremendous support to each other if only we could come out and clean of our misconceptions about other women.. Life would be so much more joyful because as you said, we can naturally connect to the soul levels of others and nurture it.

I am following you :)Keep up the awesome work.

You inspire me...



Hi Janhavi,

I'm glad my words resonated, thanks again for the feedback. I find that as I bring my awareness more and more to whatever I am working with, it becomes easier and more obvious. And the fleeting moments of attention become more prolonged and pronounced. I also ask the Universe for assistance with whatever I am exploring, I find the Openhand phrase "Show me", really helpful in this regard.

Since you express an interest, here is a link to some of my other posts on my website -

With love and blessings, Fiona


Hi Fiona!

"For me knowing what is the real thing, comes with a sense of rightness, a feeling of expansiveness and liberation. While conversely modes of operating that don't serve my soul, tend to cause tightness, doubt and unease. "

That's feels so right! I felt such sometimes, but they are fleeting moments, I could never really hold attention on them!!

Thank you so much for making it so relatable..

Looking forward to more posts from you :)



Hello Janhavi,

Thank you so much for your lovely words, I'm touched (f)

Yes, it can take experience and practise to begin to differentiate what is real and what is conditioning and based on our previous understandings. It's not easy as things become so interwoven, can be deeply ingrained and we make connections that are subconscious. Fine tuning my discernment is something I am continually working with... breaking down the old neural pathways in the brain to allow space for new ways of being to emerge.

For me knowing what is the real thing, comes with a sense of rightness, a feeling of expansiveness and liberation. While conversely modes of operating that don't serve my soul, tend to cause tightness, doubt and unease.

With love and gratitude, Fiona


Hi Fiona!

Amazing post! It's like a lighthouse for the lost.

Acceptance of what is : is an expression, I am trying to understand since long. How do I know for sure that IT IS THE REAL one and not the one made up by my mind or understanding of the world so far? When something happens, so many tags get attached to it. How to make out what is the real thing?

Curiosity, honesty and only way out is thru'.. are great reminders for the journey forward.



Beautiful poem by Hafiz, Fiona. Thank you. The magnificent beauty of our true essence, pure Light, is dazzling, indeed.

x Cathy


Hi dear Cathy,

Thanks for your enthusiastic reply. It is a great image, I love that you saw "leaning into our pain" :)

I've really been enjoying Sufi poems lately and glad you enjoyed the Rumi one above. This week I joined a group of women for some sharing of Sufi poems and chants, it was so inspiring! Age old, deep and beautiful wisdom there for sure!

This is a Hafiz poem that really touched me at the Sufi gathering...

A Man Married To a Blind Woman

A man married to a blind woman told her how
beautiful she was every day. And whenever he said
that, she smiled, and her whole body relaxed.

They lived alone at a small remote oasis where
few ever stopped. And whenever someone did he
made sure that no one ever saw his wife,

for a person could openly gasp at her appearance
because she was deformed.

Her husband’s voice and that of her sister, who
would visit a few times a year, were the only
ones she really knew. And she loved her simple
life on the little farm they had.

Appearance, and our relationship, you should
know the truth of those by now:

If you woke next to me on any day, I would say
to you what he so often did.

My dear, you are so beautiful.

With love and thanks, Fiona



Lots of inspiration and beautiful quotes! Thank you. I've always loved "The Guest House" by Rumi. The word "welcome" in its true meaning evokes a powerful, heart-opening energy.

What a striking photo above. Leaning into our pain, feeling it fully.

Alanis Morissette is a beautiful, shining soul! You live. You learn. Another of her song lyrics from Hand in My Pocket:

"What it all comes down to
is that everything's gonna be
fine, fine, fine."

With appreciation,

x Cathy


Hi Alex,

Lovely to hear from you :) I agree there is a healthy or right balance to be found between feeling and going through our stuff and finding experiences of lightness and joy. It feels like something I am eploring this week and so appreciate the contemplation of it here once more - thank you!

With love, Fiona


Great article Fiona! The bit about stored trauma jumped out at me, & taking breaks in the process of working that through.

In my case, I've been working most intensively on my trauma & mental health issues for 23 years now, & while I also believe that "the only way out is through", it's always good to be reminded of the importance of balancing the exploration of pain & tightness, with experiences of lightness & joy.




Hi Open,

Thanks for the positive feedback, writing is a powerful way of exploring my own stuff and finding my truth.

With love and gratitude, Fiona


It's a lovely inspiring article once more Fiona.
I love the way you write - straightforwards and full of soul.
And the Alanis song - the perfect expression of the point... "You live, You Learn".

Open *OK*