There was the man who I wanted to love me more than he did.
The writer who told me my writing was nothing special.
The audience that didn’t laugh at any of my jokes.
The employers that didn’t hire me, the clothes I put on too much weight for, the people who looked for someone else to talk to after I told them what I do.
These have been some of my greatest teachers – those that didn’t accept me, receive me, see me as I wanted. They are the ones who gave me the chance to decide: Who am I going to be with this pain? Broken by it? Or, as Elizabeth Lesser might put it, broken open – into something larger and wiser than I am now?
So, they are the ones who – though perhaps unintentionally – taught me to grow my own spirit.
And when I’m in pain, if I can be conscious enough to remember, I tell myself, “I guess your newest teacher has arrived.” And it’s the first step. Towards letting my spirit be not broken, but broken open.