Chinese Symbol for Crisis

Chinese Symbol for Crisis

I spoke to Girlfriend A on the phone last week.  She’s been with me through all of this, even before there was a ‘this.’  Being my first mammogram, I didn’t know which doctor/facility to choose.  My friend recommended her radiologist to me, and we’ve been discussing the progression, now leading to the current diagnosis of breast cancer, ever since this process started three months ago.  A comment she made during a recent phone conversation was that she has no other way of seeing me, other than Whole.  She said there’s this tugging in the back of her mind that says it isn’t even real.  That the surgeons are going to get in there next week and say, “Oops, Leslie.  Looks like we’ve made a mistake.  There actually is no cancer.”  That’s how much she says she sees me as Whole.  (Thank you, Amy.)

Girlfriend B called recently after hearing the news.  She began by saying how sorry she was about my crisis.  I was confused.  I couldn’t think of what she was referring to.  My first thought was of the bad weather that had hit the East coast and all the friends I have there.  Perhaps there had been some new development I hadn’t heard of relating to Hurricane Irene.  However, as she continued talking, I quickly understood that she was talking about me.

Two different perceptions.  One based in love.  The other based in fear.

And by the way, I wasn’t upset by Girlfriend B’s reaction – I understand that we all process and deal with these sorts of things very differently.  I only offer it up to show the contrast between the two.  It’s a contrast that led me to think about one of the rotating quotes on the bottom of my email signature.  It says:

“The Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ combines figures that depict both danger and opportunity.”

So to her, I’m going through a crisis.  And although I don’t see it that way, her use of the word had me reflect on the Chinese symbol, which in turn prompted this sharing with you.

Danger and opportunity.  What a thought-provoking, curious, and accurate depiction of the word.

My hope is that the next time you are faced with what you perceive to be a crisis, that you see not only the danger, but also the opportunity.  That you see the blessings, as well as the next steps to move forward, even if the next step is to sit quietly and listen.


Chinese Symbol Crisis


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  1. says

    Wonderful reframe for a much used word in our culture. There is danger, to be sure, but in all of it there is opportunity for our soul’s growth. This is a great reminder, Leslie, a reminder that can help reduce our fear. Fear has it’s place to help protect us, but too often we become stuck in it and live there…that’s when it becomes dangerous. It seems that, more often that not, it takes crisis to move me along my spiritual path. I am grateful for the growth that happens as a result. Sending you so much love and light.

    • Leslie Green says

      Thank you, Carla. Reading what moves anyone along their spiritual path is of huge interest to me. I read words like yours and immediately want to pour a cup of tea and say, “Tell me more. I’m listening.”

      Thank you for sharing.

      Love, Leslie

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