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Is There an Upside To Setbacks?

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

Feb 10
individual setbacks

Hello darkness, my old friend,

I've come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping,

Left its seeds while I was sleeping,

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence.

Paul Simon, “The Sound of Silence”

Have you ever flunked a major exam and failed the class? Have you ever had advanced placement, only to find that you weren’t up to the challenge, and better go back to the next class of freshmen coming in?

Maybe you have even been suspended from school, and had your relatives and friends lecture you and tell you that you were up to no good.

Either you felt like a dunce forced to sit at the back of the class and face continual ridicule, or a juvenile hood or punk, like one of the famed motorcyclists, “Born to Raise Hell.”​

Is a Setback Really a Setback?

We all assume that a setback is either all our fault, or someone out there is to blame for messing us up. We often start out with a tight agenda in life, and it better be filled. If we have aspirations, we want an ivy league education, professional credentials and early membership in a rising star startup that all but guarantees we turn millionaires by our early 30’s.

We rarely consider that we primarily learn through challenges, obstacles and setbacks, like a flabby prize fighter who has never been thrown into the ring or done advanced training.

withstand challenges

One knockout punch, and it would be all over. You don’t get to take on the World Heavy-Weight Champion until you are more than ready… until you’ve gotten enough beating to get there.​

Life doesn’t usually throw us the most severe challenges until we are ready.

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Character-building is no joke. Most millionaires, even billionaires, have declared bankruptcy several times in their careers. Just look at Donald Trump! You aren’t a seasoned pro until you’ve been around the block.

Welcome to the club!

Revisiting the Past Can Be Enlightening

I find Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle the most intriguing TV / Movie series I have ever watched. It was introduced before Donald Trump ran for President, and President Obama was in his heyday. It is based on the premise that President Roosevelt was assassinated early on, and America waddled through the Great Depression much longer and sat through World War II until the fascists proved invincible.

By the second season, American boys in school are saluting the Nazi flag and chanting “Heil, Hitler!” An authoritarian society has become the standard, and a liberal society is but a distant dream, with a handful of Resistance operatives risking their lives daily.

There is only one problem with this whole scenario. Yes, Donald Trump has become our President, and yes, he has German ancestry. However, we can never fully return to the past, even though we see his Presidential orders reversing many of President Obama’s key initiatives. We are now in a global society, and too many people in too many places know too much.​

History spirals forward, constantly moving in circles, but always inching upward.

forward moving setbacks

We don’t have expansion without recession, booms without bust, regulation without deregulation. Everything moves in cycles, much like the celestial bodies. Reversing direction is nature’s way of driving us to the next level.

Setbacks: The Macro Perspective

While it is true that global warming and climate change are a direct threat to our collective survival, it is also true that other priorities need to be addressed. Recent Democratic Presidents, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have done a lot to bring us together on a planetary scale. But they have also made miscalculations on the domestic and international scale that severely set us back.

Anyone who has lived through the Cold War era has no interest in seeing relations with Russia deteriorate. A massive amount of psychic energy was wrapped up in the Eastern and Western blocks. We couldn’t collaborate in any meaningful way, such as conducting joint missions to other planets. The collective firepower of America and Russia was such as to annihilate humanity 50 times over!​

Yet the Democratic Party has been relatively clueless about challenges within Russian society, or their struggle to transition out of a planned socialist economy into a thriving capitalist economy. Had America been more helpful in the 1990’s, the 2000’s might have gone a whole lot smoother.

Donald Trump revealed that economic politics in the United States have replaced identity politics.​

reversal process

Just think of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. While affirmative action and other programs have done much for minority groups throughout the country, youths of European descent are challenged to start a new life and buy a house. They must stay with their parents throughout their 20’s. Manufacturing has all but evaporated here.

There are always two sides to any issue.​

Setbacks: The Micro Perspective

Several years back, I was hospitalized for a relatively minor surgery. Due to complications, I had to stay two full weeks, with unpleasant financial repercussions. From there, I had two months of convalescence where I was challenged to walk normally.

During the first week in the hospital, I have one of the most moving spiritual experiences in my life, where I was never closer to God. I felt thankful to everyone and everything. I enjoyed a beautiful suite with a view, and constant attendance by the nurses and specialists. Those people who were really there for me came several times. I, myself, felt like an honored guest.

After the hospital stay, I had a chance to get much closer to my best friend, getting much more in synch with her. We developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of one another than might ever have been possible. What was initially a major upset (initially my very life was in danger), turned out to be a great blessing, and I am healthier than before.​

Always Have a Plan B

It is always a good idea to have a Plan B to back up your Plan A.  Reversals have a way of occurring when you least expect them. You needn’t change your objective, just the way that you fulfill it. My partners and I planned to enlighten the world with a book revealing our new planetary age. When the book didn’t realize the traction in the market we had hoped, we took a major step backward.

Later on, it became most apparent that our grand vision was too big for most to grasp and we needed to create this web portal, and address people’s day-to-day challenges, so our vision could be more easily shared and seen, and so that our reader’s might more easily apply this to their lives.​

setback planning

It has been joked that, so often in life, our Plan A turns to Plan B, we might as well start off with our Plan B. Yet in no other way could we arrive at the place of designing and executing flawless Plan A’s.

Trust in Appearances or Trust in God? 

The choice is yours!  We can look around us and thoroughly convince ourselves that what we think we see is what is really there. However, quantum physics has made that assumption totally obsolete. All is energy and consciousness. Matter is form, and form is information. We are a delightful dance in universal consciousness.

It takes great courage to trust in Supreme Being despite contrary appearances. Sometimes, it really seems the world is about to end, as one ice shelf after another slips into the ocean, in both the Arctic region and Antarctica.

Yet, as we go within, we can find direct access to the greatest peace and the greatest love imaginable. When things are going well for us, and life seems easy, we have no time for God. Yet, when we are driven to a point of total surrender, we find a power within us that can move the stars.​

Cosmic Humor Is the Perfect Prescription

Russians have a great sense of humor, although often it is very deep and black. It comes from massive challenges over the centuries, including fighting off the Monguls, fighting back Napoleon’s armies, and suffering the loss of 20 million people when the Nazi’s again tried to take the country. To top it all off, Russia had to muddle through 70 years of official State Communism, where free speech was too often curtailed, and free thought usually discouraged.

Yakov Smirnoff, who emigrated to the U.S. from Russia in the 1970’s, became a leading American comedian, who played off being both Russian and Jewish. He turned oppression into a source of amusement.

Even though Yakov revealed many weaknesses in the former Soviet Union, he also fostered a love for the Russian people themselves, apart from any political or economic system:​

In America, you can always find a party.

In Soviet Russia, The Party can always find you!

Yakov

In my earlier days after my first transformational training, I obsessed about surviving. One of the friends in the movement countered my insanity by suggesting, “You may NOT survive!” Then it dawned on my how absurd such a preoccupation was.

Life is a precious gift. We live by the grace of God (your inner power). As long as God gives me breath, I have a purpose here. Let it be fulfilled!​

Whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche
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About the Author

One conscious owl to another... sharing what we learned over the years, and from many wise owls before us.