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Motivation / Personal / Philosophy

When Disaster Strikes Say Thank You

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Thank you!

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”  Walt Disney

In the movie “The Castaway,” Tom Hanks’ character confides that while he was marooned on an island for all those years, he almost gave up hope.

But he just kept breathing and going.  And one day the tide came in and brought him a sail.  That sail was brought to him in the form of the trashed side of a port-a-potty.

You never know when the tides going to bring something wonderful to you.  Sometimes it will arrive disguised as disaster or grief.

Often it ends up being the answer to something you’ve been asking for.

Now, I’m not stuck on a deserted island right now, but I feel like I am.  My life has been turned upside down.  I can’t get any work done, I’m losing Twitter followers and I’ve been forced to write this on an old clunky laptop belonging to my nine year old.

It’s my computer that’s causing all of this strife!  It’s broken, and it’s rendered me helpless.  (And my PC repairman says he can’t figure it out…)

In difficult times we have to remind ourselves of the following truths:

It’s not the end of the world

Everything is going to be okay, and;

In the end, this is going to show itself to be for the better.

One great thing about getting older is that you learn how to handle adversity.

And more importantly, you come to realize that when disaster strikes, it often ends up being for the better.

You look back later and say “Thank you, God!  If that horrible thing hadn’t have happened, I wouldn’t be in the great place that I am now!

I came to realize the beauty of disaster long after my first marriage dissolved.  It was a very happy marriage, or so I thought.  I believed it was forever.  Then, just a few years after saying “I do” he had an affair and ended the marriage.  And I was devastated.

I became sick and depressed.  I lost so much weight that my clothes didn’t fit.  I believed that my life was over.  There was nothing left for me.  Eventually, I moved to San Clemente and started a new life to begin my healing.

That’s where I met Drew, the man who showed me how to live the life of my dreams.  The year was 1996.  And here we are, still happily living an amazing life together.

The point of all this is:  Thank God my first husband ended the marriage.  Or I would have never known that it was possible to live doing what I love and traveling the world with my loving, peaceful family.

Yet, at the time of the divorce, I couldn’t see that there was any possibility of happiness in my future.  I was blind to the reality that better things were ahead.

There have been countless events that seemed awful or frustrating at the time, but ended up being a blessing:

  • When Drew broke his face on the reef surfing Pipeline and was unable to work his job in Hawaii, he was forced to move to San Clemente and make a big change.  It was that move that led him to his success in art (and to me).
  • When the V.P. of the company I used to work for relentlessly harassed me (I now thank him for making it easy for me to quit my job in insurance)
  • When Vans turned us down to be a sponsor for Drew’s PAINT PEN TECHNIQUES DVD (Converse ended up being sponsor and we formed a strong working relationship with them.)
  • When we convinced the CEO of Nirve Sports to let us shoot a video at their headquarters and during editing found that the sound hadn’t worked.  We didn’t dare ask to re-shoot – we were forced to come up with a solution.  (We covered it with a voice-over, and found that it was so much cooler than the original sound!)
  • When I got stuck in Bangkok for a week and was forced to explore the city alone.  (It became one of the most memorable trips I’ve had.)

Really, the list could go on for pages.  Just about every single difficult event has ended up being a good thing in the long run.  Usually, though, I don’t see the wisdom of the situation until much later, when I look back on it.

Now, I’m not sure why my computer problems are happening.  My Toshiba laptop is only a year old.  Maybe the cosmic wisdom here is that it’s forcing me to organize my contacts and my back-up systems.  Maybe I’ll switch to a Mac and that will open a lot of new, creative outlets for me.

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.  In the meantime, I’m not going to let it ruin me.  I’m just going to roll with it and know that it’s just a bump in the road!

Maria xxoo

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28 Comments When Disaster Strikes Say Thank You

  1. carolyn morton

    I too have had a catalogue of misadventure (including the now ex husband in same circs!) and I so agree with you, it’s all for a reason! I wonder if you are meat to switch to Mac?! My now (wonderful) husband forced me by buying me a Mac Book……which i didn’t touch for six months! I now love my Mac and I don’t have the continual freezing and goodness knows what else I had with my PC. Good luck and looking forward to more excellent posts from you. Cx

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Carolyn, Congrats on your first divorce! I’ll bet it was devastating, and now look at how wonderful your new life is. Thanks for the thoughts on the Mac – I’m mulling it all over right now and trying to figure out the best move….

      Reply
  2. Archan Mehta

    Maria,

    Truth be told, I was worried about losing you. You had not posted any articles for such a long time–or so it seemed–so I was concerned.

    Ah, all’s well that ends well, see, here you are again, back with a post.

    It’s okay to have abandonment issues, but just want to make sure you know that your virtual buddy is here for you and you have a shoulder to cry on. When you have the blues, share it and feel better about life.

    In addition, I want to complement you for posting such a wonderful photo alongside this post. The three of you look like movie stars and I thought to myself…what an adorable looking family. Peach and rose.

    Anway, bad computer, bad computer, don’t give poor Maria such a hard time. Have courage, friend, this is just a temporary setback.

    Today, you are going to be in my thoughts and prayers and you’ll see that my prayers are going to restore the life inside your danged computer. That is the spiritual power of yours truly, see?

    And if that doesn’t work, have no fear, there is a solution which is near. You can always buy a new computer. Hail to the chief. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Archan, it’s awesome to hear from you! Yes, I’ve been spending too much time away from my blog – but the main reason is because I’ve been traveling for the last 2 months and it’s been hard finding time to write, upload, and stay focused. It’s almost as though I’ve taken a break.

      Your undying friendship and cheerleading keeps me going. Thank you for that! xxoo

      Reply
  3. Shari

    Thanks for posting Maria. I just had computer issues as well, but everything worked out for the best in the end. This is such a great message and one that can be difficult to put into practice when the challenges arise. I think it’s important to remember that everything is unfurling with our best interests at heart and gratitude for everything is key. Even if we don’t understand at the time. Remember that phrase…”It’s all good!” Mahalo!

    Reply
  4. Sarah Marie Lacy

    I have actually sworn never to buy a Toshiba – they have a reputation for mysteriously melting.

    I’m with Yvonne – Mac or HP. (I was reading somewhere that HP has a really good environmentally friendly rating.)

    And I totally get what you’re saying here, but have to remind myself of it on a regular basis, especially when everything is going horribly wrong. I try to look for the lessons in things.

    I would have never become an artist if I hadn’t gotten a chronic illness at 12. At 12, it was hard to see that, but looking back, it was definitely a blessing in disguise (even if some days, it still doesn’t feel like a blessing!)

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      @Yvonne: Oh boy, I’m starting to hear all sorts of bad things about Toshiba!
      @Dennis: thanks – yes, being an entrepreneur in the arts is loaded with ups and downs!
      @Shari: Gratitude: I try to remember to be grateful every day. It’s a good practice.
      @Sarah: Wow, you have a great story to tell about how you became an artist. I love how you see your illness in a positive light. That’s beautiful!

      Reply
  5. Maria

    I love this post.

    It’s so awesome to get to that place of non-judgement where things are no longer labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’–who knows what the big picture plan really is? I’m still working on getting there but a post like this is a perfect reminder!

    Reply
  6. kara rane

    Hi Maria*
    My dear friend Afi Tiombe says, (& she is a beautiful woman with one leg)-
    “What appears bad is often good, and what appears good is often bad.”
    She told me this African proverb 10 years ago and I have repeated it consistently since.
    Also – I did lose All my electronics on an island, had no internet for 2 years, and basically lost all contacts. Not the worst thing. In fact, refreshingly free.
    paz y amor~

    Reply
  7. Clark

    Yup….I have lost everything that i held dear for the last ten years….My Deborah was diagnosed with Cancer in May and left us physically in Aug. Since then, I have had a computer crash, lost a million dollar mailing list, all marketing, promo, inventories info, business letters, no back ups…Artist. 🙂 typical non back up fashion….I had my car taken. too…
    The one thing I did not lose, in fact have been strengthened-is my Faith.
    At Light speed the joy is back with everything i hold to be worthwhile in my life being added faster than i can handle.
    Thank You Maria for always hitting the nail on the head when it comes to your writing and doings on, so we all know the Human side of Sharing and Living! Much Aloha, Clark

    Reply
  8. Amanda

    Your post, I feel, is preparing me for things to come and I look forward in trepidation and joy. My husband is an artist and we both work full time while we are growing our business. My husband HATES his job but the art is not able to sustain us yet. His boss sent out a department evaluation questionaire, my husband was the only one to give honest answers rather than answers that would insure his future employment. We are now just waiting for the inevitable pink slip, which will throw us into financial termoil. But I know that we will get through it and come out stronger. I feel very strongly that this will be his last JOB and for that I am very thankful. So thank you for the reminder before the storm hits.

    Reply
  9. Caroline

    Great post Maria – you nailed it! It’s definately much easier to see this point later on, after you’ve witnessed the positive changes that have come out of a calamity, although some people still tend to continue to focus on the past negative event and be completely blind to any positive that came out of it. I think it’s important to see this point of view while you are in the midst of a bad situation, as well as afterward, but it takes alot of insight and courage.

    Reply
  10. Heather L. @Starving Artist's Wife

    Awesome post, Maria! There have been many times in my life when things seemed like they were coming to an end, but there was always good that came out of the situations. Disasters can sometimes be godsends! They can make you a stronger person or get you out of something that was not meant to be in the first place.

    Hope that you get your computer problems worked out! I have an i-Mac and we have always bought Macs in the past. But they can break down too, unfortunately. I do like the fact that they are not susceptible to viruses and that I love.

    Thanks again for the great post!

    Reply
  11. Brooke Luder

    Hi Maria, I’m really sorry to hear about your computer!! I know just how you feel as my laptop died twice in the last two months (fortunatly resurected) with all my client work and art work for the last 10 years on board!

    After hyperventilating a little I thought hard and went out and bought not one but two external hard drives (they connect through your usb port) and I now back up two copies of ALL my work/contacts etc at the end of every day!

    It’s a little tedious but far better on my potential stomach ulcers than worrying about what happens if I crash again.

    If your technican can’t fix your lap top call around to a few laptop repair places and see if they can extract your data from you’re laptop onto CD. I’ve had a friend do this sucessfully!

    As to the silver lining of having no computer?? Well after the social paranoia of not knowing what is happining in your digital life eases… I was pleasantly surprised by how much more walking and hanging out with my friends I enjoyed!

    Good Luck!

    Reply
  12. Debbie

    Hi Maria – once you do get your computer up and running, you may want to look at an online backup solution like mozy.com (I’m not affiliated with them, just know they’re a good inexpensive backup solution). This way you’ll have your files available no matter what.

    Reply
  13. Dianne

    Thank you! Great post.
    I too have looked back on events that I thought at the time were unbearable, or at least uncomfortable, and have found all kinds of silver linings in them. Most of the time, the sweetness that came out of those situations involved the strengthening of a relationship. A bonding that may not have ever occurred. Funny how that works!

    I have a hp, but I want a mac………

    Reply
  14. aileen

    I just invested in a back-up system and hooked an auto back-up on my Mac (it comes with every Mac and is called Time Machine). Just hook your computer up to your external HD and it backs up every hour (or what ever timeframe you choose) automatically!

    I have been lucky in my life thus far… I’ve been layed off 3 times and every single time I’ve taken the opportunity to upgrade my skills and education. Fashion Design, Art/Illustration, and this time Marketing. It’s all good and my career has only gotten better!

    Reply
  15. Archan Mehta

    Maria,

    Little old me?

    Cheerleader? Like a baywatch babe? Who do you think I am–Pamela Anderson Lee? Ugh. Oh, let’s get really serious here, Hail to the chief.

    There oughta be a law against people like you. Just imagine how people would react if I dressed up in a bikini or a cheerleader’s costume.

    “And a one, and a two, yay-team. And a one, and a two, yay team.” Ugh.

    Watching me, there would surely be a public outcry. The cops would throw me in the slammer for public indecency. Mob bosses would start to cry like little children. There would be accidents on the road and marriages would dissolve. Brides would run away from the podium. People would choke on their food and pass gas.

    Miracles would occur, suddenly. George Bush would acquire a brain and Obama would actually look like a black man from the hood instead of a Harvard educated lawyer. Moms would cover the eyes of their children for once, and bimbos would read a book instead of strutting their stuff on stage for lecherous geezers.

    In general, I think people would withdraw into their shells, not being able to withstand the ugliness of yours truly. LOL. Gimme a break.

    Reply
  16. Kristina

    I strongly agree with this post. Life isn’t supposed to be easy, and I believe that you must learn from the hard and painful times in order to grow as a person, not only in your career but your relationships as well.

    Pencil me in as another Mac FanGirl, I recently lost my old G5 (from 2004) to a faulty logic board, and ‘upgraded’ to a loaded 21″ iMac. It runs all of my design programs just fine, and will open a 300MB photoshop file in seconds instead of giving me time to go get coffee. Just get a couple external hard drives and do your Time Machine backup religiously.

    Keep up the great posts, Maria. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Norman Pirollo

    I second getting a external backup drive. I’ve had one for about a year now, it was last year’s Christmas present to me 🙂 It is a HP model, plugs into the USB port and automatically baks up at timed intervals.

    The real nice part is that in the event of a computer failure I simply plug this external back up drive into another computer and it automatically restores all my data including pertinent system information.

    I have peace of mind now about these things. And we all know that nothing will ever occur to my computer because I have this backup system 🙂

    I also agree that adversity brings the best out of us, although initially it feels like a series of storm clouds over our heads. I’ve been through 3 layoffs and I like to use the quote ” 3 strikes and I’m out” of the rat race. Full time artist now, alternative media, but still…

    Norman Pirollo

    Reply
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