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Frustration as a Messenger and Ally

As published on Reiki Rays, December 30, 2020… Article by Kathleen L. Johnson, M.A., RMT

As the last days of 2020 come to a close, the past few weeks stand out for me as some of the most challenging in a year that has been relentlessly arduous, heartbreaking, and exhausting. These recent weeks have been, shall I say, challenging. But, setting euphemisms aside, they have been frustrating, aggravating, and dispiriting for various reasons. The specifics are unimportant; what matters is how these inevitable “life’s curveballs” are perceived and managed by those experiencing the inevitable frustration they bring.

As a spiritual seeker and Reiki practitioner, I know that a measure of difficulty always accompanies the human experience. Through years of meditation, reflection, and Reiki’s loving guidance, I’ve also learned that these difficulties are necessary and an integral part of soul growth and evolution – the very purpose of our earthly existence. And, I understand that times of great difficulty and pain provide the most significant opportunities for growth and that they are to be embraced for the lessons they offer. Yes, I understand all this and frequently discuss these concepts with clients and students. However, as an all-too-human being, it is so much easier to embrace these concepts when life runs smoothly. When the inevitable challenges and frustrations arise, my first instinct (reaction) is to protest, pump a fist at the heavens, and complain, Why me?

Blessedly, Reiki’s unerring guidance taught me that consciously responding to difficult situations empowers and restores my center, as opposed to reacting from an emotion-driven impulsive state, which only exacerbates the perceived issue. Responding from a place of empowerment allows me to appropriately address the path’s obstacles and accept them as necessary for growth.

With all that being said, there are exceptions to every rule, such as the past few grueling weeks. Perhaps it was the relentless onslaught of problems, crises, and glitches. Maybe it was the severe winter weather, of which I am already weary. Quite possibly a culmination of the accumulated stress of 2020. Or, perhaps that time was intended to be nothing more than an extended lesson wrapped in misery. Whatever the purpose, frustration was indeed the order of the past few weeks.

At best, frustration is unpleasant. At its worst, it leads to anger, violence, and destruction. However, like all emotions, it is neither good nor bad – it merely is- “energy in motion.” When circumstances cause us to feel frustration, it is necessary to identify and acknowledge it. A simple, sincere acknowledgment allows the frustration to rise to the surface to be fully felt, experienced, then released. After all, the purpose of emotions is to alert us to what is happening in our inner and outer worlds. Feeling, identifying, and acknowledging them allows us to set them free as they complete their purpose.

Frustration as a Messenger and Ally

The opposite of frustration is peace. With that in mind, the feeling of frustration may be perceived as a gift. If we continually experience frustration in certain aspects of our lives, it is likely Reiki and Spirit’s way of nudging us to take a different approach, adopt a new perspective. Frustration results when goals are thwarted or desires remain unmet. It creates the illusion of a “dead end.” However, if we remember that Spirit always provides, with the Highest Good as its goal, then we recognize that there are no dead ends in Spirit. That realization allows us to view frustration as a messenger – a call to reconsider our perspective, approach, or tactics. When we heed its message, frustration diminishes as its purpose completes, a path forward becomes more evident, and we can return to our center again.

From this standpoint, frustration becomes an ally, a compass for us if we lose our way. It may also illustrate the higher purpose of those emotions and feelings that we, in all our humanness, have labeled as “bad.” As stated earlier, emotions are neither good nor bad – they simply are. What matters is how we address them – do we instinctively react, or do we thoughtfully respond? As we begin to view these challenges and frustrations as messengers and learning opportunities, we align ourselves more with the way of Reiki and Spirit, following the Highest Good. We relax into the all-encompassing wisdom and allow ourselves to Accept and Trust.

For me, this was a hard-won lesson that is now embedded in my soul. So, throughout those difficult weeks, I honored my intuition, kept Reiki closer to me, and heeded my own advice. I allowed the weeks’ frustrating aspects to surface, be acknowledged, and then released with gratitude for what they taught me. As I did so, I recognized that I had been stuck in an illusory dead end of my own making, creating unnecessary emotional hardship. By shifting my perspective and appreciating frustration as an ally and messenger, the path was once again evident, and my earlier question was answered with – Why NOT me?

So, as we move into a new year with its new promise, keeping Reiki at our side, and learning to respond with empowered consciousness can smooth and illuminate the way forward. I wish you all the brightest blessings of peace and contentment.