I have come to believe that everything unfolds in perfect divine order, that everything that happens is a lesson here in Earth School, and that what actually happens to us is not as important as how we deal with it. This is quite a different philosophy than the one I used to live by, and it was severely challenged five years ago when my house was infested with ticks.
Brown dog ticks are the only ticks that have been known to take over a human habitat. Being a researcher, I learned more about BDTs than I wanted to know. Given the reproductive rate, it is fair to assume that I had between 2,000 and 8,000 ticks in my home. Living in my rugs, furniture, clothes, walls, and of course on my dog, they took over my consciousness and my life. I wore only white clothes because I could hold them up to the light and see if they were already occupied. I pulled more than 50 ticks off my dog every day. I could only sleep with the lights on, and then fitfully at best. I could not relax in my house. I realized I was in trouble when one walked over my foot while I was talking on the phone and I started to hyper-ventilate. Being petro-sensitive, I could not even consider pesticides, since all professionally used pesticides at that time were petroleum based. I diagnosed myself with Acute Anxiety Disorder and felt hopeless, like I was being held hostage with no way out other than to abandon my home.
Obviously, I did find a solution. But that is not important to this story (unless of course, you have ticks, in which case, please contact me!) What I learned from this experience was not to give up hope, to have faith that I would be led to a solution. And I learned that I was brave and resourceful, that I could call out my Warrior self. In this experience, I reclaimed parts of me that I had lost. There was a time I used to call my friend Bonnie to come and take ticks off my dog because I couldn't bring myself to do it; today there are very few situations that intimidate me (and none of them involve removing creepy crawlies). I learned that I did not have to solve all my problems by myself and it really was OK to ask for help. I learned that if you talk to enough people, someone can give you a direction and that research pays off. I learned that I could get a grip on myself even when I was stressed to the max. I learned that my biggest problem was not my situation, but my fear. And that if I could face my fear, if I could turn to love and faith and open my mind to seeing something new, I could find my way home again. And I learned to be grateful for the challenging things that happen because they bring powerful lessons. I learned to practice gratitude no matter what: every day that I was not bitten by a tick, I was grateful for that. I lived with thousands of blood sucking parasites in a relatively small house and not once was I bitten. What a blessing that was!
In Japanese writing, the symbol for crisis is the same symbol that is used for opportunity. I've known that little tidbit for a long time, but I didn't really "get it" until the ticks taught me. Everything is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and to call back parts of ourselves that we have lost. It's all good, it's all part of the lesson plan.