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We’ve all had bad things happen to us, when we’ve felt like we were being punished; when we’ve looked up at the sky and screamed “why me?” And we wonder why this situation, whatever it may be, has happened to us and not to other people. What did we do to deserve this?

At the end of 2010, I learned that two different friends had lost their jobs unexpectedly. Both felt the expected range of emotions: anger, resentment, hurt, fear of the unknown, uncertainty about their futures. My gut reaction was the same to both friends: I immediately felt a sense of freedom and jubilation for them. Although they were upset and resentful, I knew that this was a gift for them. I knew that the Universe was simply giving them a friendly “kick” in order to move them on to bigger and better things, into situations that were more aligned with their true purpose. They of course did not share this sense of excitement that I felt, which is understandable. At that time I wanted to write a blog examining whether such events are punishments or gifts. But something told me to wait…

Little did I know, a month later I too would unexpectedly lose my job. I was floored. I will admit there was a part of me that was relieved, as I had been unhappy in this job, but the larger part of me felt furious, upset, unappreciated, and out right hurt. I wondered “why is this happening to ME?” I knew I had been a good, hard-working employee, so I kept asking myself what I had done to deserve this. Now was my chance to test my own conviction and listen to my own advice! I had to remind myself of what I had felt and known about my two friends in similar situations: that they were in fact being given a gift.

You see, I had been through similar situations before, where I was certain I was being punished by a cruel Universe. But once time passed and events were allowed to unfold, in every one of those situations I was able to look back with 20/20 hindsight and see that the events that I had perceived as “punishment” had actually been gifts: True gifts.

Many of you already know of the hard times I lived through when I was living in Los Angeles: Rejected, heart-broken, jobless and largely friendless. After an extended period of unemployment, I was finally able to find a job, but only to be laid off 8 months later, a casualty of the deep recession that descended upon the country. Considering all of the other things that had gone wrong in my personal life, I just felt like nothing would ever go right. I felt completely trapped, completely stagnant. No matter how hard I tried to change and improve my situation, I just couldn’t seem to find a way out. I felt like I was being punished.

But then, a year later, just when I thought that that job in Los Angeles could never have helped me, that there couldn’t have been any good reason for it, I was offered a job in San Francisco, that was a direct result of having had that job. That job that had laid me off in Los Angeles, had been my ticket to freedom, it had been my ticket out of stagnation. It had been my ticket to San Francisco.

So here I am more than two years later and I’ve just lost that same job that brought me to San Francisco. But now I have perspective. I am able to look back and see how the dots connected. I know that that job in Los Angeles led me to this job here, and I know that this job led me to San Francisco. And I now know that losing this job has led me to freedom. I know now that the Universe is giving me yet another gift: it has released me from another unhappy situation, and has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.

As I said about my friends, I know that the Universe has given me a friendly “kick,” a slight nudge of encouragement to align myself with my truth path. And so now I walk forward, into a bright future, aligned with my true purpose. And I know that whenever something happens to me that at the time seems like a very clear punishment, that I will be grateful, because I know it will only be a matter of time before it reveals itself to actually be a gift.

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