More Proof It’s All Good

May 21, 2016 | 20 Comments »

More Proof It's All Good: Trace It BackThis is the “trace it back” method to find yet more proof that it really truly is all good.

It’s a great way to release resistance in the face of high contrast.

Start by thinking about something super fabulous in your life. I’m talking something really good …

… maybe your current sweetheart, or a job you love, or that trip of a lifetime you once took.

Now think about the events that led to that great thing.

Trace it back, step by step, backwards in time, along the path it unfolded …

until you pinpoint something really crappy.

Something awful and unwanted.

That’s the birthplace of this fabulous thing.

If you look far enough, you’ll find it.

Because all our best things come from crap.

Like how my commitment to launching a coaching practice came after a corporate employer started taking steps to fire me.

And how my friend’s fabulously thriving body came after a health scare that inspired him to change his ways.

In fact, here’s a personal example I can walk you through. It’s the story of my favorite dog, Joe. He is definitely on the list of top 10 things I love most about life.

How did my love affair with Joe unfold?

If I trace it back, step by step, from his happily-ever-after here with me now to where it all started, these are the steps in reverse …

I adopted him from my ex. Who I was dog-sitting for. I was giving his pack midday potty breaks while he was at work.

That’s how I met Joe, an 80 pound pit bull mix with a heart of gold.

Over time I fell in such love with this dog that I started bringing him home with me, to spend afternoons together till his foster dad got home from work.

And the step before that … how did he end up at my ex’s house for me to meet him there?

Well, my ex was asked by someone at a local high-kill shelter to foster an unclaimed dog that had been hit by a car and was stuck there with a fractured spine. The dog couldn’t stand or sit without help.

He was in a bad way. No one claiming him and no rescue group stepping up for the $5k back surgery he needed.

In my book, that’s high contrast. The crap count on that situation is off the charts.
More Proof It's All Good
When no rescue groups were willing to do the surgery, the vet said, “Well, try sticking him in a foster home. See how he does.”

That was ten years ago and my ex was that foster home. I’m delighted to report Joe’s spine healed really well very quickly. (You’d never guess he ever had a problem.)

That’s the story of how one of my truest true loves came to me. Getting hit by a car and stranded at the shelter with a broken back.

I learned this “trace it back” method from Martha Beck, and I’m a fan because it helps remind us that good things come from crappy situations. (Or from “contrast,” as Abe puts it.)

So the next time you’re dwelling on something that feels awful, just remind yourself how your best things came from something crappy. It makes it a lot easier to embrace the current contrast. 🙂

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20 Responses to “ More Proof It’s All Good ”

  1. anonymous says:

    This feels so good to read! Just what I needed to hear 🙂 Some recent contrast has inspired me to change the way I eat and live, and already I’ve been learning so much. The contrast has lead me to focus on my desire for a thriving and happy body, and the path lit up very quickly!!

  2. Dana says:

    Definitely true! Only one of my many examples includes losing EVERYTHING we owned in a disaster with toxic mold —(which in itself is a “Stephen King novel” waiting to be written)— including my 6-figure income/career, as a single parent of three children, with no child support coming from dad…out of that tremendous loss, illness and tragedy (including medical diagnoses), we were lead to move to Hawaii and get well.

    And, well we became! With a lot of Aloha, a 10-acre, rural plot, fertile soil, sunshine and daily, fresh air, we all began to heal. We cut the tall grasses by hand using machetes. We planted food; we harvested what grew there naturally, we built a large home, and raised sheep, chickens, rabbits – had two dogs and a cat, not to mention the gazillion monarch butterflies that lived, cocooned and released all around us seasonally, serving as a strong reminder to me we were all being profoundly and marvelously transformed and healed there.

    Rewind 8-10 years earlier— I had dreamt of escaping my stressful career, and the bustle of city life. I would fantasize about pulling my car off the freeway, buying a one-way ticket, a bikini and a toothbrush and going to Hawaii. Isn’t it funny I wound up there years later by way of an “apparent tragedy?” Sometimes, the Univese delivers on our deepest, unspoken dreams in the most clever ways!!! This contrast wound up being a HUGE gift of life for all of us. Happy to report —we all healed and are now thriving.

  3. Elle says:

    Tears running down my face while reading this one! Beautiful story and thank you for sharing!

    It reminds me of my friend who did not get into the school of her dreams, yet what manifested was the life of her dreams- she met her husband, has a great career and great friends from that school! The Universe just gives, let us keep being reminded of that! The lotus in the mud comes to mind.

    • Jeannette says:

      “Lotus in the mud” – love that, Elle!

      In fact, I didn’t include the contrast from when my ex moved out. We used to live together, but because we parted (which wasn’t super easy on either of us), we had twice the square footage to foster twice as many animals. If he’d still been living with me, we wouldn’t have had room for a big dog who needed some peace and quiet and plenty of space to heal a fracture in his spine.

      Abe says it all the time – that contrast is what makes things even better. But to actually pinpoint the truth of it in our real life makes it easier to believe. 🙂

  4. Joanne says:

    I love this and how wonderful to know that when you are in the middle of something crappy, it is likely the start of something amazing ????

    • Jeannette says:

      Yes, Joanne! I’d say “definitely” instead of likely – but the only variable is whether we’re going to see it and allow it. Because I guess we could theoretically keep ourselves in a “life sucks” routine and disallow the good stuff that wants to come on its heels.

      Thanks for reading and for posting, Joanne. 🙂

      • Tara says:

        So i’ not as you said, seeing and allowing the good stuff that wants to come into my life. My narrative is a major accident leaving me seriously disabled 15 years ago, leading to years of painful therapy, the inability to return to the high paying career I was so passionate about, working with disadvantaged children,(I use to wake up each morning a smile on my face, looking forward to going to work, loved it), the loss of a longterm relationship (could not handle being with disabled person) to a life of just enough money to feed myself, constantly alone, and in pain. The aforementioned is the reality of my life. But I am told I am unbelievably positive. Am grateful for what I have like my house realizing that if I did not own my house I would be on the street. Our society is not kind to those of us who are disabled. I am obviously in the middle of something crappy; is this the start of something awesome! So after ,,15 years how do I allow the good stuff to come into my life

  5. Joanne says:

    I love this and how wonderful to know that when you are in the middle of something crappy, it is likely the start of something amazing ????

  6. Mrs. says:

    “Because all our best things come from crap.”
    I love it because it’s so true. I got my new home, My new man, my easy flow of income, my health… The list goes on.

    Thank you

    • Jeannette says:

      Thanks for adding your additional life evidence to the list, Mrs. C! When we do enough of this tracing back, it can actually make us excited when something goes “wrong,” right?! 😉

      • Mrs. says:

        The “trace it back” method is a well known method that Therapist’s use. In all honesty when something goes wrong. I don’t feel excited because the shit is so bad that I just feel fear, in my own bubble. It is only when I am coming out of it or out of the situation that I can look back in hindsight that I can see that something even better has come from the situation.

        I’m talking about heavy traumatic situation’s But The way that I deal with things that goes wrong is that now is just that I take as I much action as a can then get into “don’t give a hoot mode”. When I slip out of it and feel worried I just talk my self back into not giving a hoot but in a fun or comical way, even if I feel several different negative emotions. if you understand what I mean. It really depends on the given situation. I hope I articulated that OK because…dyslexia…Sometimes a gift though.

  7. Namaste says:


    Really enjoyed doing trace backs and finding what you said here holds true =) Thanks!


  8. Sef says:

    Perfect post at the perfect time! I had goosebumps. It’s like Universe telling me not to worry for what happening in my life right now.
    Thanks a lot, Jeannette. I love you.

  9. Lawrence says:

    “Because all our best things come from crap.” – I just love this one! 😀 Thanks!

  10. Heather says:

    :sigh: so true. 🙂 And Joe is adorable! 🙂

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