There are several ways to use the word gift, for instance in the sense of given to us vs. our own doing, or as a blessing vs. a curse, or as a gift of invitation to awakening.
If we take ourselves as a portion of the content of awareness, it makes sense to see some things as gifts, or given to us, and other things as of our own doing.
I am responsible for my everyday activities, including the ways I work on improving myself and my position in the world, but not responsible for what life hands me such as opportunities, accidents, illness and so on. Of course, there are times when the boundary gets fuzzy and we then see our task as sorting out what goes where.
But as soon as we take even a casual look at this, it becomes clear that it is not quite this simple. Or rather, that it is far more simple.
It is all gifts. Any inner and outer resource is a gift…. where we are born, the families we grow up in, education, our personality traits, our ambition, our motivations, our experiences, our skills, all of it are pure gifts. It is all given to us, or rather given from existence and life to itself.
And looking a little closer, we see that the whole inner/outer boundary is hard to pin down, partly because there is a gray zone, but really because it is not there. It is merely an idea placed on top of the world, and not inherent in anything. Everything about this human self, and anything else in the world, has infinite causes, and these reach back to the beginning of time and stretch out to the limits of the universe.
Finally, also by looking a little closer, the conventional boundary between gifts and curses (whether miniature or bigger) breaks down. That too is not inherent in our life. Whatever happens is inherently neutral, and we filter it as one or the other through a set of ideas.
In a more conventional way, we can hold onto an idea of what is desirable for our human self, and interpret and make situations into a gift, whether it is illness or health, problems or ease, failure or success, getting what we want or not getting i. It all becomes fodder for growth, maturing and making lemonade out of lemons. If we cannot quite do this as it is happening, we can at least do it afterwards. Being able to do this is in itself a gift, within this context.
We can also see whatever happens as a gift in another way, as an invitation to wake up to what we already are. To notice ourselves as this awakeness that all experiences unfold within, to and as, already and always inherently free from any I with an Other, and anything else coming from thought.
In a very simple way, we can see this in how stress helps us notice beliefs and rigid attachment to stories and identities, which we can then explore to find what is already more true for us than the initial story.