Today’s message is about suffering.
Yeah, yeah… That’s a crappy word, right? But what is suffering, really?
Suffering is how you choose to relate to your pain, struggle, or life circumstance. You can let your pain serve you or disempower you. You might find yourself in a repetitive pattern that takes you out of presence. Maybe you find yourself feeling downright unhappy. Maybe you’re stuck in a job that you hate. Maybe you’re struggling with a relationship dynamic that hurts. Maybe your body is in pain and you find yourself unable to move or exercise the way you used to.
This saying sums up what I’ll be talking about today: “Pain in inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
Life is painful sometimes. I know it. But how you show up in the pain is what matters.
Let me explain…
My fall workshop season was packed. I led many weekend workshops back to back where I traveled across the country, and I even got to participate in a workshop and receive from others. It was a very expansive Fall where I grew, learned, and transformed at rapid rates. The dust finally settled this week, and I found myself feeling depleted, vulnerable, and sad.
It wasn’t until I realized that I was experiencing a contraction post such an expansive few months that I brought myself back to presence and caught my breath.
I was struggling because I was resisting the contraction. I couldn’t accept that I was still recovering from a busy and expansive workshop season. I so wished that I could be “normal” and recover quickly, but that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t being compassionate with myself- instead I was being so hard on myself and making myself wrong for being different, weird, and sensitive.
Here’s the internal tool that I used to bring me back to presence and compassion, and totally eased my suffering…
I ask myself these questions: “What am I resisting?” and “What am I not accepting?”
When I saw so clearly what I was resisting (the contraction) I could relax into it. When I accepted the space that I was in, I made peace with my experience and even found some beauty in it. My mind didn’t have to go as crazy. I had more space for my experience. I could relax, and no longer felt the need to make myself wrong for my internal state.
Here’s another example of how this tool helped me this past week…
We were in driving in some crazy SF traffic Tuesday night, so I decided to use this trick on myself.
What was I resisting? Traffic.
What was I not accepting? That I might be late to a friend’s house for dinner.
Once I accepted the traffic and no longer pushed against the possibility of being late and accepted it, I relaxed and had fun in the car with my friends. This internal dialogue helped ease my suffering in many different situations this week, and maybe it will help you too .
When you find yourself in a tough moment, perhaps you can ask yourself these questions, too, and reply back and let me know how these questions served you.
P.S.Thank you for reading this email. I value your time SO much, and appreciate you taking the time to read this. Also- if you didn’t already know, fires have been raging in Southern California. It’s been devastating and scary for my So Cal friends and family. This article shows the many different ways you can help.