Posts Tagged ‘Suffering’

Simpler Than You Might Think: How To Suffer Less

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If you know me, you know I am a student of life, always learning, always considering new ways of being in this world, and may I say that I’m very much a student these days. Life circumstances (Eric’s health in particular) have required me to dip my bucket deeper into the well of what I’m thinking and feeling.

It is clear to me that my thoughts govern my feelings, which guide my actions, and finally what I have (what shows up in my life). So the flow is think, feel, act, have.

What I have is sometimes joy or satisfaction. And sometimes I have suffering. I realize occasional suffering is considered a normal part of human experience, a natural part of life.

I have to say though, these days I’m interested in a little less suffering.

THE FINER POINTS OF SUFFERING

What is suffering and how does it happen?

What I’m about to say is simple and it has changed me. Again. More deeply.

If I am suffering, my mind has convinced me of something that isn’t true. My mind suggested (even promoted) a bogus thought and I accepted it as truth. (“I will not be able to handle it if Eric’s health gets worse.”)

I suffer when I’ve fallen for a lie. (“I’m too emotional. I cry too much.”)

I suffer when I’m caught up in thinking that this moment before me, right here, right now, should be different than it is. (“This is not what I signed up for.”)

If I believe “My partner shouldn’t be ill” I suffer. What’s obvious is that he’s ill. If I rail against what’s so, it hurts. It’s hard work. It’s not respectful or loving, because there’s a war going on inside me. I know that might sound drastic, but all I know is that’s what it feels like.

If I think I should have a healthy guy who is out playing tennis and golf, I suffer. I’m suffering any time I’m pushing against what’s true. Acceptance ends any internal war.

LEARNING TO LOVE WHAT IS

Teacher Byron Katie says, “I don’t ever have to wonder what I want because I’m always living it.” She calls herself a lover of what is. For me, the idea of being a lover of what is, is a work in progress. I can see the value of it. I know in my bones that “loving what is” ends internal angst. I have experienced that, I love how it feels, and I know the truth of it.

It’s common for humans to believe that if something has “gone wrong” it needs to be fixed in order to be happy. If I believe that being married or having a partner is better than not having one, and I lose my partner, I suffer. If I believe life is over if my partner leaves me (divorce, separation, death), I suffer. If I believe that “I can’t bear to… (fill in the blank)” that’s a stressful thought and I suffer.

IS IT TRUE?

But is my stressful thought actually true? Maybe not. Maybe my circumstances aren’t the problem. Maybe my beliefs about my circumstances are causing the trouble.

I’m sure you’ve heard prison stories, for instance, where a prisoner uses the time behind bars to plan their revenge. When they get out, they commit another crime, perhaps even worse than the first one and get thrown back in jail.

There are others who use time behind bars to transform themselves inside and out, and when released, they go on a speaking tour or become a leader in some way. They are a gift to the world.

Both individuals committed a crime and went to prison, but the outcomes were entirely different. One person used their circumstances to justify and maintain their point of view. The other used the time to change and open. It’s a perfect example of how it’s not circumstances that make the difference. It’s what we believe about our circumstances. It’s what we do with the card we’re dealt.

I’ve known this idea, and thought I understood this idea. I’ve practiced self-inquiry about my beliefs and unraveled and release many.

NOW YOU’RE PUSHING MY ENVELOPE

But now I’m being asked to move way, way out of my personal comfort zone. It’s pretty easy to be happy when things are going my way, when life is good for me, Eric is healthy and life is humming along. It is a different ballgame when things head in “not my favorite” direction.

Believing things should be different than they are leaves me unable to be with this person I love. I cannot hear him if I’m worried. I cannot see him if I am consumed with fear instead of being present in love.

I can’t truly be with him if:

  • I’m caught up in my attitudes (this should not be happening, I thought our sixties would be different than this).
  • I’m caught up in my thoughts (imagining negative “what if’s.” Essentially, I’m making myself afraid of what hasn’t happened).
  • I’m caught up in my beliefs (Eric’s illness is too hard to deal with, I don’t want to be dealing with such difficult matters on a daily basis).

If I believe things are going sideways or that what’s in front of me shouldn’t be happening, I resist. I am compelled to try to correct something I have no control over (someone’s life and their path). I brace myself. I hang in limbo. I worry. I fret. I imagine a negative outcome. (No, actually, I imagine a stream, a raging river of negative outcomes.)

But I know in my heart (and I teach) that my relationship with another person shows me much more about me, than about the other person. This is an idea not many of us practice fully because it requires a deep willingness to grow an open mind.

LEARNING FROM THE ONE YOU LOVE

There are many examples of what relationships show us about ourselves. The last one in the list below is my personal and most profound learning these days.

Here is a sprinkle of how the relationship mirror works.pouring water on stone

If I hurt you (lash out at you), it shows me how I hurt me. How I judge you is how I judge myself. As I attack you, so I attack myself.

My criticism of you is how I criticize myself. I use those exact words on myself, quietly and privately. How I react to you is a perfect picture of my pain.

How I treat you is how I treat myself. My opinions about you are the same ones I have within me, about me, both positive and negative.

How I speak to you is how I speak to myself, especially in my head, in moments when nobody but me is there to hear it. If I speak to myself unkindly, that is often so painful that I’d rather talk about you, point the finger at you. I pretend that what I say about you is all about you.

(Read slowly) Anything I perceive as hurting another also hurts me. If I am hurting, I cannot be there fully for the one I believe is hurting.

NO EXCEPTIONS

It doesn’t matter whether my stressful belief is about my neighbor, my child, my best friend, my new president or my partner.

My simplest, most revealing personal practice these days is to listen to myself (write it on paper) to learn more deeply about me and what I think, especially what’s hovering in the deep dark corners of my mind. I’m shining a light into places I have not been before.

This I know for sure about myself: I am willing to question the thoughts that cause me to suffer.

When I do, I grow an open mind.

Open mind brings open heart.

Open heart brings freedom.

 

 

 

 

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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

Terri’s book of photography combined with poetry is here! 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nourish the Heart.

Read more

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Check Out This Troublemaker in Relationships

Sometimes we ask intimate partners to do for us what is actually ours to do.

We ask our partner to give us the reassurance, love or appreciation we feel is missing in ourselves, with the hope that they will give us what we’re asking for—and then we’ll feel better. They’ll take care of our problem.

But when they do give us what we’re asking for, it can never be enough, because we have insufficient context for what they’ve given. We haven’t build the inner foundation to receive it, hear it, welcome it, believe it. They try to help, but their love for us falls into our void, our black hole, our love bucket with no bottom.

As always, there’s hope. Check out the video below.

Terri Crosby. http://www.incareofrelationships.com/.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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Terri Crosby

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