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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

~A grieving heart is an open heart, and an open heart is the doorway to true joy, and a life of Love~

We can never really know what anyone else’s purpose in life is. It is so easy to view others with criticism or intolerance, whilst declaring confidently how they ‘should’ act. But all things are as we need them to be, for a period of time at least, until we wake up, realize that we are suffering, and choose to transform our lives. We all have the right to choose how we will learn. Some lessons come only through suffering, just as some lessons come only through joy. Eventually we wake up and understand that emotional and even most physical suffering will not kill us; we must go on living whether we want to or not. At that point, grace arrives, and we cease to fear suffering.

A wise person knows that suffering is but a state of mind, it is not who we are. It is a fleeting state of existence, and we have the power to change how we view it. It never fails to amaze me how many of us handle what we view as ‘negative’ emotions. When we are sad or angry, we spend countless hours figuring it all out. We feel compelled to analyze our sorrow, look at it from all sides, dig deeply into the past to find the root of it. Yet when we are happy, we do not ask ourselves “Why am I so darned happy? How long will this last? What is the root of this joy?” Instead, we relax, and simply experience our state of happiness. We are content to hang suspended in our blissful moments of joy. The fact that we suspect they will not last forever makes them seem all the more sweet.

Suffering is unavoidable. Our bodies grow old, our loved ones get sick, our children fall down, and we experience times of stress, hardship, loss, or betrayal. Many of us expend a tremendous amount of energy to run away from our pain. We get creatively busy to distract ourselves, or numb ourselves in an infinite assortment of ways.  If we would approach our fleeting moments of unhappiness the same way as we do our periods of joy, our suffering would pass more quickly. A grieving heart is an open heart, and an open heart is the doorway to true joy, and a life of Love.

When you are in grief, allow yourself the respect to truly feel it. Wallow in your pain– let it deeply permeate your being. Lie on your bed, and cry aloud– “Oh! I am suffering, why me? Oh, it hurts!” Roll back and forth, scream and cry, as a child would. It is amazing how quickly the feelings will pass if you allow them the freedom to fully manifest. It is when we start numbing ourselves– trying desperately to keep ourselves from feeling them fully, that they persist and cloud our daily lives. Children scream and fuss and then suddenly– the cloud burst dissipates and they are sunny and full of energy again. There is no residue of suppressed emotion to dampen their spirits. The moment passes and they move forward unfettered. If you must suffer, then suffer beautifully. The very fact that you are open enough to feel your pain is a gift. Try it– you will be amazed at how well it works.

Many people tell me that they cannot let themselves go– that they can’t cry. They have ignored their own feelings and told themselves to buck up and stop whining for so long that being numb has become a habitual state of being. The only way that they can get through life is by shutting themselves down so that they do not feel their own pain. They float through life, mired in a world of no highs, no lows. Is it any wonder that so many of us are depressed?

My solution is to rent a bunch of sad movies. So many of the Disney movies, for instance, are really horrendously brutal. Poor baby Bambi loses his mother in a terrifying forest fire in the first five minutes. Poor baby Dumbo is driven to the point of self-immolation due to the cruelty of others. Old tearjerkers abound: Brian’s Song; Love Story; Now, Voyager and Mildred Pierce are just a few. Grab a bunch of sad movies, watch one every day for two weeks, and have a good cry while you do. If your family catches you, you can blame it on the movie and they’ll cry with you. By the time your two weeks have passed, you will feel transformed. Don’t ever underestimate the cleansing power of a good cry. Let your tears flow, and you will feel enormously better.

Allowing yourself to fully grieve sends a message to your inner self that you truly care about yourself. By allowing yourself to acknowledge how you really feel, deep down in your heart of hearts, you are telling yourself that it is okay to feel your true feelings. You are telling your inner self that it is safe for you to be authentically yourself, without shame or holding back. You are not feeling one way and acting another way in order to please others. Too many of us worry more about not making others feel uncomfortable than we do about being compassionate to ourselves. Let your tears flow, and your painful emotions will ease.

The true purpose of pain and suffering is to teach us something important. Suffering is the great teacher. Suffering works because we pay much greater attention to our pain than we do to our joy. When we are happy and things are going well, we don’t question it. Much of the time, we don’t even notice it– we merely accept that things are going well for us. Yet when things are not going our way, we notice that immediately, and then ask ourselves what the problem is. We question how we can adjust so that our pain will cease.  What better way to catch our own attention than by throwing a boulder in the middle of the road ahead? We surely won’t miss that!

Every great hero through time has faced a series of challenges to prove his or her own strength and courage. You are the hero of your own life story, as we all are. You are looking to teach yourself important lessons through your painful mistakes and losses. Ask yourself: What lesson has this suffering taught me? What have I learned now that could have helped me avoid this experience if only I had known it earlier? After all, if you knew any better, would you have made the choices you did? As long as you are human, you will continue to mess up at times. The real trick is to get back up, dust yourself off, and discover the underlying lesson, so that you are not doomed to repeat the painful experience. Take responsibility for your mistake, make amends where appropriate, acknowledge what you have learned, and allow yourself to forgive your error and move on. Keep the wisdom, and release the needless suffering.

Remember, everything in life is a gift. Some gifts come encircled in beautiful wrappings, and we are delighted to receive them. Some gifts come wrapped in ugly paper, and we may not view them so enthusiastically. Yet all things in life hold value; all events in life are gifts no matter how ugly they may appear to be. It is our responsibility to unwrap them, and to look for the beauty within each circumstance. In truth, suffering may be the greatest gift of all.

~  I find beauty within all things, and Life is good. ~

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