Is Suffering Optional?
There are some days we just want to go back to bed.
We wake up feeling grumpy, sore, and just not in the mood to bother with life.
Can you relate?
Have you ever gotten your heart shattered and the pain was so unbearable you just couldn’t function in day to day life?
I remember having to call in sick because I could not stop crying…no bawling.
My life seemed like a burden because I was in pain.
It often seems like pain takes so much energy there is none left to go on living.
According to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain each year.
This is more than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
In 2006, I injured my back while I was working. One minute I was running around in a busy restaurant the next I could barely stand up straight.
By the time I got home, I could only stoop over like an elderly woman. The next day, I was in so much pain, I could not get out of bed.
The car ride to the doctor was excruciating. The only thing they could offer was pain medication.
I could not work, or move for months. I took medication and suffered on all levels.
They originally swore it was a strained thoracic muscle and the pain would subside within 6 weeks.
I tried to go back to work after 3 months with no luck.
I begged for physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage.
The doctors said these would not help me.
I developed serious depression, lost a relationship, my home, and had to leave my job.
I moved in with my sister, depressed, and heartbroken. I thought my world was over.
Eventually, I learned that suffering was something I actually had control over.
I could not change the fact that I had pain, but I did have a choice of what I did with it.
Pain Does Not Equal Suffering
There is a difference between pain and suffering.
Have you ever known someone that was suffering from an illness but they genuinely seemed happy?
Pain is inevitable.
We will all feel it at some point in our lives. It may be an accident or physical injury.
It may be the loss of a loved one or pet.
We do have a choice, believe it or not.
I’d like to use Yoga as an example. Most of us have practiced yoga at least once. If not, put it on your bucket list. It may surprise you. ; )
When we practice yoga, we breathe. We move from one pose to the next at different speeds, depending on the type of class.
We always breathe. At the beginning of our practice it can be uncomfortable.
In fact, there are some days that most of the poses are uncomfortable no painful.
We don’t stop when a pose is painful. What do we do?
We BREATHE into it. Then, something beautiful happens…
The pain releases…the suffering subsides.
I’ve even taken it a step further.
When I am feeling pain in one area of my body, I breathe into and silently say, “I love you.”
Sound ridiculous? Just try it.
Many times our body signals pain because it needs our attention. If we continue to ignore it, it will get louder and the pain will get worse.
When I look back I can see I was ignoring my Self entirely when I injured my back.
I had stopped meditating, doing yoga and eating healthy.
I was drinking whiskey, watching t.v., and eating junk food every day.
When I got back to paying attention and being mindful with my pain. It got better.
I began listening to what it needed and breathing into the pain.
The more we can do this, the less suffering we will experience.
It is when we lose ourSelves in the pain that it becomes suffering.
Start by breathing, then listen…
Make this your priority.
Notice the pain and breathe into it rather than resist it.
I am not saying the pain will go away but we don’t have to suffer.
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Also, if you’ve experienced feeling stuck in the past or symptoms of soul loss, visit Work With Misha.