Life offers a full buffet of experiences, feelings, and interactions. In our humanity, we are drawn to things that make us feel good, yet life’s fullest expressions are found in the contrast. Good and bad, right and wrong, painful and pleasurable — it’s all life.
Although winter is the least favorite season for many of us, its arrival brings wonderful lessons on pain and suffering. It’s cold (when we prefer warmth), gray (when we prefer sun-filled, blue skies), dry and dormant (when we prefer lush and green), wet and sloppy (when we prefer dry and clean). No matter what we do, winter comes each year. Life offers a full menu of experiences in any given moment and whether we like it or not, it is serving us exactly what we need.
Yet, most of us try desperately to control, fix or avoid anything we don’t want, and this causes us pain. When we are unable to control, fix or avoid, we suffer even more. We experience frustration, anger or depression. THEN we make ourselves wrong for feeling this way and the cycle continues. We see pain as “bad” and bliss as “good,” thus fighting much of what life has to offer. One simple way to stop the cycle of suffering is to stop fighting the pain, and instead ask,
“What is this pain trying to reveal to me?”
Simply put, when we do not accept what is, we will suffer. It may start slowly, but soon enough, we will find ourselves suffering deeply from the original pain, now amplified from the fight.
Instead of fighting your pain, I invite you to meet your pain with an open heart. Tell yourself your pain is not wrong. Quietly sit with it; see your pain in awareness. Through acceptance, explore the value of what is being offered through the pain. The invitation is to find comfort in the reality of what it is. Sometimes that requires getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Understanding the lesson in in your pain may not come automatically. Be gentle with yourself and trust the process. By taking this different approach, you get to keep the lesson and let go of the pain and struggle.
In accepting your pain, you no longer have a reason to fight it, yourself, or your life, because you can accept exactly what life is offering you. By moving to a place of acceptance, you can simply be and the struggle fades away. In acceptance, there is no right or wrong, good or bad, pain or pleasure. There is only the richness of now.
Expecting someone else (or the world) to be doing (or not doing) something they aren’t (or wanting them to stop doing something they are) isn’t realistic. Wanting something to be different than it is, is not helpful and certainly can destroy peace. Acceptance of what is, changes everything.
Let us find comfort in now, now, and now. Know that whatever your experience, it is an invitation to live your life open-heartedly and authentically.