How Do I Stop My Suffering?
I was listening to the Oprah Podcast with Father Richard Rohr: Finding Your True Self when they were talking about suffering. Suffering isn't only speaking about pain, we suffer in anxiety, depression, relationships, thoughts, actions, worries and anything that takes away from us feeling joy, peace and one with ourselves, in my opinion.
I'm walking in my kitchen and I hear him say,
"If you don't transform your suffering, you transport it"
and I stopped still. Isn't that exactly what I've been saying? When I speak about allowing your emotions to pass through you instead of making a home within you? Except this is better and more accurate. Think about it, if you feel anxious and you don't know why, you don't sit with it and figure out where it is coming from, what happens? For me, here's an example, I walk around with a strait face, I'm quiet until I lose patience and snap at my kids or my husband. Then who have I affected? Who did I just transfer those feelings onto? Except they won't feel my anxiousness, they feel hurt and detached from me instead. Which is the last thing I want. That is transporting my suffering onto them.
So here's how I would transform that instead. I sit with it, which means instead of ignoring or pushing it away, I feel it, I look at my life and what I have currently in front of me. Here's the thing with anxiety - it's about the future (depression is about the past) so I have to think, "what do I have coming up?" What is weighing on my to do list? Say there is an event I have to be at in the next day or two that I find I'm dreading. Next question - why? Why don't I want to go? Is it the people? Is it the subject of the event? Is it that I have to leave my home, my kids, my husband? Is it that I have to prepare for it? Let's say it's the people and these are people I haven't felt a sense of acceptance and belonging from in the past so I'm worrying about feeling that way again. Looking at this from a distance, I am worrying about a FEELING. Something that hasn't happened yet, an experience I haven't gained and I am worrying about others opinions projecting on my own - of myself. Let's be honest here, do other peoples opinions of us actually change or affect WHO we actually are? No. I have to remind myself of this and I am working hard on teaching my two daughters this. Who you are is inherent and infinite, no one can add to it or take it away - it just is. So allowing others opinions to dictate the way I feel is giving away my own power of self. Giving it away to others who have done nothing to earn it and that's another topic I'd love to cover another day.
Back to transforming. What I did up there was walk myself through dissecting, feeling and learning about the emotion I was feeling. Once I realize I'm worrying about a feeling I haven't felt yet and it doesn't matter - especially now. I can decide how I'm going to feel about it instead. I transform my worry into excitement, joy and hope for a good time at the event. Then how is my countenance? How does that affect those close to me?
This is something I've been working on for a couple years now and I continue to have these break throughs with details of the process,how to speed it up, become more familiar with it and understand it better. Today was no exception, it was a big ah-ha for me since before this afternoon I thought of it as passing through me when in actuality I have been transforming it. Or trying to.
The second thing that was mentioned was specifically talking about suffering; that suffering is about control. We suffer when we are not in control. Just knowing this gives us power. Power to transform ourselves and power to change our perception of our reality. In my scenario I was not in control of other peoples opinions of me, which really is silly because we can do nothing about how others perceive us. They will see us through their own life's experiences their own personality's lens. In the end, what I do have control over is myself and my choice to allow certain things to affect me to the point I transfer them onto someone else. I can choose to do something about it and do the work to transform those feelings of suffering into something I would rather feel.
Life is incredible, it's non-stop learning and applying. It's finding yourself, loving yourself and learning how to move through life with grace. Grace for others and grace for ourself. We really all are doing the best we can and we have everything we need to succeed within us already. It's a matter of becoming aware.