The Dawning of a New Day

Today I’m going to talk about hurt…

I haven’t updated this blog in a while, because the heart has been heavy. There are little hurts, the type that can be likened to a stubbed toe, painful in the moment, but soon forgotten. And then there are crushed ribs… the sort of pain felt when someone passes on, or when the cruelty of the world cannot be made sense of in our sensitive, empathic consciences, or the pain of disregard and maltreatment, etc..

It’s these heavy hurts that weigh us down because the wounds don’t tend to heal overnight.

I will say things that might not make you feel better if you’ve recently felt like someone was skipping rope upon your broken ribs as you lay sprawled on the ground, but it will make picking yourself up and taking one step in front of another something conceivable.

Healing takes time. Sure, the gurus in India and the new age aficionados may try to convince us that the healing of mental, emotional, and physical pains can occur in this instant (and maybe it is possible…). But, listen, for ordinary people there are no shortcuts to healing. We go through what we go through in life including the painful stuff for legitimate reasons. We need to go through the process of healing. That whole journey is part of why we are here. And, in our time-space reality through which we experience life, that takes time.

The time it takes to heal is not necessarily bad, nor should be considered wasted parts of our lives in which we could have otherwise been doing something more fun, more productive, or living what we conceive to be a perfect life… We need to redefine a perfect life. A perfect life isn’t a life free of pain, hurt, stumbles along the way, obstacles, etc.. A perfect life is a broken one in which we can recognize that even if we cannot yet see it, there is a gift and an impetus to grow in every experience we go through both good and bad.

All the time it takes us to heal could quite likely be the most productive, useful time in our lives to break out of our current molds and rise beyond the paradigms that guide our lives to become grander, more authentic versions of ourselves.

You might be thinking what’s the point of all this growing if it’s going to come with such hefty doses of pain? Growth does not make life easy. It allows us to experience a fuller, richer experience of life.

You see, there’s a caveat here. Not all people are willing to suffer well. To suffer well, to grow, we need to recognize that we can choose to go down the path of discovering the gift suffering has to offer. We can choose to heal. You can choose to heal. Or the same pain will remain or return.

The best way to look at suffering is with gratitude, that it is happening in order to teach us some very important lesson. It is useless to want suffering to go away. It is impermanent, it will go away anyway, but if we don’t learn the lesson that it is trying to teach us, it will come back in exactly the same manner. -Ayya Khema, Buddhist teacher

It may take time and you may find yourself wallowing in the gutters with a heart full of depression. But, don’t berate yourself for the time it takes for you to follow your path. After all, you may be crawling on gravel and broken glass at first. But, eventually you will be able to pick yourself up (perhaps with some assistance and that’s okay!) to stand on your own two feet, and take your first step forward (possibly with atrophied legs, it will be tough, but you can regain your strength!). And soon you will be walking and the path will smooth out and perhaps… perhaps after the darkest hours of your life, you will begin to see the light of dawn.

Photo by Joka2000

I’m not saying you’ll be out in the clear. Clouds may form above, or you may stumble. But, that moment of seeing the light will be (and I guarantee this) one of the sweeter breaths of fresh air you will ever take. You will not be the same person after travelling that rugged road.

There is no prescription to healing. No path twists and turns in quite the same way. This is your journey and yours alone. This is about you going within and reacquainting yourself with your essence– with who you are. It’s about removing the debris from the tragedy and seeing yourself anew in this world. And yes, it changes your life.

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.  -Rumi

This is the dawning of a new day and that new day will be one you’ve never experienced in all your life and never could have experienced if you’d never suffered and gone down the path of healing.

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The Chrysalis on the Verge of Greatness

 “In the sunlight of awareness,
everything becomes Sacred.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

There is no doubt that as beautiful as life can be, “living is like licking honey off a thorn,” as Louis Adamic says. It’s really a bittersweet experience and it is certainly challenging sometimes. “Challenging” might even be an understatement for some of what we have to go through. The trials, the pain, the suffering…

But, oftentimes, we have this misconception that the bad is truly negative. It feels terrible and it isn’t anything any of us would want to experience.

What if, however, what we label as “negative,” “bad,” and “ugly” can be seen as powerful agents of transformation? I have found in my life that the worse things that have happened to me— the most trying experiences, have always been the strongest forces of transformation ever.

You see the problem with life when all is hunky dory is that the imperative to rise up to new heights and experience life past our self-imposed boundaries may simply not be there. We live in a culture with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality and when things are going fine, we tend to get comfortable and yes, sometimes complacent.

That’s when the Universe comes in and presents us with a challenge. I am thoroughly convinced of this. We humans are chrysalises and if at times we become a little too comfortable in our cocoon, the Universe itself will present us with the imperative to begin the difficult journey of emerging out.

Photo by puuikibeach

The path of emergence is not an easy one. It involves change, it involves courage, it involves going into unknown territory, and it involves facing our deepest fears.

Recently I’ve been facing what feels like a stack pile of challenges.Tears have streamed down my face and I have wondered what is happening in my life. But, at the end of the day, the most important thing that anyone of us facing difficulties can do is remind ourselves that we are chrysalises. We are on the cusp of emerging into the greatness of who we are and the challenge is our key to getting there.

 “May we all learn that pain is not the end of the journey, and neither is delight. We can hold them both-indeed hold it all-at the same time, remembering that everything in these quixotic, unpredictable, unsettled and unsettling, exhilarating and heart-stirring times is a doorway to awakening in sacred world.” — Pema Chödrön

When we are able to put our challenges into context and grow from them, we begin to see the sacred nature of the experiences of all life. Life is our friend even if it shows us some tough love at times.

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