Ramblings I posted on Facebook about pain versus suffering, plus a quote from Carl Rogers on empathy that I really liked.
"When someone really hears you without passing judgement on you, without taking responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good! When I have been listened to and I have been heard, I have been able to re-perceive my world in a new way and go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively flowing streams when one is heard." Carl Rogers
Currently, I have more pain than in most of my life previously but I have less suffering than most of my life. The two, I am finding, are different things. My physical body has more pain, but my soul and my heart is starting to find ways to connect. This seems worth it. When I tried to keep myself from the world to protect my body, I did so at great cost to my heart and my soul. I kept myself safe physically, and maybe my emotions weren't as explosive, maybe my pain wasn't as intense. But my suffering was more intense because I was lonely, and isolated, and disconnected from other humans. And, quite frankly, most of the time I wasn't even okay physically, but I was trying to keep myself from further physical pain and so was isolated emotionally as well as being in physical pain. Now I am trying to reach out and find the intersection in all of that.
A quote that I like states that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. I am finding this to be true.
Suffering can be avoided if we can find a way to re-conceive or reframe our experiences. Pain is inevitable, suffering is not. The quote I posted about empathy yesterday was one way I think that suffering can be avoided. Empathy erases pain. Finding someone to share a conversation with and being open enough to receive their energy or to recognize their caring and positive energy is one. Maybe observing natural beauty, recalling positive memories ,music or things that make you laugh are others. There is no way I can control the world. There is no way I can control the way I experience the world or perceive the world. I can't control the way my body experiences the world. I can't control whether I am hungry or not most of the time, whether my body hurts or not, whether my brain feels like it's going to explode, whether or not I feel like I can breathe if it's humid, all of those things I am coming to accept, gradually, kicking or screaming, I just can't control them. But I can start to come to an understanding of being okay even despite these things. I can start to come to an understanding of some things being more important than these things. I can try to recall memories of connection with others, Hugs, laughing , jokes, memories of feeling good and try to connect with those feelings instead, as hard as it usually is.
I can try to laugh despite it all. I can try to remember I am connected with something more important than the physical body - the universe. Most days I don't have an understanding of what it means to be connected to the universe, but some days I can start to see it. I can try to find and connect with my inner strength, which I am told is there and some days even see evidence of. I can start to believe that people are safe to connect with and let myself be open, unapologetically open, to their energies good or bad knowing that true connection will be worth all the hurt that might come on the way to it. Someone had told me that she thought if I was really open with myself and not holding myself back my energy or emotions wouldn't come across so intensely or strongly or overwhelmingly. I think she is write. I think I am too afraid and too much trying to avoid trying to feel my own emotions. I have a lot of coping mechanisms which are good, but too many of them while they are great at keeping out the negative emotions and things, they keep out the positive emotions too. They are designed, unconsciously, to keep me away from the world. Because the world is perceived as scary, negative, overwhelming. But I don't WANT to be kept away from the world. I want to be part of the world. And that is going to mean taking on even more pain that I am taking on now, and being open to more, if only I can find that feeling of actual true meaningful connection with others. I don't know how it will look like, I only know it might be possible, somehow , if I keep on the path I am now. There is a great quote about you need to be uncomfortable to figure out how to be comfortable. I agree. Somehow. There are lessons in all of this.
I am just trying to figure out what they are.