“The secret of joy is the mastery of pain” ~Anais Nin
Tara Brach writes:
About twelve years ago, a number of Buddhist teachers began to share a new mindfulness tool that offers in-the-trenches support for working with intense and difficult emotions. Called RAIN (an acronym for the four steps of the process), it can be accessed in almost any place or situation. It directs our attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through confusion and stress. The steps give us somewhere to turn in a painful moment, and as we call on them more regularly, they strengthen our capacity to come home to our deepest truth. Like the clear sky and clean air after a cooling rain, this mindfulness practice brings a new openness and calm to our daily lives.
I have now taught RAIN to thousands of students, clients, and mental health professionals, adapting and expanding it into the version you’ll find in this chapter. I’ve also made it a core practice in my own life. Here are the four steps of RAIN presented in the way I’ve found most helpful:
R Recognize what is happening
A Allow life to be just as it is
I Investigate inner experience with kindness
RAIN directly de-conditions the habitual ways in which you resist your moment-to-moment experience. It doesn’t matter whether you resist “what is” by lashing out in anger, by having a cigarette, or by getting immersed in obsessive thinking. Your attempt to control the life within and around you actually cuts you off from your own heart and from this living world. RAIN begins to undo these unconscious patterns as soon as we take the first step.
Full story at: Tara Brach – Working With Difficulties.
All of your feelings are a gift.
Yet we often judge feelings as good or bad. We often try to eliminate the bad ones and feel only the good ones. However, in doing so, you end up disconnecting from the full range of your heart, self-expression, and power.
To the degree that you suppress what you might think of as the negative feelings is to the degree that you also disconnect from your capacity to fully experience the positive feelings.
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.It is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.”M. Scott Peck
Full story at: 5 Ways to Deal With Hardship and Pain in Life.
“Pain is not a sign of weakness, but bearing it alone is a choice to grow weak.” ~Lori Deschene
“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.” ~Francois Gautier
Craig Harper offers this insight:
Like many things ‘normal’ is personal. You have yours. I have mine. The guy over the road has his. And the lady reading the news has hers. We all have our own. We may not have consciously built it but it’s uniquely ours nonetheless. Sometimes our normal empowers us. And sometimes, it keeps us trapped like a miserable bird in an invisible cage. Sometimes it drags us up. And sometimes it drags us down. Sometimes it connects us to others. And sometimes it alienates us. Things like individual habits, behaviours, standards, beliefs and thinking demonstrate that there is no universal normal. Your normal beliefs won’t be mine. My normal language won’t be yours. Your normal thoughts won’t be mine. My normal expectations might scare the crap out of you. Your normal rituals might be my crazy behaviour. My normal yummy breakfast might be your bland, abnormal, tasteless crap. Your normal relaxing yoga class could be my sixty minutes of painful contortion. My normal job might be your professional nightmare. And my normal Saturday night could be your social suicide.
…and so on.
And while comparing normals is interesting stuff, the real issue here is not how our respective normals do or don’t align but rather, whether or not your normal aligns with the life you want to live, your core values and the results you want to create in your world.
Here’s what we know about normal:
1. It’s personal.
2. It’s optional.
3. It’s change-able.
4. It matters.
Do you need to create a new normal this year?
via Your New Normal.
Melody Beattie writes:
The groundwork has been laid.
Do you not see that?
Don’t you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose?
There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release.
You have been prepared. The same way a builder must first tear down and dig out the old to make way for the new, your Higher Power has been cleaning out the foundation in your life.
Have you ever watched a builder at construction? When he begins his work, it looks worse than before he began. What is old and decayed must be removed. What is insufficient or too weak to support the new structure must be removed, replaced, or reinforced. No builder who cares about his or her work would put a new surface over an insufficient support system. The foundation would give way. It would not last.
If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense. It may appear to be wasted time and effort, because we cannot see the final product yet.
But it is so important that the foundation be laid properly if the fun work, the finishing touches, is to be all that we want it to be.
This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.
Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.
Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.
It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.
Congratulations. You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. You have trusted, surrendered, and allowed your Higher Power and the Universe to heal and prepare you.
Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.
Now, you shall see the purpose.
Now, it shall all come together and make sense.
Today, I will surrender to the laying of the foundation – the groundwork – in my life. If it is time to enjoy the placement of the finishing touches, I will surrender to that, and enjoy that too. I will remember to be grateful for a Higher Power that is a Master Builder and only has my best interests in mind, creating and constructing my life. I will be grateful for my Higher Power’s care and attention to details in laying the foundation – even though I become impatient at times. I will stand in awe at the beauty of God’s finished product.
- Letting Go of Resistance (toddlohenry.com)
- Step 2 – Letting Go to a Higher Power (beingabeautifulmess.wordpress.com)
- Putting our Life on Hold (toddlohenry.com)
- Day 30: The Proof (thelivingnotebook.com)
Dave Elliott writes:
There is a huge difference between who you’ve been in the past and WHO YOU ARE at your core. Remember: the past does not dictate the future and your actions do not dictate your identity…although, on occasion, they do reveal who you’ve become. Identity is the strongest force in the human personality because we are compelled internally to be congruent with who we believe we are…and when we don’t act in alignment with those beliefs, we experience pain…
You’ve probably heard that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. So whether you’re the one who needs to change your own behavior or the one who wants someone else to change — both of you need to break the behavior loop that keeps you stuck. Think of it as adopting a little “operational flexibility.” The truth is you will never in this lifetime change someone who doesn’t want to change – but I can tell you this: when you change how you show up — other people will automatically “shift.”
After the Continental Army was driven out of New Jersey, an article titled “The American Crisis” was published in the Pennsylvania Journal, DECEMBER 23, 1776.
Written by an aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene named Thomas Paine, General Washington ordered it read to the troops:
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country…
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Thomas Paine continued:
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly….Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated…
God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction…who have so earnestly…sought to avoid the calamities of war.”
“The whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back…by a few broken forces headed by a woman, Joan of Arc.
Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen…
‘Show your faith by your works,’ that God may bless you…I thank God, that I fear not.”
Naturally, we wish to avoid pain and difficulty, but life experience and a measure of reflection show us that most of what comes our way is beyond our control. We’ll never outwit all the possibilities for trouble, even if we live to be 100 years old. We have often failed to learn from trouble because we cast ourselves in the roles of passive men and victims. We pointed outside ourselves and said, “Look at what is happening to poor me!”
When we use trouble as our teacher, we develop the art of living. We are taking a spiritual approach, using our Higher Power as our guide. We can choose today to use our difficulties for our learning and growth. We might ask, “What can I learn from this experience about myself as a man? How can I use this to strengthen myself for the future?” Serenity develops, not by eliminating life’s difficulties, but by having a reliable relationship with our Higher Power in the midst of it all.
With God as my guide, I will use whatever comes my way as an opportunity for growth.
Cynthia Belmer writes:
Sally is in a relationship with Rob, her boyfriend of two years. They love each other and share some fun together yet there is this unpredictable negative dynamic that surfaces often. It brings heartache and pain to their lives and a negative shift in how they feel about love and themselves when they are together.
Does this sound like something you have been living for a while and you are wondering if this is the new trend in relationships?
It is very normal to go through ups and downs in relationships. It is healthy to feel angry, sad sometimes as long as you come to an understanding, allow yourself to be completely vulnerable and honest so you can grow and deepen your bond with your partner.
On the opposite side, sometimes we go through an unhealthy relationship for a long time that causes a lot damage to our psyche without even being aware of what is going on.
So, here is a brief checklist that could help you identify the signs of an unhealthy dynamic you have with your partner: 14 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~Elbert Hubbard
The British passed taxes on the American colonies, stifling the economy:
1764 Sugar Act-taxing sugar, coffee, wine;
1765 Stamp Act-taxing newspapers, contracts, letters, playing cards and all printed materials; and the
1767 Townshend Acts-taxing glass, paints, paper.
Beginning in 1768, British troops quartered in American homes.
When citizens gathered in protest, March 5, 1770, British troops fired into crowd, killing five, in what was called “the Boston Massacre.”
Just three years later, in 1773, the British passed yet another tax, the “Tea Act.”
While American merchants paid taxes, British allowed the East India Tea Company to sell a half million pounds of tea in the Colonies with no taxes, giving them a monopoly by underselling American merchants.
The citizens of Boston had enough, and on DECEMBER 16, 1773, led by Samuel Adams, a band of patriots called Sons of Liberty, disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians, left the South Meeting House toward Griffin’s Wharf, boarded the ships Dartmouth, Eleanor and Beaver, and threw 342 chests of tea into the harbor.
This was called the Boston Tea Party.
The men of Marlborough, Massachusetts, declared:
“Death is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny, but may make use of such power as God has given them to recover and support their liberties…
We implore the Ruler above the skies that He would bare His arm…and let Israel go.”
Yesterday, a horrible act of evil occurred. Myself along with many Americans are saddened, heartbroken and feeling helpless. Many of us are angry, many of us are shaking our heads in disgust or simply questioning…Why? How?
With any events that involve the murder of innocent children, my righteous anger wells up?
I try to stay in these places personally, because things like this breaks my heart deeply. I also believe these break the heart of God. When his creation, the very ones that He created have fallen so deeply in this sin sick world and because of their sin act out on others.
Sin separates us ALL from God’s perfect will. Sin destroys and kills! When we as a society excuse sin as this will only effect me…that is a myth and lie. Sin harms others. We see that the issues the person who committed this horrendous act has do with mental, nevertheless, that is not excuse, when we need to leave a life of self-control and I believe every heart and every life can be redeem for a greater purpose.
I will be honest with you I wrestle with the tension why things like this happen. But here what I do know – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” Psalm 34:18. I also know that can deal with our pain and be confronted with our questions and doubts. I also know that the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, not empathizes with us but he truly understands what it is like to live in our sin sick world.
As I began praying yesterday about this tragedy, the Holy Spirit prompted me to go to Psalm 61
1 O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
2 From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
3 for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
4 Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
Another passage, I started praying through for those who are weak and feel like they have no strength to cope at this time is Isaiah 40:29 – “He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.”
I know these passages can’t erase the loss, the pain, and the events of yesterday. I do know God can give us the strength that we all need. Even in the most hopeless of times and circumstances, He can restore hope.