Last week I spoke about suffering being inevitable and how to live joyfully in the face of it.
This week I want to share a perspective that helps me during those times of suffering: Life is a marathon...not a sprint...
What do I mean?
I will use a running analogy. When I use to run, I gravitated toward distance running rather than sprinting. I often wondered, why distance? Then one day it hit me.
I like the distance running because it feels spacious and doable...comforting almost. The focus on running distance, over speed, suits my personality and my nervous system!! To thyself be known and then be true to you.
Distance running requires the ability to see the end, no matter how far off. Because all I had to focus on was "finishing", it took the pressure off of having to do it "fast".
And what I know about myself now is that fast makes me anxious.
Distance running taught me how to let go of "how fast" in order to focus on completion instead...a valuable life lesson as it relates to living the life of our dreams.
In the process of running to finish I also learned: how to breathe, how to pace myself, and most importantly, the belief that I would make it, no matter how long it took.
There is a peace filled sweetness that washes over us when we realize we choose our beliefs. As such our beliefs have the power to uplift and inspire us. Or not depending on what beliefs you choose.
The perspective of seeing and then living life as a marathon is comforting- especially these days when everything moves too darn fast for me.
This perspective has gifted me 3 pillars that guide my life...all of which I have written about to you countless times in different ways:
1. Be Real
There will be times of suffering, it's inevitable. Best to accept this with non judgmental compassionate awareness. Then get busy living again.
2. Practice, Patience, Pacing
Nobody starts off running a marathon on their first run.
In order to succeed you must...
Practice: Quite simply making the time to do the "work" because whatever "it" is, is that important to you. The excuse, "I have no time", simply means I have not chosen to make this a priority. In which case, reassess. Life is precious and short. Time is the only commodity we don't retrieve so invest wisely. Death reminds us of this. Use death to motivate.
Patience: Understand what patience is and what it is not. True. Rome wasn't built in a day. Some things take time. We are impatient. Yet sometimes we are being slowed down for a reason, we don't yet see. And still others times we are so painfully patient. We use the excuse, "I am being patient" when the truth is, we are afraid to take the massive action we need to in order to move ahead. Hiding behind impatience or patience is still hiding. Pay attention. Discern. Decide. Life = Short.
Pacing: Since energy is our #1 asset we must learn how to pace ourselves by caring so deeply for our physical, mental and emotional health so we don't burn out.
Physical- Balance your days with effort (working/having fun) and ease (relaxation/rest)
Mental- Commit to daily meditation to cultivate mental discipline and move beyond "I can't/I quit" and all the other stories the monkey mind creates.
Emotional- Accept feelings will come and go. Some days will simply suck...Practice non-attachment to the voice that alternately says, "I hate running/work/life/! I feel awful." and also says, "I love running/work/life! I feel amazing."
3. Faith- Your faith in your ability to run the distance/live the life of your dreams must be bigger than your feelings at any one time.
Faith in your dreams translates to your belief in yourself. Your "big" faith will carry you through times of suffering when feelings are at an all time low and you want to quit.
When we adopt the view that life is a marathon and not a sprint we give ourselves permission to live slow and deep...to pace ourselves so we enjoy the journey rather than rush to an "end". We practice deepening our faith that we will make it...we give ourselves permission to believe.
And maybe when we arrive at the end- death- it will be with less sadness and regret, and a ton more joy and ease...
arriving with a sweetness that says yes, our very own dreams have come true- because we BELIEVED.
Last week I invited you release something/someone you are burdening, which no longer serves your highest destiny path so that you experience living light as a feather. Otherwise known as joyful living...
What are you noticing? I would love to know here.
This week I am called to speak about suffering. So much of my life's work of late has been about understanding and then sharing the nature of suffering.
From this reflection a deep inquiry arises:
How do we live joyfully in the face of so much suffering-- both in the global world and in our personal world?
To get an authentic, practical, action oriented "answer" I believe we must first realize, that yes, suffering is inevitable. For each and everyone of us, if we are lucky.
Suffering is a teacher. Without the lessons, we stay stuck.
What is suffering?
Not accepting the burdens we face...
Judging the burdens and our response to them.
Expending all of our energy resisting "what is" therefore depleting us of the precious energy to make necessary changes to live, love and enjoy life.
What are our burdens?
A few examples:
Abandonment, abuse, addiction, anger, anxiety, depression, illness, loneliness, loss, neglect, self hate...
Do we all face burdens?
Yes, at some point in our life, we do.
If suffering is inevitable, how do we live with joy?
Meeting ALL burdens with non-judgmental - compassionate - acceptance.
Many of us hold our burdens so tightly we allow them to confine and define us. We identify with the darker parts of our humanity (remember those shadows?) and ignore the lighter parts. We end up feeling shame, guilt, fear. We do this to ourselves and others. And "they" do it to us. It's not how we are meant to live.
Once we face the truth of our burdens, through acceptance, we free up the energy of resistance.
I share an example of acceptance and embracing the parts of ourselves we feel shame /guilt/fear about (our shadows) in my book, Reclaiming Joy on page 32 when I speak of my unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Until I accepted, nothing changed.
What do we do with this freed up energy (remember energy is our #1 asset)?
We direct it towards healing.
Healing ourselves, and in the process, helping one another heal.
We learn to view all experience, including and especially our burdens, as opportunities to awaken more fully into the life we were meant to live. In the process of awakening, we cultivate compassion, wisdom, and ultimately deep self love. Compassion, wisdom, and self-love become the foundation of our life from which all prosperity flows.
We look in the mirror and know our worth no matter if we are poor or rich, Ceo or janitor, single or married, thin or heavy, abused or enlightened, addicted or clean...whatever.
As we accept our own burdens and cultivate compassion, wisdom, and deep self love, the next step is to extend non-judgmental compassionate acceptance to others.
It is from this place of acceptance that we heal and so too the world. Beneath the facade, we are one. One heart. One love. One energy.
So, is suffering inevitable?
Are we able to experience suffering and still live in joy?
In the face of inevitable suffering, when judgment ceases, and acceptance prevails, we are able to live joyfully.
Is this an easy way to live?
Over time, it's the only way. Enough said.
Last week I invited you to consider what it means to be free. Am I free? Are you free?
What are you noticing? I would love to know here.
With the full moon yesterday, the invitation this week is for you to practice beinglight as a feather.
How do you do that?
Release release release!!
Release something/someone you are burdening, which no longer serves your highest destiny path.
If you need inspiration on what that is, make sure you have answered the questions from last week's blog, are you free. Your answers will reveal wisdom.
From Are You Free, Question # 2...
If you believe it is your circumstances (and not your mind) that bind you, I encourage you to examine why you feel this way.
As you do, notice if and where feelings of unworthiness or fear (lower vibration energy) show up in your life.
Are you holding onto something: a job, an idea, a behavior so tight because you feel unworthy of great success or the path of ease?
Perhaps you are holding onto someone: a child, lover, friend with dear life because you fear being alone.
Once you discover what you wish to release, for example, feelings of unworthiness or fear do a simple releasing ceremony.
1. Light a candle.
2. Say out loud as many times as you need to "I release all thought forms, words, actions and energies of unworthiness and/or fear".
3. When you feel "complete", say "thank you", and blow out the candle.
Repeat this process as often as needed, varying what needs to be released.