What can you sit with?

Young child and teddy bear sitting together

“Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace—disappointment in all its many forms—and let it open me?” This is the trick.” ~Pema Chödrön

How well are you able to sit with your own suffering? What about the suffering of others? The only way to heal our pain is by going through it, and that means being able to sit with it, open to it, and touch its very center. We need to be able to do that for ourselves and accompany others as they do the same, without rushing to make it all go away. This may be the hardest challenge most of us will ever face.

The value of pruning

green buds on a tree branch

“No one likes the process of pruning and the pain of loss, but fruit only grows on new wood.” ~Leonard Sweet

I hate letting go of things or relationships or dreams … or just about anything else. Loss is painful and scary.

But I’ve also noticed that after I allow myself to prune that which is no longer helpful in my life and let go of what needs to be released, I inevitably find more space for growth and new opportunities for expansion.

Seeing that pattern re-appear so consistently time after time has begun to loosen my death grip on what I currently have so I can let go with more grace and ease over time.

Broken down or broken open

broken chair sitting in fallen leaves

“When you’re broken, you need to be reborn. Do not fight the pain; embrace it. Accept it. Live it.” ~Caitlin Cooper

All of us get our hearts broken at some point or another in this life. That’s inevitable. But we get to choose how we respond.

We can allow the pain to break us down by making us smaller as we run from that part of life’s experience, or we can allow the pain to break us open to be reborn into ever more expansive versions of ourselves by fully embracing the experience and using it to grow.

Which do you choose?

Attention is an act of connection

close up of ladybug climbing blade of grass

“The reward for attention is always healing. It may begin as the healing of a particular pain—the lost lover, the sickly child, the shattered dream. But what is healed, finally, is the pain that underlies all pain: the pain that we are all, as Rilke puts it, ‘unutterably alone.’ More than anything else, attention is an act of connection.” ~Julia Cameron

The pain that underlies all other pain is the pain of existential loneliness. When we receive attention from another (and often even true attention from ourselves), that underlying pain finds ease in the resulting connection, and that is always healing.

How can you pay true attention to yourself and to those around you today to bring healing into your world?