We have a lot to learn from pain. As brutalizing and unfortunate as this human experience can be, the potential to expand our compassion is never higher than when we emerge from intense pain. Pain cannot kill us, but it can be terrifying. If we are fortunate enough to get relief, we can catch our breath and reflect upon what it means to be a human, and suffering. From this vantage point, it's easy to see that EVERYONE takes turns hurting and getting knocked sideways, and we are not usually skillful at handing these hits. Most of us will do anything to avoid pain. It can damage relationships and cause some rather bizarre behavior.
If it's bad enough, a part of self actually dies in the process. To be "born again" may not be as simple as fundamentalists propose. This form of death is a demotion of ego and means we can live more fully. Some refer to this as an awakening or enlightenment, but labels are useless without embodiment. In the same way that faith without works is dead, what we are left with is not how many times we attended 'church', but how well we loved one another.
You cannot return to the sweet easy slumber of your relative ignorance after such an experience, no matter how viral unconsciousness is. If you need proof, try to unring a bell, and whatever you do, do not think of an elephant! Awareness is it's own religion. To be present is a gift available to all- spanning culture, age, gender, class, etc. This election cycle, some of us are properly distracted to the point of dysfunction. If we remain grounded and present, we have a chance of staying awake and maybe being productive and even helpful.
OK, so here we are. Awake. Wide awake. Everything appears different. Now what? The answer is nothing. Do nothing special. Like the saying goes, we still must chop wood, carry water. Our laundry is piling up, our homes and relationships need attention, children need constant care and our bodies remain at once vulnerable and resilient to all manner of disease, (or dis ease).
Are you still thinking of an elephant? Well then, here is an unrelated video for your viewing pleasure. Just be glad you aren't in charge of cleaning panda cages!
Before we assume we've reached some mountaintop of enlightenment, let's pause for a moment and think of all the ridiculous things we have said and done. Don't wallow in these missteps, simply accept your humanness, intending to do better going forward. You may even do something stupid or unintentional today, or tomorrow (or in a few minutes!) You may be caught up in perfectionism and quite self-righteous or proud of yourself for doing everything right. Please report back and let us know how that goes. Someone just cut me off in traffic (likely unintentional) and I flipped him the bird, after making quick assumptions about him, his luxury car and his rude behavior. I can be such a jerk. What's my excuse? I was late, lacking sleep, stressed, and preoccupied with a full bladder.
Let's at least try to give each other a break, OK? People are dying. We struggle with our own demons. Most of us are carrying a load we can barely manage, even in first world countries. Survivor is not just a television show. To take all perceived slights personally is a recipe for misery.
Do you have a few moments to meet a few teachers? A child, along with a few less than pleasant teachers, aka The 3 D's: Divorce, Disease and Death. You may have seen a few of these links, floating around social media. Everyone remarking "How cute!", "How remarkable!", or "How refreshing!" I think so too.
Sage advice from a six year old guru:
Thank you for reminding adults to be civil and kind, little one. We forget these things, especially when we are hurting or stressed out. If you run for public office, you have my vote.
Breaking up and breaking apart:
Before you tear up all those cute couple photos to make a montage for your dart board, consider the lessons in the aftermath of loss. Feel free to discard what no longer serves your higher purpose, but please put your glue gun down.
Gift of The Hit:
Thank you to our fellow Parkie, for introducing us to such a fine show of humanity as they rise above devastating circumstances.
Lessons in life, courtesy of death:
Death and taxes, people. We don't have as much time as we think. What do you want to offer the world before you die?
By the way, HAPPY FRIDAY! Thanks for reading and sharing links to this blog or liking the page for Kathleen Kiddo on facebook- my small contribution to our growing pool of resources for people living with disease and chronic pain. Cheers to thriving and not just surviving! Mirroring your love is my greatest joy in this life.