How Suffering Motivates Change
Suffering can motivate us to make changes in our lives, but only when we are in touch with how we feel. A true awareness of the presence of pain in our life is difficult when we don’t have a foundation for holding the information that shows up. I pushed away my suffering for years for this very reason. I wasn’t equipped to look at the sadness. I could only deal with the symptoms, but the symptoms were becoming more and more difficult to ignore. In reflecting on those times now, I have compassion for myself. I didn’t want to feel the pain suffering brought up. It was too much. My body, my mind, and my spirit felt overloaded. I couldn’t look deeper than the symptoms of my sadness. If something made me sad, I ran from it.
But I knew that my world was shrinking. Fear was the driving force, and it was always present. I suffered from anxiety, shortness of breath, vertigo, and fear that at any time life as I knew it would be taken from me. I had frequent panic attacks. My mind would reel out of control, and I didn’t have the tools to right myself. Something had to change. This suffering lead to the next steps of my healing journey. Healing through suffering requires that we feel and validate how painful events have impacted our lives. This takes time and a steady, consistent practice of coming back to ourselves each day. Self-care offers us this.
Self-care is the act of coming back to your feelings, sensations, and personal experiences every day and assessing the information that arrives in your awareness.
Suffering was my opportunity, guide, and messenger. I didn’t understand suffering’s gift then, but now I do. It became possible through a glimmer of hope that healing was possible and from there I was able to build an infrastructure to establish a self-care protocol.
Small Steps to Big Change I wanted big changes fast, and I didn’t want to hurt anymore. I was astonished how potent my thoughts were. Once we turn toward our internal pain rather than run away from it, life changes fast.
Self-care practices work because they help you heal from the inside out. Once you commit to a self-care practice with an emphasis on meditation, you will feel life change rapidly. Self-care practices will give you an energetic foundation so you can meet your life with strength, stamina, and excitement, and not fall victim to insecurity, anxiety, avoidance, and resentment. If you are ready to feel real shifts, take these steps to heal yourself from the inside out. Open yourself to all possibilities, but start small. All it takes is a simple daily practice to help you open to healing.
Start here. Welcome to your healing path.
Set Up Your Meditation Space
- Choose a location that is private, quiet, and soothing. Adjust the temperature to your comfort level. If this isn’t possible, wear appropriate clothes so you can let go of temperature concerns. Take care of this space. Keep it tidy and welcoming for your return each day.
- Put objects around you that help you feel safe and comforted (such as photos, symbols of hope, stones, objects that make you smile).
- Use a natural fiber wool or cotton blanket or sheepskin if you have one. You might also want to have an additional blanket available to wrap around yourself. Comfort is essential. Bring in a meditation pillow that allows you to feel relaxed in your space.
Make Yourself Comfortable
- Sit on the ground in a position that allows your spine the ability to lengthen. Alternatively, sit in a chair that allows your feet to rest on the ground. Use whatever pillows or props you need to make this position as comfortable as possible.
- Sit tall and feel the crown of your head reaching toward the sky.
- Tip your chin just enough to lengthen the back of your neck so your breath can flow freely.
- Place your hands on your belly and breathe as you normally breathe. Notice: Is your belly pulling in when you take a breath or is it pushing out? If your belly pulls in on the inhale, your breath will be shallow, only letting the air enter the upper part of your lungs. When your belly expands on the inhale, your lungs are flooded with fresh air, blowing up like a balloon.
- Keep your hands on your belly as you practice. Inhale. Feel your body expand, starting with your chest and stretching all the way to your belly. If your breath doesn’t make it to your belly at first, don’t worry. Allow it to go where it feels most natural, and work toward moving it deeper into your body.
- Exhale. Feel your body contract from your belly up to your chest. Let all the air from your lungs release.
- Start again and continue for 3 minutes.
- Lie down in your meditation space for 3 minutes.
- Close your practice with a statement of gratitude, I commit time and energy to this healing practice and feel so grateful for all it will bring to my life.
Over time, this practice will soothe, heal, and strengthen you. You will start to feel your spirit grow wiser, more generous, and more expansive. It’s not miraculous. It’s not an overnight success. It will take commitment and dedication. Slow and steady hard work will create a nurturing self-care practice.
Every challenging day is now an opportunity to grow through difficulty, an investment in your future. And soon you’ll find yourself calmer and more positive as you greet the world each day.
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