Soooo, a couple weeks ago I sent a newsletter with the above title. In it I explained that I'm in a liminal phase, on the verge of stepping into a transformation that has been a long time in the making. (More on that soon...eek!) I wrote about how challenging it is to be in this phase--really really wanting the future to be here, the waiting, the unexpected road-blocks, all of it. And then I wrote about how we can make our pain & suffering more meaningful by simply acknowledging that it is truly the basis for our spiritual growth. Without the mud, without the pain, we cannot grow spiritually into deeper, more resilient, more empathic beings.
Today I am writing again about this because, even though I know that the messy, difficult times are the foundation for our spiritual growth, and even though I know there's no way around it ("there's no way out but through," as the saying goes), the mud is still...muddy. And right now, I want to just name that fact. Sit with it. Not try to make it pretty, not even try to make it meaningful. Because it is SO IMPORTANT to simply acknowledge our feelings, painful and otherwise, without always trying to "fix them" or transmute them or seek gratitude. We can do those things. Those things are important. But just as important is the gentle, and compassionate acknowledgement of the feeling itself. When things are hard, we can simply acknowledge to ourselves that, "This is hard. This is really, really, really hard." And just let that be enough. On the flip side, when life is hilarious, amazing, joyful, we can acknowledge that fact too and just take a moment to bask in the pleasure of laughter, awe, or even just a moment of feeling "o.k."
I invite you to try out this witnessing of yourself, during both in joyful and difficult times, and see how it feels. What do you experience when you simply allow yourself to feel?
P.S. "No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering" is the title of a book by Thich Nhat Hanh.