How to get through the scary, painful disturbances.

“Mindfulness is the handbrake for thoughtless behaviour”

In some of my previous posts, I have written about the benefits of actually going through painful experiences.

We are all of the mistaken belief that our job on the planet is to avoid pain and to pursue happiness.

I’m not so sure.

I’m thinking that the uptick in alcohol and drug use is indicative of the intensity and pace of the world today, not some reflection of the legalization of pot or social acceptance of “Shots! Shots! Shots !”

No one feels it’s their birthright to experience sadness, hurt, betrayal, anger or any of the other so called “negative feelings”.

Ya, I said birthright TO FEEL those emotions, but those emotions are part of our time on the planet and with good reason.

When we allow ourselves to feel those emotions, there is discomfort…hell, sometimes in the last couple years it really felt like my chest was gonna fold inwards because my heart ached so.

But like the Tinman said “now I KNOW I have a heart because I can feel it breaking”.

Imagine the Timman’s loss if he had gone off to get wasted with some of the less scary flying monkeys in order to avoid Dorothy’s departure.

Yes, he may have avoided the pain, temporarily, but he would have learned less about his heart and his strength, and his life experience would be, in part, just an illusion.

Emotionally tough times give us the opportunity to see what we are made of if we allow the experience “to be”, without trying to avoid it or escape from it.

And if we truly desire for these times to pass quickly, (who doesn’t) the practice I have found helpful is to LEAN INTO the pain, rather than try to distance myself from the experience and feelings.

To me, “leaning in” means sitting with the feelings, and often leaning in involves opening my heart fully to a loved one or a friend. Invariably the simple exercise of the transparently sharing my challenge provides me with the perspective needed to work through it.

There is a power in vulnerability.

When we practice this instead of trying to distance ourselves from the feelings through anger, alcohol, drugs or some other distracting behavior, we fully experience life and, more importantly, we wake ourselves to the growth and lessons that the pain is meant to expose us to.

Periods of transition or stress come with the natural desire to distance that pain but the emotional short fuses that ensue will inevitably just end up creating more pain… hence mindfulness.

A willingness to mindfully experience the process may be tough, but it certainly will be our best path to growth.