Challenges are inevitable. Suffering is a choice.
This was the topic of a podcast I listened to recently. In it, Marie Forleo interviewed Krishnaji and Preethaji. Marie Forleo, if you’re not familiar, is an amazing entrepreneur, business and life coach. Krishnaji and Preethaji are the founders of an organization called O&O academy. So, in this interview, they talked about the difference between challenges and suffering. Life will always present you with challenges. But, suffering, they say, is a choice. Challenges are the actual situation. Suffering is your reaction to the situation. Suffering comes from your mind’s thoughts and the emotions that those thoughts evoke.
So, how can you move through life’s challenges without suffering? I’ll be upfront about this. It’s not easy. There’s the day to day challenges. Things like getting to work on time, getting your kids ready for school, or dealing with traffic. Then, there’s the bigger challenges that life throws at you. Things like the loss of a loved one, a new diagnosis, or a career change. It maybe that a completely enlightened person would be able to move through these situations without suffering. But, for the rest of us, I think it’s possible to at least minimize our suffering. To find some sort of peace and acceptance within those challenges. Possibly even find happiness and gratitude.
The first step is awareness. Recognize that you’re suffering. Acknowledge the suffering. Maybe even start a conversation with it. Your feelings are valid. They usually show up as a message. So, ask it: "Suffering, what are you hear to teach me? What’s the lesson I need to learn here?"
And then, sit still. Let the light enter those dark spaces. By asking those questions and being open to what arises, you’re letting the light in. The light of guidance and wisdom. It may be subtle as a little whisper from your inner voice. Or, it may be more obvious, like a blog post, book, or social media post that you stumble upon.
If you find it hard to sit still, then try journaling. I meditate daily, which helps me tune in. But, journaling is actually the way I most easily tune into these messages. So, if meditation seems impossible, try sitting down with a pen and paper. Write down these questions: "Suffering, what are you hear to teach me? What’s the lesson I need to learn here?"
Then, let your pen move. Free flow. Whatever comes out, let it be. And, then go back and read what you wrote. You might be surprised what you find. There may be a new perspective, a solution, or a lesson in what you wrote.
I’m interested to hear what you think of this idea of suffering being a choice. And, what you discover when you try out these practices! Leave a comment below to let me know!
I did a Facebook Live last Friday with Dr. Kim D'Eramo. Dr. D'Eramo is a physician, bestselling author of The MindBody Toolkit, and founder of the American Institute of Mind-Body Medicine. We chatted about the body's innate ability to heal itself. It's amazing! If you listen to it, your body is constantly telling you what it needs. It can be hard to hear it's signals sometimes. Other times, you can hear it (or, rather feel it through pain, stress, or fatigue), but don't know what to do about it. In this video, Dr. D'Eramo guides you through a brief practice to get in touch with what your body is feeling. She calls the process the ABC technique for:
The idea is this - send love to all the parts of your body that need healing. Partner with your body, instead of fighting with it. Know that your body is your ally, not your enemy. And, know that everything that comes up in life, be it physical or emotional pain, is an invitation to awaken. Lean into it and you may discover something far greater than you ever could have imagined!
Sending you so much love,
I hopped on a Facebook Live last Friday again with my friend, Dr. Aarti Soorya. She's an awesome functional medicine doctor based out of Michigan. If you haven't tuned in yet, we've been sharing wellness tips together on Facebook Live about once a month. We're both passionate about sleep, so that's been a topic we've been spending the most time on so far.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed her about sleep deprivation and it's effects to our health. This week, she asked me all about Ayurveda's perspectives on sleep. We talked about:
-The basics of Ayurveda
-The Ayurveda time clock and how it relates to sleep
-My top tips for getting a good night's sleep
Tune in here and leave a comment letting us know your thoughts and questions! Is there another topic you'd like to hear us talk about? Let us know that too!!
Last week was the Spring Equinox, where we experienced equal daylight and nighttime. Many cultures view the equinoxes as energetic and symbolic days. For example, the Indian holiday of Holi was last week. It's a festival where you throw powdered colors on your loved ones. It symbolizes the arrival of spring, with all its joy and colorful blooms. The Persian New Year of Nowruz also falls on the Spring Equinox. One part of this celebration is jumping over bonfires. I take it that this tradition symbolizes new beginnings. The Japanese celebrate the Equinox with an official public holiday. On this day, they celebrate Nature's blooms, especially the beautiful cherry blossoms.
So, it's a time for re-birth and new beginnings. It's a time when we plant seeds. We allow Nature's rains to wash over the soil, nurturing our seeds so that they may blossom later in the season. And, so I ask you, what seeds will you be planting this Spring? Will it be a new business idea? A new approach to your relationships? Or, seeds of patience, love, tolerance, acceptance, compassion? You're planting seeds everyday as it is, so now is an opportunity to be intentional about what you plant. What will you plant today and nourish daily? Leave a comment below to let me know! When you share your intentions, such as by leaving a comment, you let the Universe know that you're ready for this!
P.S. Watch this video to learn about Ayurveda's perspective on the transition to Spring!
It can be so frustrating when you don't get a good night's sleep! I know for me, I get anxious and irritable the next day if I don't get my 7-8 hours in!
Well, turns out, not getting enough sleep wreaks havoc in other parts of your life too. It can affect your blood sugar, cholesterol, focus, and mood.
I did a Facebook Live recently with my friend and colleague, Dr. Aarti Soorya. We talked all about sleep and what the research shows about sleep deprivation. We talked about how stress can play a role in not getting enough sleep. And, we outlined steps to recognizing if sleep (and stress) are issues for you and what you can do to remedy it.
I hope you'll check it out. I think you'll find it fascinating and helpful. Have a restful week!!