If you’ve read much of my blog, you know I embody just a bit of drama. My life lessons loom large, my sorrows great, my joy overwhelming – at least in my own mind. I’ve had a fair amount of training in learning from suffering – growing up with an abusive, mentally ill father, being raised in the Catholic church. Suffering and drama have been themes in my life, and I’ve prided myself on being willing to walk through them and learn the lessons in front of me, even when painful. I give myself credit for it, and I have believed my ability to endure is one of my greatest strengths. It’s been another challenging week for me, and I’ve again slogged through it with determination. I could easily write a post about the various things I’ve learned through the muck. Instead, this post will be about the more important ‘lesson’; this method of learning is rather lame. Why put myself through this? Why not choose to learn instead from a path of ease?
Maybe you, like me, have taken pride in being willing to endure and trudge through anything life throws at you, and learn the important lessons that come with that. For me, I think there is something else going on under that. Yes, I have been willing to show up and learn. But I think there is a part of me that has been staying in the struggle because I don’t think I deserve anything better. This small voice inside of me says that I’m worthless, and that of course life will be filled with struggle and pain. This part of me has been hoping that somehow, if I struggle through enough, I will have earned the right to be happy.
I think our culture reinforces this idea of suffering as a valuable pastime. We get attention and sympathy when we are enduring trials. We get credit for showing up for our painful life lessons. We get to live out the hero’s saga, in a tiny way, in our own struggles. We connect with each other through our shared pain. Those that are having a good time in their lives get less attention, less room to speak. I had a wonderful multiple hour call with six of my dearest friends today, and we spent probably half of it on my dramatic saga. I wanted to share it with them, but I now have a fair amount of regret about doing so. I wanted also to have space to hear all the wonderful things that are happening in their lives. I wanted to share with them this final ‘point’ that I never managed to make – I feel supported by God/the Universe in a way that I never have before. I believe, for the first time, that it’s supposed to be easy. Why didn’t I start there? Why not skip all the details of the trudge-fest and just jump to that point, leaving more room to share our triumphs?
Part of the reason is that I love telling stories, especially when I get to appear in a halfway heroic light. That’s exciting! I get credit for my endurance, and I get to hear loved ones telling me that I am worthwhile, and that I’ve made it through yet another trial. I believe that the most heroic choice I can make is to decide, right now, that I am worthwhile and have the right to be happy. I choose to learn through joy, delight, and ease. I choose to learn to live within the flow of life. When it feels like I’m struggling against something, I can choose to walk away.
Does this mean I think all of life will be filled with hearts and flowers and soon unicorns will appear? No. (Though, if you’re listening, God, that would work for me. I’ve always loved unicorns.) Part of being human is facing challenges, and sometimes the only way to grow is through trial. The choice I’m making today is to not seek it out; I’m firing suffering and drama as my primary teachers. I want to see who I will be as someone surrendered to the flow of life’s sweetness. I’m inviting you to join me.