Bad things happen to good people.
I think we’ve all figured that one out by now, right?!
So, bad things are going to happen to you. Or, like me, LOTS of bad things might happen to you, over and over, with rare pause between crescendos of pain, and you may wake up one day and think, “Wow, really, is this life? Isn’t there something more than this to life?”
I’ve been asking myself that question quite frequently as of late, and I think I’ve figured out a key to finding peace and joy, even in barrages of hardship.
The question is, how to see beauty around pain? Or, as one friend said the other day, how do I see rainbows in the shitstorms? (Please excuse my language if you’re reading this, Mom and Dad, but, well, the profanity was elicited given the circumstances of late!).
I once quoted a story I heard shared by author Mark Nepo on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, and I’ll share it here again.
“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things . . . Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
I think I’m figuring out that when bad things happen, if my “well” is full, I can be more able to see the beauty around the pain, and “enlarge my sense of things.”
Your “well” is your spiritual energy input. It is the time you MAKE for yourself to be alone, to be in nature, to be creative, to write or paint, draw or bike, read or cook – whatever it is that refills your well. It is your coffee can on a string to the divine. It’s always there, but if you don’t pick it up and open a connection to allow creativity and beauty to flow into, out and through you, you will feel stifled in your life. You will feel unfulfilled. You will feel stuck. And when bad things happen, you will feel that bitter taste of being a glass, not a lake.
So, just as we must perform daily maintenance around our homes, for our bodies, etc., we must maintain our spiritual vessel daily as well. Every day you feed the dog, your kids, your spouse, but do you feed your soul – your spiritual well?!
We have to keep filling the well, so when a shitstorm comes to try and drain it, we have spiritual energy reserves. We have to have enough beauty in our lives coming in and out through self-expression, creativity, books, music, meditation, friendship and connection, and anything else that helps us feel we are touching the divine, that we can still see that beauty around the pain when it comes.
As Mothers, parents, spouses, employees, we are often sending all our energy out, out, out, out, out, and never taking time to bring energy in for ourselves. So, we’re too busy or broke to take a vacation or spend time in nature? Don’t worry, you’ll have a vacation soon enough when you get an illness and have to stay at home for a week. It’s your body’s way of saying, “NEED ENERGY INPUT!!!!”
I’m home sick right now, because I have not been filling my well, and through a lot more “bad stuff” this last couple weeks, I’ll admit, I could not see ANY rainbows in the shitstorms because I was running completely on empty.
I’m working on filling my well, right now, by writing, to you, because this is my coffee can on a string to the divine. What’s yours?
The next time you’re washing the dishes, fueling the car, packing lunches for the kids, or doing some other sort of daily maintenance on your home or life, remember your well, and please, make sure you’re taking time to fill it every day, too. You don’t even have to leave your house to open up a connection to the divine. Plan a vacation, read a book, call a friend, paint a beautiful picture, jam through a workout, climb a mountain, or just do something, to remind yourself, this is a beautiful lake…er…world, we live in, no matter what happens. 🙂
“To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly…”