Sunday, November 1, 2009

Facing Personal Suffering

Here is a simple process to follow to awaken to your personal suffering, to experience it fully and to allow it to transform you into a wounded healer:

1. Identify a situation, a problem, an issue, a relationship, a challenge or stressor that triggers any emotional pain or charge for you.

2. List all the key words that describe what it is that you do not like about the situation, the person or the issue. What is it that you find most unacceptable? What are you resisting or rejecting? Allow yourself to be completely judgmental and blaming. Do not censor yourself. What is it that triggers or upsets you the most? At this stage in the process allow yourself to rant and rave as much as you want. But don't get stuck here !

3. When you are ready, let go of focusing on the outside situation for awhile and go inside to where you feel the impact of this issue in your bodily felt sensations. Allow yourself to simply attend to the energetic flow of emotional reactivity inside yourself without fighting it. What are the deep feelings stirred up in you by this outer circumstance? Take a moment to observe and notice the internal pain that comes up for you in response to this situation. Underneath your resistance to this situation, your rejection of the way it is, pay attention to and describe the layers of feelings - anger, fear and grief - that you would prefer not to be experiencing. Give yourself some space simply to acknowledge your inner experience without contracting against it.

4.Imagine for a moment that you are able to make complete peace with this situation without having to change or control anything about this situation or the persons involved. Imagine that you are able to completely accept and experience all your difficult, painful feelings about the situation without denying, suppressing or avoiding them, but simply by letting them be without resistance. What would life be like for you if you could simply allow yourself to experience your experience without struggling against it? Imagine that you are able to navigate this deep surrender to the way life is presently unfolding for you, and that it is safe to let yourself feel whatever is there.

5. Take a moment right now to invite into your awareness the difficult feelings you would prefer to avoid for all eternity and instead cultivate an unconditional acceptance of them as they are. Take a seat in the eye of the hurricane and allow all your unwanted feelings and bodily sensations to simply be as they are from moment to moment without fighting them in any way. Provide a compassionate holding environment for your inner experience. Let yourself be the way you are in the deepest possible way. Be deeply kind to yourself for a change. Stop the inner violence against your own human experience. Let yourself breathe and hold yourself with invincible tenderness. Notice both your suffering and your resistance to suffering. Hold it all with your Big Heart. As the feelings shift and integrate, pay attention to what you are being shown, what lessons you are learning, what wisdom you are gaining.

6. Ask the Divine from your heart for the grace and guidance to completely experience without resistance your unprocessed, undigested pain and thereby make peace with yourself, with others and with life as it is.

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