Pain, Loss and Grief: The Cycle of Life

We all suffer, we all experience pain, loss and grief that can devastate our lives.
At times, during this suffering we may become emptied to such an extent that we wonder what is left inside. The draining of our emotions and feelings, the hollow experience of emptiness can disable us making it very difficult to recover, and yet recover we must. The life journey we are on is fraught with difficulties to face, challenges to meet and unfortunately no one is exempt from this. The universality of suffering is a reality that we must all accept along with the knowledge that we have no real choice but to work with our trials and tribulations in order to transform them.

EVERYTHING IS OUR TEACHER
Often, in the intensity of our deeply felt pain ( emotional or physical ) we can start reacting in strange ways to its presence by disowning, ignoring, denying, repressing or perhaps even worse, justifying its hurt. At other times we can wrap ourselves up in the pain and consequently become so familiar with it that we comfort it as a friend almost, and this is dangerous. The pain is in our lives for a reason and so we must listen deeply to what it is trying to say, open up to its full voice and pay attention. In our busy, over active lives this is not always easy but it remains essential. A mind and body that is constantly busy, unable to rest in peace and silence will always find it difficult to heal and it is a healing that we must seek….
Recognizing that everything that enters our lives ( whether we label it ‘ good or ‘ bad ‘ ) is our teacher here to give us a life lesson, is the route to liberation.

“ Nothing that comes to you is negative. I mean nothing……you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience loss…..learn to accept it not as a curse or a punishment but as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.”

Elizabeth Kubler Ross

SUSTAINING OUR LIVES WITH HOPE
In the quest of securing a better, more fulfilled life we may have to ask ourselves the following questions: “ Have we nursed our pain and suffering for too long?” “ What benefits have we received by engaging with this restrictive mode of being? “ “ Has it served us well?” “ Has it made life better for us?”
I suspect we all know the answers here, so how do we release ourselves from the grip of negativity, this seizure of tyranny?
Understanding that there are other ways forward, other options we could pursue to make our lives more enriching opens us up to the presence of hope and this can provides us with a sustaining energy to support us in time of crisis. Hope has a dynamic of its own that can take us to a point of synchronization with higher things. It is always firmly placed in the future, never the past. It can trigger off the powers of optimism and motivation within us that can take us to new frontiers.
Recognizing this power could be the first step in our recovery. Opportunities and creative options DO move through our lives, but we may never realize their potential, may never come to develop them fully because we are too closed down emotionally through our entrapment in hopelessness. If we let go of hope, let it slip away from our lives, we effectively create a vacuum that can only be filled with negative thoughts and emotions. This will eventually erode our confidence and self – esteem preventing us from growing as fully as we should.

Once, many years ago fear gripped my heart with such intensity that I felt a deeply wounding pain, yet strangely enough hope still maintained its presence within me and eventually spoke saying: “ Look beyond all this, things change. No matter how bad you feel now you will go forward to better things. You will be not be abandoned. I will come and support you and hand you my gift.” I managed to sustain a positive belief in this sincere expression and within weeks my life changed for the better…
Hope is a flame that can burn brightly within us spreading its light in the darkest recesses and our role, indeed our obligation, is to protect it and never let it die….

EVERYTHING TO BE GAINED
If we are living our lives passionately, fully opened, fully attending then there is everything to be gained. Yes, troubles do descend to make our life difficult and painful but we do have the inner resources to transform them. Everything that comes to visit us is enriching in some way if we remain receptive and committed to the notion of overcoming – always supremely unique and individual. We are all deserving of a full, nourishing life so we must all work hard to ensure this happens knowing that any efforts we make will be supported and sustained for our ultimate benefit.

“You have a calling which exists only for you and which only you can fulfill.”

Naomi Stephan