Pain, anxiety, and suffering are the teachers within our lives, but do we actually call them in so that we grow?
Anyone else having trouble reading the news, or going on your social media feeds? Every time I take a look at my newsfeed, I feel a deep sense of despair. 6-year-olds being arrested, Coronavirus, environmental doom, and the circus that is our current election… It’s extremely hard for me to be bombarded with the chaos of the world and not feel effected by it on one level or another.
I am a highly sensitive person. You know, the kind that cries during sappy commercials, while listening to music in my car, or sitting on my surfboard in the ocean. I am exceptionally emotional. Both the beautiful and the ugly side of life can slay me. I used to say to myself that I shouldn’t let life affect me so deeply, but it’s simply how I’m wired. I can’t change my feelings. I feel what I feel.
I am exceptionally emotional.
In the past, that used to frustrate the hell out of me. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that there are some benefits from being so emotional. In parenting, I can sense my daughter’s moods easily. In friendships, I’m hyper aware of when my friends need help. My anxiety actually makes me great in a crisis. I can take a look at the chaos in a situation and break it down into achievable parts.
I am able to feel myself so genuinely, that I can channel those feelings into writing, or painting. I also understand and appreciate art and music to a point of feeling absolute bliss or sorrow, merely by taking a look or a listen. Sometimes a deep blue sky will shake my heart with gratitude. I can’t help it.
I was having tea with a friend today who believes that we call in every experience in our lives. Every single one. Even the traumatic and horrible ones that may involve other people’s hurtful actions. I was skeptical and wanted to know more.
The more we want to learn, the more challenges that we will inevitably face.
In a nut shell (because this was not a short conversation) she said that in our lifetimes, we have a need and desire to attain a certain amount of growth and that it is the hard stuff in life that are the catalysts for that growth. The more we want to learn, the more challenges that we will inevitably face.
I find this view interesting. It would mean that I called in all of the chaos in my life. That is a rather hard pill for me to swallow, but the more she explained, the more it made sense. I do consider myself a seeker...
She went so far as to say that we have, collectively, called in the world as it is today for our own evolution. That there is purpose behind it all. Even though I feel conflicted by the theory, I must admit that I found some comfort in it. It gave meaning to pain and suffering.
My sensitive nature makes it so I am not usually able to sit idly by without questioning or considering “why”. I can’t usually feel pain and sweep it under the rug. I want to know where it comes from. I am constantly looking for what I can learn from it. If I am not searching for answers, I am sitting in pain. Knowledge is my way out.
I have always been of the mindset that I must let go of the things that I can’t control. What if the things I have perceived as not being within my control, I have actually called in? What if my sensitive nature is like a super power that grabs onto certain types of pain that, in the end, will lead me to my own development.
I agree that I learn the most from the painful situations in my life (as opposed to when everything is peachy). But can I possibly reframe my perspective on pain to this extent? Did I call in the asshole driving next to me yesterday that flipped me off twice? Did I call in my past drinking problem? How about my issues with anxiety? Today, I have so many questions.
Does this make any sense to you? In the comments, I’d love to know the first reaction you have to the idea that we could actually invite all the pain in our lives.
There is no question in my mind that the pain in our lives creates growth. But until today, I looked at it as random occurrences that I happen to run into. Instead, perhaps it is our sensitive natures hard at work, ready to embrace our next teacher. Can I embrace pain and welcome it into my life, having faith that I called it here?
I have a feeling I’m going to be thinking about this for a while. I’m also oddly looking forward to the next painful experience I have, simply to see if I can separate myself from it long enough to wonder what I needed so bad that I summoned it in the first place. Shit…maybe by typing the last sentence, I have invited it. Oh Lawd. I’ll report back on that one soon.
The photo above is Beautiful Entropy, 36”x36”, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas. It is from my Control & Chaos series which I will be offering for sale at the end of March. To get first dibs to the sale, sign up for the VIP Waitlist by CLICKING HERE.