Karma or Just Life?

Painful experiences.  We’ve all had them.  Lost love, loneliness, betrayal, death, illness….it never ends.  Pain just seems to be a part of being human.

Some people believe in karma.  That is, if you cause a painful experience you are likely to receive one back.

Personally, I’m a believer that pain is just part of life.  Painful experiences have as many causes as the individuals who experience them.

The one commonality is that there isn’t a human being out there who hasn’t experienced pain.  Right from the beginning of life a newborn baby experiences pain (circumcision, blood tests, eye drops, cold hands).  And soon after will follow some sort of emotional pain; because humans are not perfect and we are bound to hurt each other.

The “why” of painful experience is the subject of many books and debates.  But I do know that without some of these painful experiences in my own life I would not have grown.  I would be less compassionate, less able to see a bigger picture and more self-focused than I am.

Could I see that while steeped in the pain?  No.  Would I say that all painful experiences are necessary?  No.  Are some painful experiences necessary in life?  I would argue yes.  And I can see in hindsight that some of the most painful ones for me have lead to the most phenomenal growth experiences and lead me to become the person I am today.

I would love to hear your thoughts….

Living the Space

I learned a valuable life lesson this summer.

The past four months have looked like this: Trying to sell a house, rent a house, find a house, then not moving.  Giving up my job, then working.  Kids homeschooling, then going to school, then a mix of both.  Packing up the house, then unpacking into the same house. Saying goodbye, then reconnecting.

With life turning upside down so much I have definitely not been myself.  I have been more emotional, more prone to moodiness and less steady than I normally am.  In circumstances where I usually have a well of patience, I have found myself running dry.  In moments where I should be thankful and experiencing joy, I have found myself less touched.  And while I am coming out of the fog as life is settling down I am realizing that the experience of upheaval has taught me a few things about myself.

There have been many causes or stimulus prodding my feelings.  And they have at times taken me over.  I have felt surrounded and covered over at those times, unable to crawl out from the feelings that have been created by circumstance.  Or at least it felt that way.

What I have learned though, is that I have a choice.  While it is important not to deny feelings or bury them in an unhealthy way, I also have the choice on how I respond to them.  I can choose to let them sweep me away or I can choose to acknowledge them and be proactive in how I deal with them.  For feelings almost always lead to action.  And action affects other people in my life.  

So, between the stimulus, which spurns my feelings, and the action I take, there is a space. The space where I need to stop. To remind myself that it is just a feeling and feelings pass.  That if I wait an hour, or even a day, I may feel differently.

I have been working on living in the space.  Not staying stuck in the feeling nor jumping into action.  Just staying in the space in between for awhile.

And I will admit that there are times where living in the space is not enough and I need to be deliberate about pulling myself out.  This is where I will use something concrete like music.  Here is the music I have gone to lately when I’ve needed a boost out of the darkness, and a reminder that I really do have a good, good life.