When I walk, I listen to podcasts and two interviews I heard recently really resonated with me. One came from a rock star and the other came from a nun. Both lessons were related and both I needed to hear. Curious? Then press play below:
(**NOTE*** in the video I refer to Pema Chodron as a monk, not a nun. My sincere apologies.)
Growing personally, professionally and spiritually is something I take seriously. I love to listen to podcasts as I exercise and one of my favorites is Super Soul Conversations with Oprah Winfrey.
The first interview was with Lady Gaga who openly talks about her physical pain and her trauma. She says she has a lot of practices to help her deal with her mental and physical health and one of the practices is "radical acceptance". She described this as totally accepting what is when it is happening. For example, when she is in terrible physical pain she radically accepts that she is in this pain in the moment. She doesn't try to fight it, or bargain with it or deny it. She accepts the pain for what it is, feels it, and works to learn from it. She says that engaging in that practice actually starts lessening the pain.
The other lesson came from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron who talks about the practice of being thankful for our toughest times in life because they can become our best teachers.
Both of those messages resonated with me because the deepest pain I have ever experienced was the death of my son Brandon, and I realized I had to practice radical acceptance in order for me to move on. Radical acceptance does not mean its ok, or that you are even happy with what is happening, but it does allow you to acknowledge that THIS is what IS in THIS moment.
When you practice radical acceptance you can then ask the next important question: "What now?"
Will you choose to move on in hope that healing will come and things will get better?
Will you stay stuck in the pain and bitterness of what has happened?
This doesn't just pertain to death either. It can be anything that causes you pain; a break up, a job loss, or illness or physical pain.
Currently I am suffering from near debilitating pain in both thumbs and my knees. Not only am feeling physical pain, I'm also frustrated, anxious and even a bit angry as this pain is holding me back from living my life in a lot of different ways. (I never knew how much I use and need my thumbs)
Radically accepting this keeps me from wallowing in asking "why me?" which can provide no acceptable answer and it allows me to ask, what now? How will I move forward? What will I need to change? What do I need to learn from this?
So what about being thankful for this pain?
Well, in the gratitude of what is happening right now, I can then ask: "what is this trying to teach me?" What do I need to take from this to move forward in a way that is most beneficial to my life and perhaps the lives of others?
Tragedies, illnesses and setbacks in life happen to all of us.
These practices help us transform what we believe is unbearable pain, into a beautiful life lesson that will help us grow into our best self.
Sherrie Dunlevy is an author, speaker and Inspirationista. For more information, to order her best selling book “How Can I Help?" or to hire Sherrie to speak at your conference, workshop or special event go to www.SherrieDunlevy.com or contact her at SherrieDunlevy@gmail.com