Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's so Great About Suffering?

I talk to a lot of women who are dissatisfied. I notice a very interesting thing about their dissatisfaction - even when given the opportunity to resolve it, there is resistance and a tendency to refuse the healing action. Why in the world wouldn't they take the opportunity to fix things? Do they like their misery?

As with most things here, I can comment from my own experience. Craig is halfway through a three week trip to Ireland. That means I am the on-duty single parent 24/7. That means I'm getting tired. Even more than usual, I crave quiet, peaceful downtime to rejuvenate and replenish my resources.

Now, here's the goofy part. Each night the kids are in bed around 8 pm. I usually get to sleep around 10 or so. That means, I have a quiet house to myself for two hours a day.

What, you might ask, have I been doing with my time of stillness and solitude? Well, up until a couple nights ago, I was filling it up to the brim with frantic activity and jarring noise. I was cleaning, picking up toys, sorting, organizing and getting things done at a rapid pace. The tv's background noise filled the space.

"Oh, poor me. I'm so tired. If only I could find a few minutes to myself. When or when will I ever get some peace and quiet?" I lamented.

Uhmmmm, Catherine?

Oohhh, now I get it. I had been gifted the solution to my problems and I immediately dismissed it and preferred to complain and suffer instead.

What is it that prevented me from seeing the solution and making the most of it? As my sarcastic tone above hints, I think it has a lot to do with the benefits (and I use the term loosely) of being a martyr.

Also, I think it ties into my discomfort with my own power. As Nelson Mandela puts it, I am more comfortable playing small.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

(There is some debate over who said the above, but I think the above speech by Nelson Mandela was originally written by Marianne Williamson.)

For two nights in a row, I have slowed for 30 minutes and it has been beautiful, refreshing and empowering. I have a problem (being tired), I have the solution (peaceful, alone time) and, now, I have the desire to remedy it.

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