I had coffee with my lovely friend Kathleen Tennant today, and we were talking about life and all the things girlfriends talk about when they get together. And this thought popped out of my mouth, and I thought, I have to make some art with that. Because it is so true. We all suffer. No one gets a free pass through life. That person who looks like she has it so easy and seems to have it all together, she has her shit too. We all do.
So the only choice we have is what we do with it. We can choose to let it taint us, make us bitter and cruel, or we can allow it to soften us, opening our hearts like these spring blossoms. We can choose to follow the Buddhist practice of tonglen, breathing in the suffering and breathing out loving kindness. When we welcome and accept our own suffering, we are more compassionate to the suffering of others. And then instead of closing ourselves off, we open and feel that we are all connected in this. We are all here in the shit some days.
I am trying to take this practice on right now. Allowing all the waves of sadness to come over me, welcoming what they have to offer. And when I do that, instead of a crushing weight bearing down on me, I feel lifted up, emotions flowing through me and then out, leaving me cleansed. It is the gift of the suffering, this chance to break open without breaking down. I have a lot to learn from it.