Life: It’s a Chronic Condition

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My first blog, post-cancer treatment and prophylactic double mastectomy with reconstruction, was a call to find Joy in the midst of Pain. Well, here’s yet another way to look at living a full life: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.  You may beg to differ given the global state of affairs and what seems to be the unceasing deluge of seen and unseen Pain and Suffering . I am not arguing that truth. What I am suggesting is to recognize and embrace what little control we really have over life’s circumstances. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. To choose not to suffer can be incredibly difficult. I, by no means, want to convey that all you need to do is try the power of positive thinking and “poof”, no more suffering. It’s not that easy.

Yet, what other options do we have in this thing called “life”? Take it or leave it, we are the only animals that are capable of insight. We have the ability to be self-aware. This is a blessing and a curse. Our perception of our experiences defines our interpretation of our experiences. Choosing to interpret pain as suffering is natural. Choosing to interpret pain as anything other than suffering takes work. Researchers have studied the resilience of those who have survived unimaginable trauma. They are resilient because they do not view themselves as a victim of their circumstances. Assigning blame for what happened may bring temporary relief. It distracts us from looking at ourselves. Accepting what “is” requires coming to peace with the reality of the situation. It’s only then can we choose to suffer or survive.

One thought on “Life: It’s a Chronic Condition

  1. Lee

    Dearest Leah: Gosh… I’ve missed your words of wisdom and insight.  Thanks for your “wonder-filled” posts.  This one and your first one… touched me on a soulful-level.  I was not aware of the journey you’ve been on.  I’m very glad you’re back in the “blog saddle” again… loads of appreciation to you for your sharing so deeply and profoundly.  You are an absolute inspiration. Your post today, also brought to mind one of my favorite quotes from Viktor Frankl (author of “Search for Meaning”)… “The ultimate freedom we have is the attitude by which we choose to relate to our experiences.”  And, a particular metaphor popped up for me as well… as I ride this train of thought.  It’s from Rick Hanson’s book “(The Practical Neuroscience of) Buddha’s Brain” where he writes about the idea of the “first and second dart”.  Here’s an excerpt from the book:  “inescapable physical or mental discomfort is the “first dart” of existence… our reactions are the “second darts”, the ones we throw ourselves… second darts often trigger more darts…” Thanks again Leah… for sharing your delicious food for thought. Much love and gratitude to you,Elizabeth “Lee” Olton ~ LOVE ~ SERVE ~ UPLIFT ~ ENJOY                                                              ~elo  From: Find the Good To: swapthoughts@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:28 AM Subject: [New post] Life: It’s a Chronic Condition #yiv0573200988 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0573200988 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0573200988 a.yiv0573200988primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0573200988 a.yiv0573200988primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0573200988 a.yiv0573200988primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0573200988 a.yiv0573200988primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0573200988 WordPress.com | leahabarrett posted: “My first blog, post-cancer treatment and prophylactic double mastectomy with reconstruction, was a call to find Joy in the midst of Pain. Well, here’s yet another way to look at living a full life: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.  You may beg” | |

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