Posts Tagged‘pain’

‘Tis the Season to Do All Stuff We Will Regret In January, Falalala Crap, Lala, Lalaa

It’s mid-October, and I’ve already managed to run over a Christmas display with my shopping cart at the grocery store. Most of me believes it was an accident, yet there is a part of me that felt something twisted and naughty toward the cardboard Santa I flattened. I love the holidays, don’t misunderstand; but I also realize that for many, holidays are fraught with repressed emotion, easily activated by the traditions of the past. A special holiday song, a scent, or even a cardboard Santa can trigger the hard stuff, particularly if we’ve experienced a recent loss or are living with unaddressed emotional pain. The part of me that felt a tingly, pleased sensation after my encounter…

Getting “Unstuck”

One of the hardest emails I ever wrote was to a celebrity named Martha Beck. Google her. She has at least 3 degrees from Harvard and is an amazing self-help guru. It went something like this: “Dear Martha, I am stuck….”  I know, I know, super profound. It was agonizing and embarrassing to write someone—especially a celebrity—to ask for help when I did not know what the problem was.  “Stuck” is the word a three-year-old uses when she discovers that she cannot climb off the toilet without assistance. I was 32 and had no words for what was wrong with me. TERRIFYING.…

The Spiritual Purpose of Empathy–PART 2

Empathy is one practice of an awakening being. When others suffer and we align without judgement or anger, we move into a deeper understanding of the universe and our relationships. We are living and functioning at a different level than when we were angry and unconscious. We feel freer, more peaceful, and less reactive in our relationships. Yet the practice of empathy teaches us something difficult. There are people in pain everywhere and we are almost drawn to them. The universal desire to empathize with others as you recognize suffering in them is designed to help you discover and resolve your own pain. Every emotion (or tiny urge to help) you…

SYMPATHY, SCHMIMPATHY…

After the ten-thousandth time of bemoaning a well-trodden problem, my husband simply said, “When are you going to be ready to let that go?” In a remarkable moment for my stubborn mind, I heard something completely new and totally unexpected, “Dana, your story is a story that is comfortable and keeps you stuck—right where you like it. Your trench is dark and deep, and now you’ve happily nested in there.” Only it wasn’t a nest, it was the Taj Mahal of dark stories and anger that I was certain was responsible for my unhappiness. I’ve moved more times than most people would consider sane. Yes, moving…

The High Price of Self-Denial

“Dare Greatly,” “Dream Big,” “Just Do It.” These are the war cries of our times. I know this because I have all the throw pillows, athletic gear, and books. These ideas are powerful and they resonate deeply in many of us. Yet before we can even finish sewing the flag and assembling the marching band for battle, we become crippled by the real problem—we don’t know the thing, we are to just do; we don’t know what the big daring dream is. Dammit. How am I so sure this is the fundamental issue? Because if we really knew what we were here to do, we would just be doing it.…

PAIN WHISPERING 101

My dad used to tell this joke every time he would go on a new health kick. He would begin a diet of some sort, clearly miserable and hungry, telling everyone in earshot, “I don’t know if I’m going to live any longer by doing this, but it’s going to feel like it.” Acutely aware of his suffering, he would be “healthy,” albeit starving. Most of us are unaware of our body except when it is in pain. Because of this phenomenon, we essentially define our aliveness through the vehicle of pain. We eat when we are hungry, and hungry is uncomfortable, painful. See where I’m going? Or is…

Genius, “Timothy Hutton Pain,” and Oprah

Boylston Street, circa 1990. Me sitting in an exceedingly small, ultra fancy, hair salon getting highlights. I was full-on miserable trapped beneath a large black cape with hundreds of pieces of foil in my hair. From the ammonia and other chemicals, I smelled like an industrial accident. My eyes burned so badly that they were watering causing an epic mascara tragedy—black streaks all over my pasty white winter skin. I had a weird Johnny Depp anti-hero thing going on. Did I yet mention that the space was tiny? As if my worst nightmare was coming true, in walks the most amazing human. Something extraordinary and magical about him. Yes, very good-looking, but there was something…