Day 1 – This Too Shall Pass
Story (Personal Story): Standing amongst boxes, piles of clothes, curious cats, distressed dogs, confused and angry children, I looked around at what was left of my married life. The empty room echoed as I absorbed the end of a relationship, the end of a home and the chaos around me. I sank to the floor, overwhelmed by the pain, my face wet with tears. I thought in that moment of the saying, “this too shall pass”. I thought of Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, who speaks of “freedom of the will”. The significance for me was to really take into my being this freedom, this knowledge that as difficult as these moments were, they would pass, realising I was free to choose my attitude. I decided right then to name the emotion, pain, feeling it in my heart: it felt like a hand squeezing my heart. Picturing the emotion of pain as a cloud overhead, I saw it passing away, as if blown by the wind. I continued to do this until the emotion lost its power, passed away with my naming and acceptance of it, by my choice to let it pass.
Story Essence: No matter how difficult a situation is, know it will pass. Everything changes. Really knowing that something painful will pass, deep in the very pores of your being, embracing this and taking it to heart, can profoundly change the way you experience difficult situations. Our ability to choose our response is our freedom. Despite limitations, how do we transcend the constraints imposed by our environments?
Specific Action: Consider your painful experiences. Keep a journal and write about how you feel over the next week. When you feel a strong emotion, name the emotion, whether it’s loneliness, embarrassment or pain. The purpose of naming your emotion is to get a clear idea of what the emotion is, because it can be hard to describe. Once you know what it is exactly, you can work to lessen it. Also, you can begin to recognise the feeling of it in your body. Now visualise the emotion as an overhead cloud, which inevitably will float away. The anguish you feel will lessen and eventually pass away.
By naming the emotion of pain, feeling it in your body, and visualising it as a cloud that passes away, you can lessen the distress of a difficult experience. Tomorrow, we will consider the benefits of finding something to live for.
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