Suffer, Die, and Rise Again!

By Nancy Pollard, LCSW, LLC
Nancy Pollard

As Easter approaches, I’ve been considering the significance of “suffer, die, and rise again.”  Regardless of religious persuasion, it occurred to me that throughout life we experience many cycles of suffering, dying, and rising again; a metaphor for the ups and downs of life.

Consider suffering and dying.  When a relationship ends, we can suffer intensely and feel like we are going to die from a broken heart.  Or our marriage fails and we face divorce.  Or we try to get pregnant and miscarry, leaving us believing we will never conceive a child of our own.  We get laid off from work; the big deal we thought was going to close falls through and our rent check is due; we retire and think we are going to live a perfect and free life only to have an illness prevail.  We all have our own myriads of suffering.  When our hopes and dreams are shattered, we fall under a dark cloud and we wonder if we will ever recover and be okay again. 

Deep emotional pain is gut wrenching, an emptiness that leaves you feeling like you’ve collapsed and sunk into a bottom of a deep well.  You are barely dog paddling to keep afloat.  You look up and even the light that was there begins to fade.  You hurt so deeply, you think that you cannot bear it.

You are certain that when it is morning, the sun will not come up, then you are shocked and angry that the world will not stop!  You feel it is unfair that bill collectors still want to get paid, professors still require term papers submitted on time, bosses expect you to not be late for work and to carry on as if your heart is not breaking.

Think about the last time you were suffering and believed you or your dreams were dying:

  • Was it because life took an unwanted turn?
  • Did someone end the relationship and leave you before you left them?
  • Was your dream shattered?
  • Was your perfect picture broken?
  • Did you try to hold on, to not give up or quit, to no avail?
  • Was your ego shouting and insisting, “MY will be done!  I want MY life to look THIS way!”

Sometimes I wonder, is all suffering about expectations and control?  Do we program ourselves to think that we are in control and know exactly how our life should look?  What is the right balance between setting goals, creating intentions, and committing to our dreams?  When is the right time to give up, to let go?  The “Course in Miracles” states, “pain is a misperception."  What if this is true?  What if there is another interpretation of the situation?  What if we are seeing a situation incorrectly?

Yes, we have all suffered and felt dead inside, but do we know how to rise again?  After we have struggled and put enormous effort into something and still no results, we must let go. We must go on, adjust, shift and accept.

 Sometimes we need to get out of our own way, let life unfold, and ask:

  • What is the lesson I am supposed to be learning? 
  • What is the truth of the situation?
  • What is the gift I am not seeing?

At this moment, we rise by letting go and surrendering to a higher power, God, Buddha, the universe.   Letting go of the marriage, the dream, the promotion, the home, the picture of how life should look.  When we do, magic sets in.  The heaviness begins to lift, and, at our darkest hour, miracles occur.  When we shift our attention away from the suffering and dying and focus on a ‘new rising,’ the glass switches from half empty to half full.

It is at that moment that:

  • Ending a relationship seems okay and even an opportunity
  • Losing the job turns out to be a blessing in disguise
  • Losing a loved one shifts from how you will never see them again to the gift of having had them in your life at all

We need to trust that life is in order and there is a bigger plan for us.  When we evolve and grow, the downtime grows shorter and suffering is eased.  We are rarely upset for the reason we think we are.  Pain is a misperception.  When we learn to be more objective in our suffering, observing our pain but not becoming it, we have a chance to rise again a bigger and wiser soul.

This Easter and spring season, reflect upon the concept of suffering, dying, and rising again.  Trust this process and attempt to go with the flow, knowing that, whatever your pain or emotional upset, “this too shall pass.”  You will be richer on the other side.  At this moment, the ego crumbles and love sets in.  Keep the faith - life is good and you are meant to flourish and bloom like the daffodils in spring, renewed again.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

Just a little Mountain Therapy

Copyright © 2016 Nancy Pollard



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