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pain

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PAIN

Yesterday I called my business partner (sister) because our reviews on Amazon for our Mala Jewelry Line had suddenly dropped. In the business of Amazon that basically means your product sales will drastically dip. As I began to investigate, somebody had bought different bracelets and left bad reviews on each listing saying the exact same thing “DON’T BUY- it broke”. I’m not saying that elastic bracelets are unbreakable but in order for them to break you either have to pull really hard, get it stuck somewhere or wear it long enough until it’s the normal wear and tear (she had only recently bought the bracelets) and it could have happened to one but all of them? Sorry, that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

I always like reading the profile of the person who leaves a bad review. I’m not sure why I feel the need to know the person. I like to imagine how they look and what they are into. Every single review she had written was a complaint. Most people feel the need to share a bad experience and not necessarily a good experience, that’s human nature. But I find it very interesting that in my past research people that have left extremely poor reviews on our products leave extremely bad reviews on every product they purchase. And this really got me thinking- How much pain are people in.

We go through life focusing on our individual pain probably if you are not a narcissist on the pain of people you love - 5 people maybe 10 if you are really lucky. But we don’t consider the pain of every person that walks this earth.  The First Noble Truth usually is translated "life is suffering." but we interpret this as “I am suffering” My sales just dropped because of this witch that’s all I could think about. Not for a second did I consider that witch must be going through something hard to feel the need to leave so many bad reviews.

I’m not saying that we should justify people that don’t act in the best of ways. I’m saying that when people act poorly (sometimes that people are us) they are doing it from a place of pain and if we forget we end up just blaming others and taking on way more than we need. 

When I was 12 I had a “friend” that seemed to be out to get me. Spice Girls was always playing in the background music and the highlight of my life was walking the mall with my friends wearing cheap jewelry and colored sunglasses (we looked as ridiculous as it sounds) My "friend" would invite everybody to her house except me, her parents would host trips and I was the only friend that didn’t get invited (I considered maybe it was my smell or that my parents didn’t have as much money) I cried myself to sleep many nights feeling like an outsider and thinking something was wrong with me. Eventually, I changed schools and found other “friends” who funny enough ended up doing similar things.

But it wasn’t until much later in life when I reconnected with this girl. That I could see how much pain she was in. Her life seemed so perfect on the outside but she was having anxiety attacks, had never been in a relationship, barely had any friends, her mother had the ability to make her feel like she was less ALL the time. I’m sure that was only the tip of the iceberg.

I don’t feel better that she was (and still is) suffering but it does allow me to understand that her suffering has nothing to do with me and that the pain she inflicted was only coming from her pain and this is true for every human being. We are not compelled to hurt others when we feel connected and loved. We do this out of an empty space inside of us.

Some people are better at pretending that their space is not empty and that there is no pain in their hearts but I don’t think anybody can consciously hurt others if they are truly whole and happy.

So my advice- let’s recognize the suffering of others as we recognize our own. Let’s not take on more pain than need it by adding the drama and victimhood of our minds.

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When we are served shit.

Sculpture by Jose Sacal

Sculpture by Jose Sacal

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional”

At some point in our lives, we get served what we didn’t order. How we connect and react is the only thing that's in our hands. Let me share with you a story.

My uncle has recently diagnosed with ALS a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the body. The disease began in the tongue so he can no longer speak or eat and this is only the beginning of a long journey.

This man is more than words could ever describe he is a sculptor, artist, family man, world traveler and somebody I personally admire. On Friday I sat next to him, he has an iPad and writes short notes. I was about to fall apart, I could barely hold my tears. That night I didn't sleep thinking what I could do, how could I alleviate the pain that they are going through and suddenly it hit me. 

Nothing. 

I could do nothing and that is one of the most frustrating feelings. When we have nothing to do or give to the people we love. It feels as if we are given a plate full of shit when we ordered the fillet mignon and our reaction is to say- FUCK No! Why me? why him? This isn't fair! How can I fix this?!? Tell me what to do!! NO! NO! NO!

And the angrier we get, as the frustration raises and we push the sadness away. The deeper we dive our head into the shit and we can stay there even get used to the smell, feeling sorry for ourselves for others, swimming in a sea of despair. Living our lives trying to change the situation which is by definition suffering.

Or

We can get our head out of the shit. Creating space for the sadness as well as the joys, for the filet mignons we ate, for the family we created, the words we spoke, the kisses and laughter, not hanging on to memories but seeing our life as a mural.

We can become more compassionate for the pain of others, without feeling sorry for them. We can understand “oneness” by letting go of our arrogance and self-absorption.

Life has changed. No, this is not what we asked for but let's get over that part. So we can rejoice in the little things, we can appreciate life in a different way, find comfort in the simplicity, in the love that surrounds us. We can turn it around, we can use this shit as fertilizer to grow in new ways. 

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Ironing the Pain

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Ironing the Pain

Most people I know are going through a very hard time. If you go on social media all you can read about is basically hate, shock and some funny memes along the way. People are so concerned about what will happen to the world and its not that I don’t feel this despair. I do with all my heart. But there is more than enough sadness, shock and hate in the world right know. So it is only fair that I join the “light team”

A yoga teacher once said “Asana is about spreading awareness through the body” meaning that a pose is never just about the legs or the arms, it’s about feeling and being aware of every inch of your body (that’s where the meditation kicks in). If something is hurting or uncomfortable you look into it, you understand it and then you focus on everything that does work, everything that feels good in the body. It’s like ironing a shirt, you don’t just leave the hot iron over the wrinkle you have to move it.

This same theory applies outside the body. When you feel pain or sadness over a situation in your life you connect with things outside your life, outside your circle, you connect with the wonders of nature, you place your curiosity on the moon and the stars, on the ocean and the birds. You bring your awareness to what is infinite. You iron your despair with love and gratitude. 

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