People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh, Buddhist monk, teacher, author and poet now based in France.
A buddy of mine (thanks, Don) posted this quotation as his status on Facebook yesterday, and I have to say that I love it. There have been times that I chose to hold on to my own suffering because I found comfort in the familiar, even when the familiar created excruciating pain for me.
This last Easter, I broke a nearly 20 year cycle of suffering. Many years ago when I served as a crisis counselor, I made a judgment that returned two three-year old twins to home for an overnight visit with their father for the Easter holiday. The father got drunk that night, so drunk that he didn’t provide adequate supervision. One of his children fell out of an upstairs window to his death.
I blamed myself. For nearly 20 years, I held on to the believe that I had caused the death of that small boy. And like clockwork, I would slip into a dark place of grief each year as Easter approached.
My actions came out of habit. I used the anniversary of that child’s death as a time to bring into my recall all of the parents who harmed the kids I tried to save. And I drove myself crazy.
This last year, I finally confronted it and saw it for what it was: a macabre celebration of suffering.
Be honest: do you hold on to anger or grief or another form of suffering because you’ve made holding on to your suffering a habit?
Another friend (thanks, Chris) shared this timely quote:
If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. ~ Eckhart Tolle
If you find yourself suffering, you aren’t powerless. Get away from it, convert it into something less destructive, or embrace it. You can break the cycle if you are willing.
So how about it? Got something you’re ready to let go of today?