My wake-up moment at Ellen’s powerful Sip Session on Suffering was that for many of us, me included, deny our right to suffer. Who are we to suffer, when we have so much?
Ellen’s sip began with her masterful facilitation of an open exploration of the nature of suffering – what it looks like, feels like, and how it manifests in our daily lives. This created a safe place for attendees to surface their experiences of suffering without judgment. Of course, as in all Sip Sessions, this permission provoked a deluge of sharing that had a powerful effect on the whole room. The discussion exposed us to, sometimes surprising places, where suffering is lurking, or where the causes of suffering might be that are hard to see directly. Perhaps, that it’s even here to serve us?
The exercises allowed attendees to bring to the surface ways in which we allow and tolerate suffering in our lives. For me, it was clear as a bell, and ugh, difficult at first to face, but powerful having them staring me right in the face. Next, we explored how we spend the precious 168 hours we have available to us in any given week, be it sleeping, eating, working, exercising, or otherwise. This was an eye opener, as it exposed the relationship between the things we want to be doing, and how we actually spend our time. Finally, we identified the things we can’t live without. What surprised so many of us was how few things were actually on that list – how little we needed. For me, it became a way to understand my state of suffering, and to make choices in regard to the things I’m allowing that are causing suffering. Am I ok with it, and if so, is it really suffering, or something else?
I learned that suffering is real for all of us. You don’t need to argue whether you are justified in your suffering, it just is. You don’t need to judge yourself for suffering. And if you can get past that, you can get to work revealing where it lies, eliminating the causes, or re-framing how you look at the things you can’t change in healthier ways. A precious gift indeed.
To learn more about upcoming Sip Sessions click here.
Photography by Mike Marques – Arbor Light Studio
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