Finding Purpose When Life Sucks

Helen Keller quiet character

I got some pretty lousy news today that threw me for a loop. It made me angry and scared and sad and overwhelmed. Then, as I began to calm down, I started thinking it could have been so much worse. I started seeing all the things to be grateful for in the situation. Soon I shifted from feeling like life had just sideswiped me, to recognizing that I had been given an opportunity.

We often go through life expecting that everything is supposed to go to plan, be happy and without problems or difficulties. No one expects to have relationships problems, to be sick, to lose a job, to have an accident or for their car to break down. Yet these are fairly normal occurrences in the course of life. Often things far worse than these happen. The loss of a home, a spouse or a child. Why do we think life is supposed to be smooth? How could we learn and grow without lessons and tests?

True, we have no need to seek out struggle and hardship, but there is also no reason to assume that it should never be a part of life. One force pushing against another creates great things. Entire canyons are created because of eons of water flowing through, creating resistance against the rock, slowly carving out beauty and grandeur. Diamonds are formed through intense pressure on lumps of coal.

Sometimes these things that life gives us are nothing more than information about what isn’t working so well in our lives. We can listen and correct course or ignore it and it will continue to alert us in new ways until we recognize what we need to see. Guideposts are everywhere. In our bodies, in the environment, in our interactions with others and the way they make us feel. Our intuition speaks to us all the time, as well. Most of us don’t listen. We’ve been taught not to believe.

But here’s what I started thinking about my bad news. I learned about it in enough time to do something proactive. I listened to my intuition repeatedly and that’s what led me to learn about it that soon. I am so thankful for this Divine gift that we are all given. I am thankful I pay attention to mine more often than I used to. I also recognize that this is a signal. It is a chance for me to open my heart and my mind to learn more about the life I am living and the body I am living in. Am I expressing it, my body and my life, in the best way I can? Am I serving the highest good? Am I happy? What does that mean? Am I free to serve fully or am I holding back?

Every bump in the road is a chance to examine the life we are living. Big bump or small, it doesn’t matter. It may be your lesson, or a lesson you are participating in for someone else. Keep your heart and mind open to feel and see all you can. These bumps aren’t happening to you. They are happening for you. Even the harshest ones are for a reason. If you can’t see that, begin with gratitude.

Gratitude for the experience, even if it sucks. Gratitude that you are alive to have it. Gratitude that you are able to feel fully enough to know that it sucks this bad. Gratitude that it’s not worse. A wise friend of mine, a Holocaust survivor who lived in a concentration camp for years, was fond of informing me that it could always be worse. If the world is still spinning and you are alive, it’s true. It could be worse and it will eventually get better. As much as it sucks, if you really need a gratitude starting point, start there. Focusing on gratitude will help shift the focus off of “why is this happening to me?” towards “how can I see the purpose in this?” That shift changes everything.

Healing and Releasing Painful Memories

Painful memoriesSomething I have personally learned is that when people are hurt badly by an experience or a person they tend to cling to it and even begin to identify themselves with that pain and that experience to a large degree. It is not possible to stop forming your identity around that pain and that experience until you forgive the person or persons and let go of the experience that caused your hurt. It has to be released before it will stop hurting you over and over. It is the only way to really care for yourself and heal. Purposely going back and revisiting painful experiences and holding onto hurt feelings is dangerous. You are recreating that pain anew each time and this is only destructive and will lead to anger.

Memories may resurface, but there is no need to dwell in them. Very painful memories can tend to flood us with overwhelming amounts of emotion and it seems to only grow stronger over time when we allow ourselves to stay with the thoughts. Our perception of the memory is not the same any longer. It begins to take on a life of its own and this is how we can form our identity around it. When children have started forming their identities around painful memories, like loss, then it is even more difficult for them to comprehend how to break this cycle and heal. This understanding must come as an adult for them, and it will be a struggle as they continue to cycle back through the pain, thinking they are doomed to live in misery forever. This thought itself perpetuates the cycle and leads them into more difficulty.

Not continuing on with thought processes or speech patterns that follow this cycle can help break it and that is an important thing to do for healing to begin. As long as a person continues to feel that they were wronged, or that something should have gone a different way than it did, that person will continue to feel miserable. Railing against your loss or your suffering in anger and sorrow, no matter how long you do it will never change what happened. It only makes feelings of suffering and anger stronger and the experience of loss or suffering is essentially being relived inside. This can only lead to further harm. It also leads to us creating many incorrect perceptions based on the flooding of pain from previous life stages and previous states of perception. It becomes very difficult to see the peace and happiness that can be found in your present if you are looking at things through a lens of altered perceptions fostered by revisiting painful memories.

However, starting in the present moment and recognizing good things with gratitude is helpful and begins the process to healing and breaking the cycle of going back to pain. Focusing on the small things, like breathing, gradually brings awareness back to what you are feeling right now. This awareness can be used to acknowledge and accept the feelings as they come, learning how to feel them and let them pass without holding onto them. Emotions about very difficult events arise and these emotions are not easy to feel without dwelling, especially at the beginning. Taking five or ten minutes of quiet time in which you can sit alone and let these feelings come is helpful. This is short enough to not be difficult to find in a day and to not allow time for ruminating on the feelings that come up. Each one comes, is recognized, and then is let go. This begins to allow for sorting. The recognition will also come that thoughts and emotions arise but they also fade to the background. This can give a sense of peace that the true inner self is not truly as rocked by external events as we tend to believe.

We are ALL worthy

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We are all, each one of us, children of Divine Source. Everything in creation, seen and unseen is also from this same Source, usually called God. (Replace the words I use with whatever word makes you feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter; it is all the same—Universe, Source Energy, Creator, Ultimate, or God/Goddess.) There is not only no reason for us to feel unworthy, but perpetuating feelings of unworthiness is much like denying our divine nature.

I have felt my connection to God and the miraculous since I was a child. Long before I had words to put to the experience, I felt God, angels and spirits flowing around and through me. I did not grow up in a household that attended church. I simply knew. I think this is how we all start out. As children, we understand our true origins and it doesn’t occur to us to question it.

As I got older, I asked more questions about God looking to put words to the internal knowing I felt. I remember the first time I did this. I was about six. I felt that the answers I got were incomplete and even confused. I felt like there was more that we weren’t allowed to talk about or that the adults we denying their own internal knowledge. They were holding back in some way I did not comprehend.

By seven, I sought out my answers by going to church on my own. I rode a church bus to Sunday school at a local church every week. This was the beginning of my learning that some questions are very shocking and others aren’t allowed. Ideas of shame, fear and anger seem to be the prevailing thought pattern in most churches.

Since then, I have attended various different kinds of Christian churches. As an adult, I have read and studied the texts of other religions as well. The realization I keep coming back to is that God is not limited to the definitions and dogmas of any particular religion. I do feel that religion can be and is useful. But we have to be careful not to limit our understanding of God to mere words and their interpretation. God is ultimately beyond our full capacity to comprehend while still in this dimension. God must be more intuited and felt than rationalized into words. Neither science nor religion can fully explain Truth. However, both science and every religious text I have read confirm that Energy is everywhere. Everything is made of it and surrounded by it.

If God is in us, and we are made from God, then we are not unworthy as God’s Children. To act as if we are is to deny the gift of the spark of God we are given. Psalm 82:6 says: I say, ‘You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you.’ What else would you call children of God but gods? We co-create with God flowing through us, into the reality all around us. We are miracles and we are participants in miracles through the energy of God. Yet feelings of unworthiness cause us to deny miracles all the time. We act as though admitting that we are capable of asking for and receiving a miracle is somehow wrong or to be feared.

We ignore our intuition (the voice of God) and resist even asking for the real transformations we seek. Many of us are afraid to even voice that we understand our true connection to Source. It almost seems mandated that we hold ourselves in a small place and call ourselves bad and unworthy. We fill ourselves with guilt for simply existing. But we are God’s children. Source brought us into being. Source is Love. Source is part of everything. It can be denied and ignored, but it remains.

Jesus spoke of this many times in the book of John, including referring to Psalm 82:6 in John 10: 34-38.  In John 14: 9-12, Jesus affirms again that we are all interconnected through God and that we are able to do all that Jesus did—and more. Speaking to Phillip, Jesus said “Have I been with you all this time, Phillip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say ‘Show me the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these.” To me this means learning the things Jesus taught and applying them. I don’t see that as a blind belief that we would be somehow saved through the birth and death of Jesus. I understand that we are to come back to that intuitive “knowing” that we already have Christ consciousness in us from the start. The goal then is to return to it, to resurrect it in us. It is a remembering of our true origin, our divinity. The one we were born with and forgot along the way. This opens us to much more than we are able to see without it. It also allows us to stop condemning and judging ourselves and each other. Our minds and hearts become open and able to see and perform miracles.

In John 14:20, Jesus says “On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you”. This is interconnection! I have heard many interpret this as meaning we will not understand this until we reach Heaven, or until the Apocalypse comes. To me this understanding creates Heaven! Heaven is within, no matter where you are. God is not dependent on time or place. If God is within, we are experiencing God at every moment. We simply lose awareness of this. Reminding ourselves is so important. In remembering this, each one in themselves, we transform the world. We create Heaven on Earth and in all dimensions. The only thing we can do with this understanding is to love ourselves, each other and everything in creation. Love is transformative. It creates miracles.

When we hold ourselves or someone else as unworthy or even as separate, we are denying our essence. We need to remember that the underlying message of every religion is love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding of ourselves. Without fear. In peace. It is what Jesus taught. There is no reason to limit God in our minds and hearts. God is limitless. Christ awareness is in every person. The Divine is in every person. We are all part of God. ALL is in God’s image. ALL are worthy of love. Do not judge. Do not fear. Be at peace.