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Suffering is Personal

Complain all you want. Complain to everyone/anyone who is willing to listen, either for free (short term, before they get sick of you) or pay for shrinks, coaches, healers, doctors, voodoo priests (for all long as your cash is green)… But they get to walk away from your suffering… you do not.

Where ever you go, there you are.Your mind: This is where the test is. This is where your real healing happens. No one else can face your suffering…albeit depression, resentment, anxiety, addiction, unhealed wounds, inner critic, self-sabotage … but YOU. This is where the dance starts, changes, and hopefully evolves.


Your mind can be a house of horrors, a jerry springer show, or Mayberry.


Suffering: If someone punches you in the gut, hard, there will be pain…but how much? That depends on your tolerance. Everyone is different. I remember having to get a hysterectomy because of cancer. There were at least two other ladies at my church that also had hysterectomies for other reasons, but same operation. Cathy, had 10 children in 17 years. After her surgery she was back on her feet ruling over her herd of children within 3 days. Sophia… tall, thin, elegant, graceful Sophia… was in bed for 4 weeks and still not herself months later. Cathy wore her resilience with pride and arrogance, mocking Sophia’s obvious weakness. Sophia wore her need for longer recovery with shame. I was somewhere in the middle and, frankly, happy to be cancer free. Sophia could handle way more emotional stress than anyone I know. Cathy was an emotional mess and a terrible gossip but prided herself on her labor and physical stamina, often bragging that Indian women could drop a child out of body and keep working and so could she! Some people can’t handle the flu and someone else lives with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. Some people can handle crisis easily with clarity and logic, but fall apart if they break a nail.

Comparing your ability or your tolerances for emotional or physical suffering is guaranteed to escalate your suffering. Don’t do it.


Sometimes we dance so closely with our inner narrator that we think we ARE those thought patterns. Please indulge me while I try to give an example without sounding too “out there” (if possible). Ok. You know these new “smart phones/devices.” They are programmed to learn our words and “autofill” what it thinks we are trying to type. Well, our organic human brain does the same thing. It absorbs all of our experiences, feelings, environment and, in the name of self-preservation, it warns us in advance… i.e. stove= hot=burn=pain=do not touch. Blonde blue-eyed men named Andy=fall in love=short term euphoria=lied to=break up=heart break=devastated=can’t work=take out loan=debt=loss of self-esteem=back to therapy=RUN. L.O.L! Our brain (NOT who we ARE) has a story for EVERYTHING – money is good, money is bad. Poor people are cool. Rich people are selfish. Pretty girls are stuck up. Cowboys are heroes. Guys from New Jersey are all like the cast from Jersey Shore. It’s all bullshit. It’s just bits of narrow focused, incomplete data that our brain tries to put together in a complete story to protect the human (you/me). Our Soul lives in the organic smart phone/body, and we often believe that “fuck” is spelled with a “D” because it keeps auto-correcting our “fuck” with “duck”. For instance, all Andys are not heart breakers. All El Caminos are not owned by child molesters. But every time I see one I feel a little sick to my stomach. So… our soul lives in a smart phone/body. It is not OMNISCIENT:  all knowing. In fact it’s pretty much the opposite… knows very little!


The only way to clearly see, for ourselves, that we are not the thoughts/data/bullshit that our brain’s narrator is constantly spewing every waking second, is to pull away from the “Velcro”. (Insert sound of pulling velcro away from itself.)


Not to get all metaphysical on you or anything, but a truly great way to do this is meditation. No chanting required. Two great exercises:


Sit for three minutes. Work your way up to 20 over time, but start with three. If you work your way up to ten and fall off the wagon, don’t feel overwhelmed with the pressure of starting at ten again. Go back to three. Just sit. Breathe. Take some deep, slow breaths. Then scan your body. Think about your toes, calves, shins, knees, thighs, etc while you breathe. Notice. Just notice. No judging. Just notice your narrator’s voice. How does he/she talk to you? What are the reoccurring themes? Passive-aggressive? Fearful? Angry? Sad? Denial? Just notice. Mentally say, “Thanks for sharing”, and let it go. Let it go in whatever way works for you… in a balloon…in a train box car…on a leaf on a stream, but let it go. Come back to your scan, and your breath, and your noticing.


Ask your mind questions! Go to for help with questioning yourself. I love the question: Q: Is it true? ie All Andys will devastate me. And Q: How do I behave when I believe something is true? i.e. I am colder to men I meet named Andy than if their names were Fred.
No one can do this work for you. The way out of hell is an inside job. You can go outside of “you” for supplies…ie data, tools, massage, therapy, energy work, healthy food etc… but the shovel in the dirt is all you baby.


Pain wears me out. I mean I can go through my day without pain and not need a nap…go all day until bed time and easily make my transition into sleep mode. When I am suffering emotional or physical pain, I hit a wall around 3:00. I NEED a nap (I usually don’t take one; my bad), and, then by 7:00, I am dragging myself around, counting down the minutes until 9:00pm, when I can allow myself to crawl into bed for the next count-down to 10:00 when I will allow myself to go to sleep. Praise God. Hallelujah.


I can, and do resent myself when I can’t force myself to do even my normal duties, because I have to deal with my own crap. Makes me mad. I wish I was joking. Like having a flat tire, the flu, a blizzard hits- whatever, my day (as I want to do it) has been completely altered and it has interfered with my plans/goals. And I don’t like that. Truth be told, I don’t like it when people/renters put the square pans on the shelf where I have all the round bowls. I like things to have their place, and I like to have my routine. Suffering is like hitting the brakes and coming to a screeching halt. If I fight it and try to drive with my parking brakes on… other stuff…BAD stuff happens. Damn it.


So, suffering is personal. It helps to know your own tolerances and not beat yourself up over it. Have some compassion for you. It’s by showing yourself compassion that the intensity lessens. Strengthen your ability to separate yourself from your human brain so that your Soul can have a more accurate perspective of everything, and you can make better choices, that come from a deeper, wiser place inside of you, and not from the knee jerk, tainted perspective of the brain.

Come to terms with your energy levels, and adjust your life to the energy demands of suffering, or pay the price for driving with the breaks on. It won’t be pretty. So plan i.e. take extracurricular activities off the table. Carve your day down to what’s most important. Sleep, water, food, exercise, work, rest. Take extra good care of you. Be your own excellent, kind, compassionate, fabulous, and HOT 🙂 mental-health nurse for you!


By the way, incase you’d like to know, EVERYONE suffers. No one is the Lone Ranger…ok except for the Lone Ranger… never mind…


You aren’t alone. I believe in you.


Love, Catherine

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