Listen to the audio version of this article
Have you considered and or already realised what value there may be in befriend suffering?
In drawing this card, you are invited to cultivate your resourcefulness and resilience as you go through life.
Often the way we automatically think may be back to front. We think that if we ‘box’ or push unwanted emotions away, we rid ourselves of them. And doing so makes us strong and more resilient. But what if the opposite were true?
Takes some moments to reflect across your life to date. Consider the times when rather than turning away from emotions you have been able to turn toward them.
When we suffer, we are invited and learn how to bear our emotions. Rather than pushing them away we begin to ‘make with’ their acquaintance.
If you have experienced times like this, then recall them.
Did a willingness to suffer – to bear your suffering – give or gift you anything?
If so, what?
Take what time you need to reflect and respond to these questions.
When we fear and push things away, we banish our emotions to the edge of our consciousness and beyond. We think that’s the end of it. But what if we are gravely mistaken in our rational logic – what if, what we push aspects of ourselves beyond our consciousness rather than disappearing they may takes control and silently govern our behaviours and key aspects of our life. Some believe that what we push into our unconscious becomes our symptomology and compulsions. And what we place beyond our conscious control may certainly cause unrest if not dis-ease. You may rightly question – the value of this conundrum?
Take some moments to consider if and how this may offer you opportunity?
What we push beyond our consciousness, we may then automatically project out onto others. The anger for example which I may deny, I suddenly experience it in those I meet. This may at first seem strange but note how it offers you the chance through relationships with others, to recognise and claim back what you have once judged and rejected. Only when we can step back and look at whole picture might, does such irrational behaviour have value and offer meaning.
Bearing suffering – is an invitation to end this cycle and face into the wholeness of our lives more consciously – to own whatever turns up in our lives and to work with it – rather than push it away. Such an opportunity is beautifully described in a poem by Rumi called – The Guest house:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Let’s return for some moments to consider what value there may be in cultivating this attitude?
Well, what we accept in ourselves we automatically relate to in others. So, as we expand our repertoire of experiences, we equally cultivate our capacity to relate more fully and deeply. We may also take one more relational step forward. The more we foster our own wholeness by remembering the aspects of ourselves that we have once rejected, the more we may equally experience our place within the whole of nature. Such practice may therefore foster how we relate and also our sense of relatedness.
Also, when we turn towards what we may have once rejected – we may discover in the place of fear – an emergent courage – and such courage may then foster and further the practice of ‘making whole’. Who would have guessed that in facing limitation we may discover new strength?
See if this idea has credence from your own experience?
Recall what has fostered your resilience?
And how you might continue to build this in the future?
Such new awareness and practice, builds our resourcefulness. And note how such strength comes from the inside out – from completing our inner work we discover more outer strength that we can employ in our life and work.
May you see the value in learning how to bear suffering.
May you discover the gift that a willingness to bear offers.
May you, as you face life’s experiences, learn how to foster your resourcefulness and resilience.
Find out more about positive psychology courses and training at