I went to a workshop today on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness by Kelly Wilson, PHD: “Living the Good Life in a Stressed-Out World.” Does this sounds like something you need? We all do.
The speaker was well-published with probably about 10 books under his belt. I was shocked when I walked in the room to see someone who looked like Bob Dylan: long hair, jeans, gym shoes, and incredibly down-to earth. He was a rockstar-genius, more like Bob Dylan mixed with Albert Einstein.
The thing from this workshop that stood out the most to me were the topics of kindness and suffering. Dr. Wilson spoke of a little kindness toward yourself. He talked about his life and how he has learned to turn a little kindness toward himself. He spoke of himself in the third person. He said things like: “Let’s take Kelly to a yoga class,” funny for a rockstar!
Dr. Wilson spoke of the struggles in his life and how he has learned to hold these struggles “in kindness”. It reminded me of the inner transformation I spoke of in a recent blog. I talked about how I learned to shed some light on the darkness in my life by allowing it to be there.
Dr. Wilson spoke of how we are all running from something we THINK is wrong with us (suffering). These are false perceptions we have of ourselves (and our suffering) of course. The perceptions just FEEL very real. They are very powerful. That is why we must meet these perceptions with kindness and shed some light on the darkness.
Dr. Wilson did a powerful exercise with one of the workshop attendees. He asked a woman in the audience to picture someone she loves more than anything in the world. She chose her five-year-old daughter. He asked her to picture the day her daughter comes home struggling with a painful experience (it will happen). He asked the woman if she wants her daughter to walk that path alone or with someone. Without hesitation the woman says: with someone. The woman chose the path of suffering (without hesitation) so her daughter would not be alone. Or did she choose freedom from suffering for them both?
Viktor Frankl was a pychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor. Dr. Wilson talked about Frankl today too. He said that Frankl had an escape route from the concentration camp and was planning to leave. One of his dying patients looked at Frankl and said: “You have an escape route too.” Frankl decided then to stay in the concentration camp because his patients need him.
Viktor Frankl decided to STAY in the concentration camp. He actually felt FREEDOM in the concentration camp when he made the decision to stay. My guess is his viewpoint changed in such a way that freed him from the suffering in some form. It sounds like he faced the suffering, and as my presenter said today, leaned towards it.
If Viktor Frankl can lean towards the concentration camp suffering and come through it feeling free, can we lean towards the suffering in this world and come through the other side free? We can.
Is this possible that this will transform the suffering? I believe so.
Lets start today with a little kindness towards ourselves and our suffering. You don’t have to start talking about yourself in the third person (but you can if it helps). Start looking at yourself like you would that one person you love the most in the world. Start treating yourself (and your suffering) as if you were that person. Is this perhaps how God sees you? Will this perhaps bring you closer to God?
When you think like God thinks, you become closer to him. Do you think you will become closer to God by berating yourself, judging yourself, and being cruel to yourself? No.
God does not want you to suffer. Give your suffering over to him so he can transform it in the light. When I gave my suffering to God, I realized what A Course in Miracles has been telling me all along. I was doing it to myself.
So stop hating and start loving….yourself.
Try a little kindness.
Peace, Love, Suffering, And Kindness,
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