Life: The Art of Transforming Pain & Suffering into Wisdom.

It is time to embrace truth and a stop believing the lies of “Happily Ever After Fairytales” or the ‘Happiness and Prosperity Doctrine, as these set us up for disillusionment which affects our mental health and overall wellbeing. Our worldview of life creates our interpretation of our reality. Unfortunately many of us, including me, think if life is not good, then innately I must be doing something bad. However when we look through the four lenses of Theology, Spirituality, Philosophy and Psychology it helps us to find meaning in our suffering and embrace the Spirit of Wisdom. Pearls represent wisdom gained through experience just as a pearl begins to from a piece of grit that get into the shell; an unwanted intrusion that the oyster coats with protective layers in an effort to protect itself from the invader, until over time, it forms a beautiful pearl.

We are instructed in Proverbs 4:6-7  Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Wow! Though it costs all you have get wisdom! What does that mean? Life is not a fairytale, it is not a hedonistic view point that life is easy, in fact it is coming face to face with the fact that suffering is something we all will endure. Our trials and tribulations will be different for each of us, we need to share our wisdom as there is freedom and inspiration in sharing. “If wisdom were given me under the express condition that it must be kept hidden and not uttered, I should refuse it. No good thing is pleasant to possess, without friends to share it.” — Epictetus The song “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy has inspired generations to embrace Wisdom as the lyrics resonates with our soul; “Oh Yes I am wise but it’s wisdom born of pain” as at a deep subconscious level we know this is the truth. Pain is part of our journey. We have compared ourselves to others and been lulled into a belief that life is easy for others, and then we question what is wrong with us. The simple fact is, we have forgotten to share our pain, we only promote our triumphs. So todays blog will be about some of my pain interwoven with hope.

Carl Jung stated “Suffering that is not understood is hard to bear, while on the other hand, it is often astounding to see how much a person can endure when he understands the why and wherefore. This is a hard concept to grasp, how can there be; a why and wherefore especially when we look through a ‘trauma informed lense’. Trauma is Trauma.

As a counsellor who embraces all 4 pillars of self; theology, psychology, philosophy and spirituality, there are times I have learnt to give more weight to one discipline than others. With trauma I believe it needs to be seen ” from a higher perspective,” as part as a Spiritual Quest of the Soul to reconnect to God and to be able to see and hear things in the spiritual realm. In Isaiah 30: 19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” 

I have spent a lot of time explaining my framework and attached a ‘youtube’ to the Stoic way of thinking below. This is because firstly I had to learn how accept the suffering in my own life before I wanted to share it with others. As Helen Reddy lyrics state wisdom is born of pain but I did not like pain and I tried my best to ensure my life as an adult became pain-free. I had endured enough pain, having been sexually molested by a neighbour at the tender age of six and I did the hard work of inner healing as I confronted the meaning and beliefs I had the adopted due to the memories and shadows that taunted me. I made inner vows that no-one was ever going to hurt me again and so I tried to make right choices, I worked hard, I believed if you treated people well they would treat you well back. But life is not fair. I think if we all accepted that truth, then we could embrace our suffering rather than being surprised when if happens. I tried to shield my children from pain and suffering, now I wished I had taught them how to navigate pain, because it is a life skill we all need. As adults they have each had their own pain to embrace, and as a Mother it is hard to stand back and watch but I have learnt that, this is their journey; the wisdom they need to learn. Francis of Assisi Serenity prayer, has helped me to navigate this ” Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, have courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It is two days till Epiphany Day and epiphany means a moment of sudden and great revelation or realisation. I have one more Life-Map image to share as well: the little boy who was standing next to the Angel. Today I want to share about the little boy. In my journal that night I wrote ” I think this a son we are meant to have .” My husband was booked in for a vasectomy that next morning. The next morning as I was telling him about the angels visit, he face appeared incredulous, as he too that night had been awoken hearing two children’s voices. I told him about seeing the little three your old boy and he said there was also a little girl here. Needless to say he did not attend the scheduled appointment that day. I had not heard stories of others meeting their children years before they were born and I learnt to be wise with whom I shared this information. Jeremiah 21:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” If I was to have another son, I wanted to fall pregnant soon, but God had different plans. Caleb our son’s, due date was exactly three years later, 6th of January 1995. We could not have planned this ourselves. I knew his name was Caleb which in Hebrew means faithful, whole-hearted, loyal  bold or brave. Caleb has lived up to his name he is loyal and brave and I have learnt so much from being his mother, more than anything I learnt to listen to the spiritual realm. Brave, whole-hearted and bold can also be another term for headstrong and that he was. When he was four years old, I cried out to the Lord ” Help me to parent Caleb, I am at a loss”. At this stage I was a mother of 4 Children and we also had our nephew living with us. Caleb idolised his cousin who was 16 years old, and he wanted to be out doing what his cousin was doing. Obviously there was a battle of wills, because he was only four and I thought he was too young to go with his cousin to the skatepark, he on the other hand did not. I was tired, parenting is hard work and I was feeling defeated. I also had the added layer of supporting and comforting our nephew, as he struggling after the suicide of his Dad. God heard my prayer and he showed me a vision. I was a lioness and Caleb was a lion cub, In the vision he showed me that until Calebs shadow cast longer than mine, he needed to remain in my shadow, as he did not have the height or wisdom to see danger. In the vision it showed that if I did not remain strong and keep good boundaries he would run ahead and fall down a crevice, there he would be taken along by a river and would come out the other end but there would be scars he would carry. That vision was so powerful, that It helped my resolve to not give in, to keep strong boundaries until such as a time that he was taller than me. Parenting Caleb taught me to parent spiritually and as a family we have all learnt the value of listening to spirit. We have changed plans when spiritually guided too, and then grappled with the “what if’s” as we faced the reality of what had happened at that specific time and place.

The Ways of the Stoic.

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