Hav­ing expec­ta­tions in my life is the begin­ning of suf­fer­ing, always. The want­ing, the expect­ing, the suf­fer­ing; in that order. Like one of those inven­tory con­trol devices that are attached to shirts at the mall, suf­fer­ing is attached to expec­ta­tion. There is the say­ing, pain is inevitable, suf­fer­ing, optional. It is optional because I can choose where to place my atten­tion, or my want­ing. Bud­dhists say to want noth­ing, and suf­fer­ing goes away. My seren­ity is inversely pro­por­tional to my expec­ta­tions and wants. My hap­pi­ness is directly pro­por­tional to my abil­ity to accept life as it is right now. Accep­tance means that I don‘t have the tug­ging in me that says “But wait, it should…” Fin­ish that sen­tence and it is like pulling the pin on the grenade.

My suf­fer­ing arises from the belief that some­thing, this or that thing, should not be the way it is. As soon as I start down Should Road, I am in for it. I know this, or at least, I have said this/read this/written this/taught this before. When I teach you about it, it is a pretty sim­ple con­cept. When I am con­vinc­ing myself of it, I feel like I have been told to stand in the cor­ner of a round, white room. As I have recently writ­ten here, I have been strug­gling with changes at my work. The actual work of see­ing patients, doing oper­a­tions and show­ing up in the hos­pi­tal is all going well…hmmm, it is good to even write that; what is not going as planned is pretty much every­thing else. All the mechan­ics of run­ning the busi­ness are not what I thought they would be. I had this thought, this expec­ta­tion, that it would be dif­fer­ent than what it is right now. So I have all the right answers that would sound great in a blog, but I am not feel­ing them.

For me, that is really the issue, the feel­ings. I have all these feel­ings that I am not sure what to do with. Feel­ing them, really just allow­ing those hard feel­ings, would be a good place to start. I guess I am attached to the idea that I should have the answers all sewn up and that I should not have hard feel­ings like embar­rass­ment, anger, shame, etc. But the truth is that I do feel all those things, because I have had an image of what my busi­ness would be like and I have become attached to those beliefs. I fail to see that I am just where I am sup­posed to be, that I am a lucky bee liv­ing in a nectar-filled flower of opportunity…gag.

What I do know is that I can‘t get out of this or through this–the feel­ings or the real­i­ties at work–on my own. It is lit­er­ally not pos­si­ble to lift one­self off the ground by pulling on straps attached to one‘s own boots. I know I need help, even to just have feel­ings, to let my heart run freaky and wild and scary and weird. I have grief to feel and anger. I need help with those things. Once I do that work, I can usu­ally count on my brain to help me see the land­scape as it is and then, with­out hav­ing to try to hard I can become grate­ful for what I have. Once I am in that place, I usu­ally start to feel bet­ter, and I guess that is what we humans really like, isn‘t it. We like to feel better.

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6 Responses to Suffering

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Suffering | Bend Light --

  2. Bobbi says:

    I agree with the just allowing hard feelings to be the start. Where else is there to start? I hear what you are saying loud and clear as I am sure do many others out there. Have you read a book called The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron? I love this book and it is one of 3 that I saved to take with me across the ocean. Many a time I have found it reassuring when I have felt what you are feeling.

    Great post.

  3. Stephen Parkhurst says:

    I believe.

  4. stephenarcher says:

    Hi Bobbi. Yes I do have that book. In fact I have it in two places. I will pick it up and actually read it. Thank you.

  5. P. Voyles says:

    This is an amazing photograph.

  6. Christine says:

    Hi – I am a new reader of your blog and I really appreciate your insights and ideas. I’m also a business consultant that sees this every day so you are not alone. I see many small business owners who feel they should be able to run all aspects of their business because they are so good at what they do. I am hestitant to say this to you because I don’t know the particulars but I would say you should consider hiring a strategist that could help you grow your practice in a way that is meaningful to you.
    I hope I haven’t taken your entry out of context.

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