I’ve started writing this blog every week for the past 2 months. Since 29th October 2016 to be exact. It never felt right. I felt there was more to the message than just the events of the 29th.
And there was.
And I can’t wait any longer to resume writing.
On the 29th October my bag was stolen from my boyfriend/fiancee’s car. It it were some personally valuable rings and my planner, not to mention a computer, iPods, etc. About $2k USD of things. It’s the rings and planner that hit me the hardest. The next 3 weeks were spent in an emotional pendulum as I processed what I needed to learn.
As I often do, I opened some of my books and listened to some of my mentors (ecourses, etc.). The subject of duhkha kept coming up. I was interested, but there is more on duhkha later. Back to the story…
Just as I was finally beginning to process the loss of the bag, another massive blow hit. After a year of severe, daily emotional abuse, my fiancé and I finally broke up. (And yes, I should have left much earlier, but I kept finding excuses. Since my life is content, there will naturally be some blogs on this.) In the big picture of life, it’s a great thing. In the immediate situation, I walked away from my old life and am living in a foreign country while trying to figure out a way to stay or if I should leave.
Let’s just say I had the duhkha kicked out of me in 2016 and it still hurts like hell!
Duhkha is the art of finding opportunity in suffering. Anything you can take to an extreme, or perhaps hold more dear than you should, is material for duhkha. Suffering can be greed, possessions, relationships, food, change of habit or living situation, etc.
Duhkja works something like this:
- Event happens
- You are triggered
- Body/Mind begin to process what’s going on
- Trigger ends
- Duhkha kicks in
You know you’ve been duhkha’d when a few things happen. Sometimes you’ll have immediate signs – intense fear, rapid heart pulse, heightened body temperature, shorter temperament, etc. Sometimes it takes a bit to hit. This is mainly because, immediately after a loss, your heart-mind is often too overwhelmed to process the opportunity. As the fog clears, you can begin to see what happened and find time to reflect.
Duhkha stings like crazy and it also tells you very valuable things about yourself that might otherwise not notice.
To play with duhkha, what I pay most attention to are my triggers. I ask questions like:
- What did this event trigger inside of me that is causing suffering?
- What is the suffering? Can I find words to capture it?
- Can I identify the specific trigger? Has it happened before? Is there a pattern? (Maybe I’m just tired and overreacting!)
- What do I believe the lesson is?
Is there a pattern to my duhkha?
- What can I do in the future when I see this particular duhkha come up?
The goal of this reflection is to find a specific intention to reduce duhkha + establish specific actions to move in the direction of my/your desired state.
I’ve learned a lot of things in the past year, most definitely in the last few months. I’m still processing the lessons. It’s the reason I went radio silent with this blog for a few months.
Once surprising outcome is I have really grown to love my duhkha reflections. No, I’m not a glutton for punishment.
So as we all enter 2017, this year of change, know that you’ll be triggered. Things will definitely change, and hopefully for the better. I hope you find a way to play with duhkha in your life. I’d love to hear stories!
With Grit, Grace and Gumption,
PS – Since I know some folks will ask, here are a few of my takeaways:
- My meditation time has become a top priority for me both in the AM and PM. I am suddenly really reliable!
- I’m really assessing what I own and am releasing a lot of things that no longer work for me. No need to carry them around the world anymore.
- I’ve been duhkha’d so much this past year that I’ve seriously calmed down. I’m more curious than judgmental. (Except when I drive. Uganda has the very worst drivers I have ever dealt with in the world. Awful combo of selfish and illogical. I’m working hard on my road rage.)
- I also back up my computer more often than once a month. I lost a whole book transcript on that other one! 🙁