What is the Point of it All?
By: Jennifer Brighton, MSW, RSW, PH.D (c)
I hear the furnace turn on with a rumble. It is a gentle reminder that I have heat to warm my home. I am nestled in after a long day, taking a few minutes to decompress. I am feeling grateful for so much. I am also mindful that this time of year can be difficult for people as it stirs and causes deeper self reflection and inquiry.
Depending on our self-assessment we can have positive or negative reactions. Some of us may review where we are in life. We may feel lonely or alone. We may miss family, friends and loved ones. Life can be messy. Somehow many of us have grown up aspiring to hallmark moments so much so that in our self observation we feel we are falling short.
Everyday I work with clients that talk to me about their suffering. I was stirred last week when multiple times from different people I heard “what is the point of all of it, what is the point of life”? They were genuinely asking what the point was of all their difficult experiences. They want it all to end. I think we all do when we hit those periods in life. It is natural for us to ask what the relevance is of our darker times. The key is that this questioning is from a place of self growth and learning, not from a place of feeling victim to our circumstance. There may be parts of us that feel lost and confused in this and we can get caught on the train of negative thinking. We may even feel disillusioned. No one is absent of this feeling. In fact, I think this is a universal feeling when you are at the cusp of major life awakening.
I like to think of healing our wounded hearts like the healing of a broken limb. It is the pain that tells us something is wrong. It is the pain that calls us to action. It is in following through with compassionate action, like cleaning our wound and getting care that the broken arm has the chance to mend. Perhaps we even have to immobilize it for a while for it fully heal.
Our broken hearts and wounded souls require the same nurturing, love, care, compassion and stillness. It is only when we sit with the suffering and allow it to process that we have the opportunity to see that this is genuinely a benevolent universe; that everything we go through, and yes I mean EVERYTHING, is here FOR US! Sometimes our hardest times hit when our authentic internal self knows we are ready to grow. Like a butterfly finally pushing through the chrysalis. It takes courage and strength to be set free from the bondage that once kept us safe.
In the bondage of the mind we can retell a narrative of feeling stuck. We may not have the foresight to see that we only need break through the walls that hold us back. This gift of life is not about having the hallmark story, it is about personal evolution. It is about us growing, expanding, learning and leaning into that which scares us. It is about having a greater sense of purpose. It is about knowing that who we are, flaws and all, is enough to powerfully impact the people in our sphere. How we make that impact will be determined by our narrative.
I have a saying I tell my clients “we are our stories, so tell good ones.” Much like the movie “The Matrix” we have to choose our reality. As hard as that may feel when we are raptured by suffering or mental illness, it always remains possible. Suffering is offering growth at all levels.
So if you are suffering, like so many, know first and foremost that you are not alone. Know that you are deeply heard, seen, and understood! Know that no one can push you through the chrysalis, you have to dig deep within and know that your purpose is not within the bondage but outside of it. When you have even a glimmer that there is something more outside that wall, start to push, giving space for your fear. Giving yourself love, compassion and understanding for the strength and energy required to grow, blossom and thrive.
May you be filled with peace.