No Pain, No Gain: Part 2

This post is dedicated to Purity.  Thank you for watching over Kris during his difficult night.  You were his angel and I know he was in good hands.

So, now you’ve let yourself feel the emotional pain.  What’s next?

You learn to slow down your thinking/feeling so you can more effectively process the pain. (More on this next week)  Doing this will essentially balance the pain so it serves you and make you stronger. Pain can be a strong motivator, if you allow it to help you.

And the people around you… those people are your teachers. They will teach you more about yourself than you can possibly imagine IF you are open to it.

I think the key words here are “wise” and “critic.” Some people believe that even your harshest critics have wisdom that you can learn from.  I believe the trick is to not take the criticism so personally that you cannot think about it objectively.

The people you encounter the most in your daily life will often trigger you into a place of fear, pain or discomfort.

Some psychologists believe that they are doing this so you can face an original fear and repair an injury from your past.  They also believe that this triggering will CONTINUE TO HAPPEN until you choose to deal with it. So, the people around you and are closest to you are like angels in a sense. They challenge you to be the better version of yourself.

Remember the Bible story of Jacob wrestling the angel?  In the story, Jacob is on his way to meet his brother Esau after years of estrangement.  Jacob wronged Esau in the past by taking his birthright and then running away rather than dealing with it. Several years later, Jacob goes back to deal with Esau and an angel disguised as a man appears to Jacob.

A man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. Then he said to Jacob, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

“What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he replied.

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” he said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”

But he answered, “Why do you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:24-29).

In her blog post, How Wrestling With God Will Change You Forever, Christian blogger Dena Johnson contends that “there is a common thread throughout these passages:

God is the God of Abraham. God is the God of Isaac. But, it does not say that God is the God of Israel until after he wrestled with God. 

You see, until Jacob had a divine wrestling match with God—until he had a very personal struggle with God—his faith was not cemented. It was not his own. Yes, he knew of his father’s faith. He had most definitely heard the stories of his grandfather’s faith. But, he was only living his faith vicariously through their faith; it had not been solidified in his life.”

Before my journey into Judaism began, I believed that if I loved anything, God would take it from me.  I had a very negative view of my relationship with God.  So, how did I come to be a convert to Judaism? How did I come to believe that God was a constant companion in my world? The answer is/was that I wrestled with God.  I was being tested in all sorts of ways: adopted sister, parents struggling with family issues, feelings of loneliness, trying to figure out who I was and what I might contribute to the world. I raged at God sometimes to answer my questions.  I even told Him I hated Him once. Yes, I went so far! Can you imagine being so close to someone you can tell Him you hate Him and he refuses to turn His back on you.

I know that God exists.  (See blog post entitled My Car Accident – August 12, 2015). In my accident, God touched my chin and pulled me back from certain death.  That day, He saved my life.  But other days, we have wrestled.  In fact, we are wrestling still.  We will probably ALWAYS wrestle, if you wanna know the truth.  But He will never leave me.  Therefore, I will never leave him.  If a Nazi had me at gunpoint and told me to renounce God or die, I’d die.  It’s just that simple.

God’s presence is a constant part of my life.  My chin will forever be touched by God. I will never be the girl I was before this event. I always have peace knowing that God will always be with me – even if I turn away from him.

When you find yourself struggling with the world, remember that struggle can be for a higher purpose.  But, how can a modern day mere mortal struggle with God? People in the New Age movement might suggest this concept to get you started…

Think about THAT for a second… What if you are God?! And what if Shakespeare was correct?

“All the World’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

You choose the part you’ll play in this crazy play of life. You play this role to the best you can during each “performance.”  You struggle with the part you’ve chosen.  With each performance, you slow down events, waiting for your entrance, and your turn to speak, all the while looking at the lines you’ve memorized and how you might say them differently “this time around.” Yes, lessons do come back as scenes that must be played out until they’ve been perfected by the “actors.”  Really good actors (or dancers or musicians etc… ask themselves very pointed questions about each of their experiences on stage. This is why artists have such a responsibility to the world – We know its all just another performance.  And we strive to make EACH show something people would want to see again and again.

What if you are the author of your own destiny?  How will you write YOUR story? What questions can you ask to bring our hero/heroine through the conflict and into the light?

What lessons keep coming back over and over? Look at your life holistically. What feelings come up because of these lessons? Anger? Guilt? Feeling Suffocated? Depression? Anxiety?

How can you deal with this flood of feelings in a way that will not overpower you? 

Dr. John Demartini, a Human Behavioral Specialist, Author and Educator, has created a process he calls the Demartini Method.  In this process, he asks a series of questions that helps a person put a new spin on the way you think about your fear.

The questions are very intense, but your answers help you rebalance your perceptions about an event that hurt you in your life and reframe the inner dialogue you have with yourself about it.  Once you’ve started through these questions, you’ll feel like you entered an intellectual wrestling ring.

And the person you are ultimately wrestling with is – yourself. Other people are just messengers or malachim – Hebrew for angels.  YOU are the person that you have the greatest issue with.

In his video about bullying, John takes you through three of his fourteen questions. Since the school year is starting, I thought this video about bullying might be appropriate.  The next time you encounter a bully, try to slow things down (meditation helps with this) and ask yourself these kinds of questions.

  1. Have YOU ever bullied someone? Who? When ? Where?
  2. How does this person bullying you serve you?  How can I use this bullying to my advantage? Example: Will you become more compassionate to other people being bullied in the future.
  3. Who is doing the opposite of the bullying?  Who is supporting me in this moment?

Out of context, they probably seem like very disjointed questions.  John has a very intensive process that he has copyrighted, so I cannot share all of his ideas.  You’ll have to contact John through his website. This is just to “wet your whistle.”  It’s funny.  I just realized these questions are the kinds of questions that actors create and use in their acting classes to prepare them for their work on stage. Is that a coincidence?  I think not! Take it away John…