The Tender Feeling of Being Alive

There are days when the sun comes out and we are vibrantly alive to the birdsong outside our window or the laughter of children, but then there are days when the clouds roll in. We may receive bad news, have an argument with our partner or merely wake up with a  painful kink in our neck and it is at times like these that it may be harder to appreciate that this too (our suffering) is part of the tender feeling of being alive.

If we can allow ourselves to be with our pain (feeling it rather than pushing it away or making it wrong), then healing has an opportunity to enter the picture. This is how we ripen and grow as human beings. Yes, it is discomforting, but it is also, ultimately, liberating – we know more, we are wiser and when the clouds roll in again (and they will), we will be better equipped mentally and emotionally to work through any accompanying feelings of disappointment, confusion and pain.

Life is made of both the beauty of butterflies, the intoxicating scent of lilacs, and the horrors of war, illness, destruction and death. We don’t get to cherry-pick and it is unwise to try to do so – you’ll only set yourself up for a fall from unprecedented heights, which, ironically, is what you were attempting to avoid in the first place. Where pain and suffering are concerned, the only way out is through. Be gentle. Be patient – take your time – and take heart.

Remembering that suffering is part of the tender feeling of being alive is essential for processing and moving through it in productive ways, and as we become good stewards of our own emotional life and no longer expect others to take responsibility for the way we feel, we will also become stronger mentally and emotionally.

The pay off? When we are stronger mentally and emotionally we are in a much better position to make decisions in our life that foster a sense of life, vitality and happiness even in the midst of our difficulties.

Being alive at all is a gift. Being sensitive to all its considerable and varied beauty is as well. It’s a package deal.