Defining Experiences

A few weeks ago you posted a status that said there is no such thing as a bad day but what about days when someone is in an accident or a loved one dies?
Are you saying that’s not a bad day?

signed,
Doubting Thomas

Dear Thomas,

I am very sensitive to those who are experiencing profound loss and there is no doubt that many people could describe a loved-one’s death as one of the worst experiences of their life. The point isn’t to say we should be happy even in the face of death. Grieving is a legitimate emotion and it should be allowed to be fully felt. And that in turn generally leads to the sort of crying that can fairly be described as feeling quite good. So as always, we should do what we truly want to do, even if that is crying.

352 Relax and Succeed - Right in the difficultI know when viewed from the now-traditional egocentric perspective there are good days and bad days but from a healthy psycho-spiritual perspective there aren’t even days, let alone good ones or bad ones. So far from saying that people shouldn’t grieve for grandma, I’m saying there’s a way to do that and still profoundly know that your life experience is not everyone’s life experience, and that while you were having a bad day personally, other people may have spent the exact same time being happier than they have ever been. So is it a good day or a bad day? It depends on who you ask and when, because even great days have their relatively slow or crappy periods.

If we remove the mental measurement of a “day,” we are simply left with an experience. The more unpleasant that experience is, the brighter the small kindnesses of the same day seem to be. So again, it’s not that on a day when someone dies that people shouldn’t feel pain—it’s more that when we are deep in grief small acts of kindness take on greater meaning. The crucible of suffering helps to sharpen our understanding and even the simplest of embraces can generate a powerful sense of connection and love.

352 Relax and Succeed - Stars can't shineIs this making more sense? It’s not that we should tell sad people that a tough day is actually easy, it’s that on a tough day we all become more aware of small blessings that help us make it through those heavy times. The more we focus on those blessings the better that tough day will be. And on the hardest of days, “better” is better-than-nothing and that being the case, the salvation of gratitude is never far away from any of us.

Big challenges remind us to value what we love. As bad as the challenge might be, its darkness will be what allows the stars in our life to shine, and in doing so they serve to gently remind us that, whether we can see them or not, we are forever being blessed by their light. So whether today is “good,” or “bad,” I am grateful for those things that have made it better rather than worse.

Thanks again for the question. As much as you’re able: enjoy your day.

peace. s

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