Back in 2014 Tami and I did personal mantra challenges where we said our affirmations 108 times each day, for thirty consecutive days.
I learn through grace, not suffering, was one of them. These words were passed on to me by spiritual teacher Michael Golzmane, and I have since adopted the phrase as my own personal mantra.
I needed these words to be infused into my cells. I needed to be able to access them behind my thoughts. I needed them to rise to the surface each time I was about to do something that I knew was against my inner grain. I needed these words to stop me in my tracks to force me to think about the ramifications of the choice I was about to make.
I believe that the messages you receive in your life are consistent. The pains in your body, the worries in your head and the seemingly unbreakable habits that keep you spiraling are all connected. The intuitive nudges, the whispers from your ancestors and spirit guides and the questions, advice and sometimes down right begging from your spouse, your family and your children are all gathered as one big choir, singing in unison, telling you what you need to start or stop doing.
The choir’s carols are instructions related to your specific life lessons. They are calling you to abort a self destructive mission aka a habit, pattern or behavior that always results in you feeling worse about yourself and the progress you aren’t making. And the lyrics give you directions toward the path you should be traversing.
Are you listening?
Listening and heeding is choosing the path of grace. Dismissing and resisting is choosing the path of suffering. You are here to grow and despite your best efforts, you cannot bypass your lessons. They will keep coming, the choir will sing louder, the pain will become more intense.
When will you listen?
I learn through grace, not suffering means that when I start hearing the whispers and feeling the subtle intuitive nudges telling me to stop parking so close to the corner when we pick up Niles from daycare, my senses perk up. Maybe unsure (or testing), I park there one more time. A drunk driver rounds the corner way too fast, nearly taking me out while yelling at me. Shook, thinking about what could have happened, you better believe Spirit had my undivided attention. I told Tami we aren’t to park there ever again. And we don’t.
This is learning through grace instead of suffering. I don’t want to think about what could have happened if I dismissed, ignored or tested the message again. Learning through grace is choosing to pay attention to the messages while they are forewarnings, instead of a crisis.
Learning through grace is also choosing to end a bad relationship before it turns violent. Choosing to distance yourself from people who make you uneasy before they start making you feel bad about yourself. Choosing to take nonessential things off your plate, so that the overwhelm doesn’t overtake you. Choosing to change your diet before your choices turn into chronic illness.
Ultimately, it is choosing to address the hurt, the sadness, the grief, the loneliness, the disappointment, the anger, the envy, the worry, the injustice, the guilt, the void before they swallow you whole.
It is choosing to be relentless about your healing, your joy and your wholeness because it is your divine birthright. It is choosing to face your wounds. Choosing to pay attention. Choosing to listen. Choosing to do the hard thing now, so that you don’t have to be brought to your knees later. And it is choosing to save yourself because you are the only one who can.