On my first meditation retreat in 2009, the teacher gave a talk about the difference between pain and suffering, and I was NOT getting it. Pain and suffering. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter. To be in pain is to suffer. We suffer because we are in pain. End of story.
After the talk, I joined a small team of meditators in the kitchen for work duty. I stood, knife in hand, as the head cook poured out a box of onions and told us to start dicing. I wasn’t even done cutting the first onion when my eyes began to water.
By the second onion, tears were streaming down my face. I sniffed and heard the woman next to me do the same. The man on the other side of the table turned away and wiped his eyes with the inside of his sleeve.
Pretty soon, I could hardly see for the tears streaming down my face. My eyes burned. They stung. The discomfort quickly edged into pain, yet I found myself giggling at the absurdity of us all standing there, knives in hand, sobbing over onions. The other veggie choppers began to laugh as well.
I was in pain, and I was not suffering. I was, in fact, having fun.
We Don’t Have to Suffer
As writers, we struggle to shut out distractions and find our focus. We deal with writer’s block. We argue with inner critics who seem intent on shutting us down before we even get started. And we do all of this with the hopes of putting our precious work out into the world where someone (somewhere) will not appreciate it.
Writing can be hard. It can even be downright painful, but I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to suffer. I recently published a free guide titled Write More, Suffer Less: 4 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Be A Happier, More Productive Writer.
In it, I share four ways that mindfulness has helped me in my writing life. The ideas are simple but powerful, and I know you will find them as useful as I have.