Once again, I heard this in yoga class…but it’s so so so true.

So easy to forget, but so so so true.

Pain happens. Sometimes pain really, really happens.

But how much I suffer with it is at least somewhat in my control…and therefore optional.

I know my yoga instructor was reminding us not to push ourselves into suffering with the poses. I didn’t need that reminder. For me right now, with an injured shoulder in addition to my no-breast surgery recovery, pushing is not an option. I’m just thankful I can do about one-third to one-half of the class. Trust me, I don’t push.

Suffering is optional in the rest of my life as well.

Attending my cousin’s wedding and seeing the flower-child picture of Danny (my dad) from the 60’s, at the Jefferson Airplane concert in Central Park with actual flowers in his hair, and sobbing as grief washed over me. I felt that pain. I let it flow through me. I got hugs. But holding onto it and suffering in my grief? That’s optional. (I’m just thankful I feel grief. I never thought I would before our last years, and especially six months, together…)

Saying goodbye to my kiddies after the wedding weekend and feeling my heart break, like it always breaks when I say goodbye to one or both of them. I felt that pain. I let it flow through me. I remembered all the sweet and funny moments. I know that I’m lucky that I got to see them, and I’m thankful that they still want to see me (and sometimes even stay up late talking with me). But holding onto it and suffering in my missing them? That’s optional.

Processing all that’s happened to my body, mind, soul, and spirit in the last year-and-a-half, feeling the (more) grief, looking at my bald head in photos, remembering and realizing that I had cancer and I was really sick (to put it mildly) from the chemo/perfect poison. I feel that pain. I let it flow through me. I talk about it. Journal about it. I may soon write about it. But holding onto it and suffering in my processing? That’s optional.

It’s optional how much I hold onto my pain. It’s optional how much I suffer. It’s always I choice that I sometimes make (more often than I used to) to find, look for, create, and/or notice something that will soothe and comfort me. That will lift my heart. That will shift my perspective and remind me of all the love in my life and in my heart.

That will ease me out of suffering, because it’s optional.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

If you have been in ANY high control group or religion, share your story with the hashtag #IGotOut. Share on your own platform OR if you need to be anonymous and/or would like support, there are resources at the @igotout_org website.

When you see a survivor share their story, let them know they have been heard. This is such a meaningful part of the movement. We all need to know we’re not alone.

If you know someone who has been harmed by a high demand group, share #igotout posts or stories you think would help them.

Together we can bring awareness to how many of us have been harmed by high control organizations and end the shame or stigma we might feel about our experiences.

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