Joy and suffering. Pleasure and pain. Laughter and tears. Sometimes life is really very full on. Sometimes you might feel that you’re swirling around, out of control, in a tidal wave of life. Sometimes your loved ones may be under threat, your sanity in tatters and your heart in your boots. The playground of life really can be very challenging. I know some of you feel it, and there are a couple of specific people I’m thinking of just right now. If you read this you’ll know who you are. If you’re in that space now, and it’s years on, this is still for you too.

Firstly it’s worth tuning in to your suffering to find out what it is. Where is it in your body? How deeply do you ache? Is there a pragmatic way around this, or do you have to go through? And if you have to go through, go through you must.

You know that feeling that you just couldn’t make up the suffering and life stuff that you’re in. That it’s throwing you around like a rag doll. My heart goes out to you. It really is tough.

If you find yourself wired to the moon, howling in the rain or just plain lost. Breathe on. Breathe down. And breathe out. Rest, and as you do, see yourself as a mountain, your body as the curves of the hills. Feel the weight of the mountain in your body. Your indivisibility to the earth.

When something big happens, like when a loved one is ill, you need time to honour what is alive in you and what you want to give. What your heart wants most. Not their wellness, nor their healing, but what is most alive in this moment. It’s hard to find the sense of preciousness as you watch others suffer, unable to take away their pain or make it ‘all ok’. But underneath the pain, your pain and their pain, is somewhere else. Underneath all that, if you can go through it there is a very alive and really precious moment, where it might not be what you ‘want’, but it is where you can find infinite tenderness.

Even the greatest tragedy offers up moments of bliss…. If you let yourself suffer enough through it to become present. That’s the hardest part. You have to be brave, too brave.

And finally, if you can, laugh about it. If you can find it within you, have a wry snigger, a furtive giggle or a good old belly laugh at the universe’s ability to send you some really tasty morsels of suffering. Joy and suffering. Pleasure and pain. Laughter and tears.