Ok, so we've flipped the calendar to March... That means it's finally over, right? This nasty Winter must be over. We can put away the coats, and hats, and gloves? The gray sky is contractually forbidden from the color palette of March, right? No more ice??? Not hardly. My kids are gearing up for the possibility of a SEVENTH snow day this week, and we live where it hardly ever snows!! Will the suffering end? It just keeps hanging on...
As a child growing up in New Orleans, late February/early March meant something altogether different. There would be absolutely no snow days there. After Mardi Gras, it meant two things: lots of McDonald's filet-o-fishes and no chocolate. Lent, for those of us in Catholic schools, meant giving things up like candy and meat on Fridays, and filling cardboard boxes that we called “rice bowls” full of pennies for the poor. As children we didn't really "get it," but we did as we were told: 40 days of purifying our souls... and eating filet-o-fish.
Those days are long gone, but my appreciation for self-reflection remains. Instead of giving up chocolate, I focus on what needs to go in my life. What is it about me that is negative, or causes suffering, that I need to let go of for the betterment of those around me? What flaw is causing me suffering, or more importantly, causing suffering to others?
I listened to something from spiritual philosopher, Richard Rhor, recently that struck a chord. He said, “If you don't transform your suffering you will transmit it." When we cling to suffering or when we refuse to let go of parts of ourselves that we know serve no purpose, we stifle the Good we are capable of creating, and we pass along our suffering to other people. We more than likely transmit it unconsciously, but we do it nonetheless.
Whether we are non-believers, religious, spiritual, or somewhere in between, we have flaws we can afford to lose. Something is impeding the GOOD we can manifest. Is it constant complaining? A bad temper? Chronic lateness? Is it an unhealthy behavior or addiction? Negative thinking? Are we selfish? Or is it indifference to other people, and indifference to Life?