Lucky! … and Suffering

Note to self:  when I pick a focus for the week, the Universe says, “Hey cool!  You want to learn from this?  Well HERE you go!”

As they often do, the focus has shifted and evolved this week.  (That’s the magic of inquiry and intent!)  I started out with “Luck isn’t what happens but how we see it” which expanded into “Expand your vision of what is happening to see the luck” to … well, then I started having a really poopie week.  Things didn’t go the way I’d hoped, I didn’t feel good, I was indecisive, and I wasn’t in the Grand Canyon with my sweetie anymore.  Craptastic.

I realized that I could be lucky and suffering at the same time.  Both can be true.  And it IS true:  the very fact that you are reading this post, evidently on some sort of World Wide Internet Web reading device, makes you one of the luckiest of the lucky on Earth.  AND sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.  I bet you have poopie days, too, days when you don’t feel so lucky.  We all do, of course, no matter how nice the house or full the cupboard or however you like to measure these things.

Does that make me an ingrate for not feeling splendiferous even though I rank in the most fortunate humans on the planet?  I would say:  Ingrate NO (at least not necessarily), Attached to Outcome YES.

Buddhist teachings remind us that the root of all suffering – ALL SUFFERING – is wanting things to be different than they are.  Think about that:  All suffering comes from wanting things to be different than they are.


You might say, “Well, hold on there, Little Miss Smartie Pants!  The world is full of injustice and tragedy and craziness that SHOULD be different than it is.  What are we to do?  Just be okay with it?”  Not at all.  We need to act and work to change the things that aren’t right.  We need to throw ourselves into doing whatever we can to make a difference, and then we have to let go of our attachment to how it all turns out.

We don’t have to start with world hunger or the national debt.  We can start with ourselves.  When I’m having a bad week and I wish I was hiking in Arizona instead of dealing with the detritus of everyday, I want things to be different than they are.  I’m attached to feeling differently than I do and I suffer (and sadly, so do those around me).  Instead, I can be with what’s happening, feel what I’m feeling without wishing it away.  I can talk about it with trusted people, I can take care of myself (I eat greens when I feel crappy and I think I ate two whole bunches of kale this week and one of spinach), I can do my best to help things shift and then I can let go.   The more I can stay with what is so, on a moment-to-moment basis, the more I can expand my vision and see the possibilities — the luckiness — in each of those moments.

So yes: I make my own luck, and the harder I work the luckier I get, and I am a lucky person if I believe I am …  and when I  don’t feel lucky (and I want to punch the Blogger of Relentless Optimism in the nose), I can pause and notice what I want to be different than it is.  Releasing my attachment to outcome can make the difference between being stuck in the crappiness and finding something new to feel lucky about.

  1. Pam Gibson said:

    Susan, your post couldn’t be more root on for me. Having moved last week to a house half the size of the previous one I was having a lot of anxiety and just general craptasticness about purging and

    • Oh Pam, the craptasticness of moving is major big. We moved into this house two years ago and we’ve still got messy disorganized places. And yet, we feel lucky in other ways, too. Sometimes it just helps to know I’m not alone and sometimes it helps to know that I can be with the luck AND the crap.

  2. Elisabeth Sloan said:

    It might be that if you shift your paradigm slightly, you might find greater clarity. Lucky might really mean “Blessed”. This would suggest a connection to a Divine Being, greater than you….
    perhaps that is where luck takes you, to realizing your true Blessings……

    • So you were the second person this morning to suggest the word “blessed” over “luck.” I hesitate to used “blessed” based on its religious connotations. And of course, being a recovering English major, I looked it up:
      bless·ed   [bles-id; blest] adjective
      1. consecrated; sacred; holy; sanctified: the Blessed Sacrament.
      2. worthy of adoration, reverence, or worship: the Blessed Trinity.
      3. divinely or supremely favored; fortunate: to be blessed with a strong, healthy body; blessed with an ability to find friends.
      4. blissfully happy or contented.
      5. Roman Catholic Church . beatified.
      I think both words imply that there is a force at work that is outside ourselves. “Luck” can feel either good or bad; “blessed” is really only positive. Either way, the importance for me is can I recognized that I AM “lucky” or “blessed”? So if “blessed works for you, definitely go for it! 🙂

  3. Jen Aultman said:

    Even though I’m not in Cville anymore, I am SO grateful that you are out there in the world, thinking and sharing these honest thoughts and spreading joy even in the midst of perceived craptasticness!

    • great to hear from you Jen! So glad to know you’re reading and that we’re connected! xo

  4. I like what you say here, Susan. Particularly “We need to act and work to change the things that aren’t right.” I’ll admit I spend a lot of time wishing things were different. But it’s one thing to wish for it and another thing to make it so.

    • It’s a trick, really. Paul Simon talks about it on his latest album: it’s about caring like crazy and working to make it different and then letting it go. As he says “So Beautiful or So What?”…

      PS We made hotel reservations for a certain weekend in May this morning!

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