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August 28, 2017

How to Suffer Well

“I found treasure…not where I thought”
(Depeche Mode, “Suffer Well”)


While it’s not a cheery topic to discuss, suffering is universal. Whether it’s chronic pain, or grieving a loss, or straining through painful relationships, everyone suffers at some point.


This week’s Daily Pauses are dedicated to suffering. We’re going to look at the Five Best Ways to Suffer Well. That may sound crazy, but it is actually possible. And here’s the best way to begin: Learn to acknowledge it. You’ve tried to rid yourself of your suffering, but it’s still with you. So, try to acknowledge its presence, and its power.


Imagine you’re on a long trip, with a companion you cannot stand, but cannot get rid of. We can fight against these realities, and we often do, but at some point we have to acknowledge them. I’ll start:


Since about the time I turned 21, I have suffered through chronic physical pain, stemming from a badly formed back. Last week I learned I need a third back surgery (after getting a new hip just eight months ago). Every day, there are times when I simply cannot find a comfortable position to sit, stand, or lie in. This situation has cost me massive amounts of energy, time, relationship joy, and money.


I acknowledge these realities. I am constantly learning how to manage them, but I cannot deny them.


Now, it’s your turn. What are you suffering through right now? What’s your pain? Are you grieving? Are your kids really struggling? Are you working in a toxic environment? Is debt threatening your financial life?


Breathe in, and exhale your acknowledgment of this reality.


Peace begins with pause,



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