For as much joy as holidays can bring, some people are suffering. This includes children.
The perception that we can avoid suffering is erroneous. Suffering deepens and softens us. Suffering changes us and molds our character. The good news is we get to work with it or against it.
When we observe our breath, we feel soothed on many levels. This seems like a simple remedy, but it is powerful. This pause where we bring awareness to our breath helps to regulate our pain. Then we can acknowledge our feelings and be with our suffering. Breath helps us move through our discomfort with some ease and transmute suffering into something beautiful.
You can see this is true in the faces of those who have experienced their own times of suffering. You can catch a glimmer in the radiance they emit and the serenity they possess.
Children need to know that suffering is part of the human experience. We can try to avoid it, but it will invariably call our name.
Teach children this truth. All of us experience suffering in our lives. We can let it debilitate us or strengthen us.
Let them know it’s okay to reach out to others in their time of need. Reinforce that it is okay to cry. It’s okay to feel sad. Assure them they are not alone and that pain passes. This occurs, as the saying goes, “Sometimes quickly. Sometimes slowly.”
Let us accept our individual suffering as a tribute to our humanity and know that most difficulties have the potential for healing and increase our level of compassion and love.