They are typically heavy and made up of things that we do not wish to carry. But once we are thankfully relieved of whatever burden we are carrying, a huge sense of relief washes over us doesn’t it!! “Well, thank GOD, that is all over. Now I can get back to [fill in the blank].”
But do we? Do we actually just revert to our old selves? I would like to think that we don’t. That carrying a burden teaches us something important about ourselves and world around us. Perhaps it makes us keenly aware of our lack of patience, or maybe it made you realize that you can do hard things and that you can rely on someone more that you thought possible.
Burdens then if we look at them this way, can be heavy and painful but are most likely our greatest teachers. If we lived a life without them and were constantly #happy, what would be the damn point of anything? We need to feel like we are moving forward, that we are creators and that we are useful.
For example, when a friend needs help, we want to be there to help carry that burden. We say things like “call me if you need anything or let me know if I can help!” and although it is super rare, how happy are we when they do call. How easy it is for us to run to help save someone we love? It’s a pride filled moment when you realize that your friends love you so much that they are willing to be vulnerable with you. It is these types of burdens that we enjoy taking on.
We see past the horrible wrapping and focus only on the precious gift. The gift of trust.
Imagine now, carrying this gift and being so in love with the people around you, that you are willing to share it. In other words, what if the gift inside was worth more than the burden of carrying it and unwrapping it?
We see this in many forms everyday. Activism is an excellent example of a burden carried for the sake of the gift. Some could argue that parenthood is another great example of a heavy burden carried for the sake of a beautiful gift. All a big huge check-mark for everyone! Yay us!
But what about the burdens we carry that we don’t ask for or invite? What then? Not so easy to see the gift in these things is it? We are too busy looking at the ugly wrapping to think about what is inside. It’s reminds me of that scene in Harry Potters The Philosopher's Stone when Dudley complains about only receiving 36 gifts instead of 37.
Unfortunately, We can all be Dudley. We can be so focussed on all the negative that we refuse to see the worth in working through it. So how do we change this energy? I think we have three ways of starting:
Drop the Attitude and be Compassionate We get it. It sucks. No one likes to do shit they hate. But guess what, we all do. So instead of being Dudley..be Harry. Give yourself a damn break. This is a burden you have to bear and know that you are going to hate doing it. Know that you are going to complain and be angry and perhaps a touch snippy to those around you. I am certainly not saying you need to be that asshole in Office Space “Sombody has a case of the Mondays!” There is no need to fake it till you make it. As you know I have a deep seated hatred for #happy. I’m just saying be aware. And frankly, put on some grownup pants and deal. Yes it will be hard, and painful and heartbreaking perhaps. You are going to stumble, you may make mistakes, but you will wake up in the morning with a chance to be better. You got this!
Begin with a Learners Heart This ugly wrapping paper will be long gone one day and you will be left with a wonderful gift. A gift, that if you begin with a learners heart, will flourish and nourish you as you journey through the remains of this burden and all those that follow. If you would like to know more about building a foundation with a learners heart check out this blog post. You may learn something that not only helps in times of trouble but also serves you in times of calm. A learners heart is open, vulnerable, compassionate and brave.
Share your struggle with people you love. Nothing needs to be done alone. As they say “it takes a village to raise a child” well it takes a bottle of wine and a couple friends to help carry any trouble. Share the gift of this burden with the people you love. By doing so, you show them that you trust them and that is the greatest gift of all. Combine this with your learners heart and a touch of compassion..you can literally take on anything that comes your way.
Photo by Chris Moore on Unsplash