Are you tired of feeling like a prisoner of the painful experiences you've endured? Is your difficult loss, heartache or setback keeping you from experiencing joy and peace? While your pain is real and justified, continuing to suffer is a choice. Listen in to learn how to release suffering - so you can live with more joy, purpose and power.Download Now
Welcome. I'm Deb shepherd. I'm your host of spirited straight talk. Thank you for joining me on this amazing spiritual journey that we call life. You're in the right place and you didn't land here by accident. My intention is to help you learn to free yourself, of things that are holding you back and create a life that truly makes your soul happy. I'll be talking about key insights and interesting topics to help you learn how to powerfully co-create with the universe. I will cover everything from turning your setbacks into triumphs. My favorite living, your soul's purpose. Of course, I'll be connecting with spirit, your guides. And the favorite one of course is your loved ones. On the other side, if you're ready to truly stop spinning circles and you're ready to harness the power to co-create a cynic life with spirit that I hope you join me every week for spirited straight talk.
Deb (1m 1s):
Hello everyone. I'm here with my favorite person, Dana, my partner in crime. And we're going to talk today about why is suffering a choice. This is a sensitive topic for me, because for over two decades, I've talked to people about grief and healing and loss and those types of things and going through all those transformations that we go through, but grief and suffering are two different animals. Put it that way. So for some individuals and this isn't judging somebody, but it's really about if your only choice of healing and healing is to suffer, that will never help you in life.
Deb (1m 46s):
So we want to say the difference between grief and suffering. Okay? And we become basically prisoners of our own suffering. When we go into our head and we have all these things about how horrible something is, and we'll repeat it over and over and over. And what we want to do is change the idea of how to heal and grieve. So part of this is, well, we've watched these programs or people have told us the stories about how someone did a horrific thing, and we want them to suffer. We want them to go to prison. And you know, my brother worked in Folsom prison for years. And so someone that commits really horrible crimes, we do want them to suffer to realize the consequences,
Dana (2m 27s):
but it's mainly because we're suffering or they've created suffering.
Deb (2m 32s):
Right. But do you want to only have the only tool in your toolbox is to suffer and always have that pain that you live your life in that arena versus realizing that suffering is, and I don't want to say it's self-inflicted, but it's realizing that you can get out of suffering so that you're not always living or reliving what happened to you in the past. Right? And whether it's from 30 years ago, two years ago, six months ago, you have a choice of how you want to get through that experience that you had.
Deb (3m 12s):
And of course, we've done podcasts where you told your story. And what we said is, or what you said is that doesn't define you. So you don't continue to suffer from what happened as a child. And we separated it. You separated. So it's an experience, but what do you do with the two? Right. And how do you realize that suffering Isn't the only way. And I, I think that people sometimes don't realize that that's the word that they're suffering, but we are going to give you some ideas of what it looks like and then how to transform that. Because bottom line, there, isn't a person that walks this planet, our earth that doesn't have some kind of past experiences that are traumatic.
Dana (3m 52s):
Right. And you're human, you're human.
Deb (3m 54s):
Yeah. Traumatic experiences. Yeah. And doing this work, I used to think, oh, poor me my story. But what I've learned through my experiences in sessions and teaching is everyone has a story. Yeah. And it really helped me realize that my story wasn't more valuable or more important than anybody else's. And you know, you've seen it where people just come and they're just, they can't even seem to get up every day and work and right. Not work mean, go do a job, but get up and have a life beyond I think.
Dana (4m 26s):
Yeah. And I think what we see as grief as one thing, but creating a place of suffering for yourself because of guilt and shame. And that seems to be where it comes from is the guilt and shame, keep you in that place of suffering Hmm.
Deb (4m 45s):
Suffering and then makes that situation more valuable. Like the more I suffer, I've had a divorce, I've had a loss of a job. I am sick with an illness. There's been a loss or a death of some sort, the suffering feels like, do you know how much pain I'm in? And I think it's still at other people know how much, but I also think it keeps you from really having a life beyond the experience. And I know for both of us, some of our goals is to show people that you can have a life beyond those experiences. And I think that's what the suffering comes up with is that you believe that you can't have anything better and you want everyone to know that how hard it is.
Dana (5m 25s):
Deb (5m 26s):
Does that make any sense? Yeah.
Dana (5m 27s):
Yeah. I think it is keeping yourself in a place of guilt shame and not creates your suffering and your place.
Deb (5m 37s):
And we talk about low vibration and that is a low vibration. And what happens when you go into suffering, you actually attract more suffering because that is your vibration. And so it validates that how you're feeling is correct, but what will you want to do? What the intention is of healing is to find a new compass, to be able to say, I can still have a purpose and a life and happiness beyond what I experienced. And I think it's shifting the mindset with that. And as we know that shame and guilt are low vibrations, joy and happiness are higher vibrations, but then people feel guilty if they have joy in happiness, when they've had such a significant experience in life.
Deb (6m 22s):
So that's what really, we want to help people change that story for them. And I think the biggest thing is not retelling your story over and over and over or finding the purpose from your story. So for me, it's been with so much suicide in my life. I've decided to help people understand mental health, be able to understand that suicide and those things that we think it defines us or that we bring in the guilt and shame that there is something that we can do by paying forward to, by changing that. And of course we know our friend, Julie, and she lost her daughter from SUDEP.
Deb (7m 2s):
Dana (7m 3s):
And she created the Chelsea Hutchison foundation,
Deb (7m 7s):
Dana (7m 8s):
to number one to honor her daughter. But because she was not educated that her daughter had a chance of dying from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, she wants to educate the world about SUDEP. Right. And SUDEP can be, while you're sleeping, it can be while you're awake. It's just a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. So anybody who has epilepsy has that risk
Deb (7m 36s):
and the doctors told her that she wasn't going to ha that wasn't going to happen.
Dana (7m 40s):
Deb (7m 41s):
And so what she found through the loss of her daughter, which is traumatic and, you know, watching the story and understanding it, Julie and her family has become pioneers and educating and changing. I mean, they, they do seizure response dogs, they do monitors. They there's so many things that they do to help people. So she took tragedy and changed it into
Dana (8m 6s):
she's changing other people's lives
Deb (8m 8s):
families. Yeah, absolutely. So when you go through these experiences, are you willing to take that and change the lives of others from what you experienced versus suffering to the degree of not being able to do anything with your life?
Dana (8m 23s):
Deb (8m 24s):
And so that's what Julie found. She found another purpose and I wish we never met her. I wish that her daughter was here. I wish that, you know, there wasn't this foundation, but it happened. And then what are you doing with your experiences? What are you doing to educate others or to teach others? And that's one way to really make a change versus suffering is empowering other people to understand
Dana (8m 47s):
it doesn't mean that people aren't going to grieve, right.
Deb (8m 50s):
Oh, grief is different than suffering.
Dana (8m 52s):
That means that they don't stay in, in that place for a consistent amount of time. They, you may go there. You may have the grief grief may never go away.
Deb (9m 6s):
And so it's supposed to go away. So for Julie and her family, it will be a constant reminder of the loss of their daughter and their, and their sister and their friend. But that's different when you're grieving versus suffering, where you cannot find a life or a purpose beyond that. And my heart goes out to individuals who have, of course, very children, but what are you going to do from that loss of that child? So it's also with people with sexual assault. You know, for me, I've talked about my husband's suicide, my family members, cousins, friends, those are things like that. And also with sexual assault, we know we now have the hashtag me too movement.
Dana (9m 50s):
And so you were a victim of sexual assault.
Deb (9m 52s):
Absolutely. So it's,
Dana (9m 54s):
and so you've had, you've had many traumatic experiences in your life as well. I mean, several different types of traumatic.
Deb (10m 3s):
I think what's the big thing for you and I, that we've tried to talk about over this time is not to let it define you that you're beyond those painful experiences. They're much more than what happened to you. So how do you find value in those past experiences? Don't continue to be the victim of those circumstances. And I think that's the key is those things have happened. They're horrific, but don't let them still have your power. Right. And I think we still give them the story or the power so that we still feel like we're that victim in that scenario. And that's the suffering piece.
Dana (10m 37s):
Do you think some people choose to suffer and choose to play their story over and over again? Or do you think it's more that they're just stuck in that and can't get themselves out of it?
Deb (10m 49s):
I think there's a combination of layers to this. So first of all, their story becomes a value that they can not do certain things because of what happened to them. And I do understand that PTSD and certain things do have a situation where some people can't do certain things because of the past. I get that. I respect that. I, I give them value for that, but your life isn't still just that. And so how do you work the tools? I also feel like some people only have one tool in their toolbox versus multiple tools. And so having grief, having sorrow going back and reflecting is one thing, but does it consume you and do you become addicted to the suffering?
Deb (11m 35s):
And that's what we talk about a lot. Are you addicted to that story?
Dana (11m 39s):
Yeah. And not that, I mean, we see this occasionally, not that it's the main point, but I think people choose to suffer sometimes because of what they get from others.
Deb (11m 52s):
A hundred percent, as I said, there's so many layers to it. Like, please see, please give to me, take care of me. See my value because of what I've gone through. Instead of saying, this has happened to me, but I want to, it's almost like coming out of the cocoon and having that rebirth and saying these things happen to me, but it doesn't define me.
Dana (12m 14s):
So one of the, one of the things I want to share about this is something we've talked about in a quote that you like, correct is you are not your actions. You are not a prisoner of your mistakes. It's a self-imposed prison. And when we hold on to guilt and shame, but the keys to escape are within you. Correct. So let go of the past, forgive yourself, learn from it and move on.
Deb (12m 39s):
You know, in your office, you have the door and we have all these keys around your door and what,
Dana (12m 44s):
we actually have a door as artwork in my office. And it's surrounded by keys and door knobs.
Deb (12m 51s):
Yeah. And then it's like many doors will open a society, whether you're going to open a different door than your story. And I think we do in prison ourselves, and we lock the door to what happened. And so we were we're in prison. And guess what? You don't have to be in prison with that story. It's it's like, do you have the keys? You may not want to unlock it. You may not want to move forward. You may not feel like you can. But trust me, there are people that have suffered so much that still are able to walk this earth and make a change. One of my favorite examples of course, is Nelson Mandela. And do you remember what he said when he, when he left prison, you want to talk about his quote?
Deb (13m 32s):
Sure. Cause I really love what he said. Cause we're talking about the doors.
Dana (13m 36s):
Yeah. So this is Nelson Mandela. As I walked out the door toward the gate, that would lead to my freedom. I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.
Deb (13m 47s):
And that's exactly it. He, he left prison, but he knew that he could not still be in prison. And that's what I think we do in our suffering is we stay in a place of suffering instead of seeing other possibilities.
Dana (14m 4s):
I think it becomes comfortable for some
Deb (14m 6s):
thank you. That's where I was going to go. Yes, absolutely. The suffering becomes comfortable and we don't want to get out of our comfort zone. And of course in all my classes that I teach with, especially the solutions program is getting people out of their comfort zone. Because even if it's painful, it's pain, we understand. And that's why we attract very similar relationships. And that's the, the law of attraction. So if you're suffering, you will attract stories of people suffering that will add to your story.
Dana (14m 37s):
And there's a lot of you feel guilty, right? If we're in grief, we feel guilty by moving forward and having joy and happiness. It's, it's the whole guilt and shame thing that comes back up again.
Deb (14m 48s):
It's a cycle. Yeah. And we seem that we can't get off the merry-go-round some of the things that I've done in my classes and you know, you've been to all my classes or seen me is about how we tell our story and we enjoy, we take passion and actually telling our story of what happened to us. I used to be this way and there's times where I still will go like, this is what happened to me, but we put so much value our identity into it. That it becomes just like, I think part of it is almost a shock value. This is what happened to me. So what I think is important and this is how we change our behavior. So if the suffering and you don't realize it, and you're constantly going in and closing that door and not using a key to open up, to try new things, it's understanding the vibration of the energy you're using.
Deb (15m 36s):
So if you're telling the story a lot to people, this is what my recommendation is. This is how you change it. And one of them is to record the story, tell the story on your phone, record it. And guess what? Listen to it several times a day and basically make you throw up. I would say, have you ever been drunk on something or had food poisoning? That's what it feels like when you tell your story, you're releasing that energy, but that person then takes on it and you feel good because someone has empathy and compassion. So you actually feel and get stuff from it, knowing that yes, you have been suffering and yes, you have a reason to go there. But when you record it and listen to it yourself, you'll realize what you're telling the universe.
Deb (16m 21s):
And the more you listen to it, the more you don't want to have that story.
Dana (16m 25s):
Yeah. And this isn't for, obviously you want to share your story with people. It's not that you can't talk about what's happened to you, but in what context are you sharing that story? Are you sharing your story like I struggled being able to tell my story because I didn't want the pity. I didn't want, there were things that I didn't want to experience. And I don't, I actually get very uncomfortable with people giving me empathy when I tell my story. I don't, I know it's really hard. It's hard to accept that. But I feel like there are people who retell their story over and over again, that feed off of that.
Deb (17m 7s):
It almost creates a momentum. Oh, I'm so sorry. It creates that feeling of, yes, you're correct. That person shouldn't have done that to you. And what we want to happen is we want that other person to suffer, which is why we think about, I want them to be in prison. I want them to feel miserable. What happens is that person or that situation has moved on. You're the one suffering. You're the one that's allowing that person to make you suffer because what they did to you, you're still saying, yes, I'm still suffering.
Dana (17m 39s):
Still giving them power,
Deb (17m 40s):
still giving them power. Yeah. So repeating the story is who w what power do you want behind that? And again, there's nothing wrong with sharing the story when we both share our stories, but it's also important not to suffer from that story. It's like, this is an experience. This is what happened to me. But I, this is where I am today that doesn't define me. And none of us are pioneers when it comes to divorce, changing jobs, getting through an illness, moving, whatever the logic is, this is not new. We've all been through it. And I always joke with people like when they go, well, I'm getting divorced. My kids are here and I'm really worried. I'm like, you're not a pioneer, you know, it's happened before you. And not that I don't have empathy and compassion.
Deb (18m 22s):
What it means though, is there's so much, like you said, guilt and shame again with that story versus thank goodness you're showing your kids that happiness and devotion to yourself and all those things are more important than what you were going through. Yeah. So one of the biggest things I think is difficult is when we're going up, and this is another thing I want to talk about is change. And this is goes along with, how do you make, how do you change the suffering? And when we grow up, we have this idea of what life should look like. We may go to college, you may have a careers. We may get married and have children. So we have this fantasy idea, but through all life there's always change. Nothing is concrete changes, inevitable.
Deb (19m 5s):
But most of us, like you said earlier, we want to be comfortable. Even the suffering becomes comfortable. So are we willing to seek change or do we want to stay where it's comfortable with suffering and pain and those kinds of things. But I look in the mirror and go really I'm changing again. We do. We, you know, we change life is going to change. The weather changes, life changes, the earth changes. And it's, it's going to the place of embracing that things are going to change. And are we okay with leaning into that? And I always like to talk about how do we start embracing change? I mean, I mean, you live with me and I, I kind of made you crazy.
Deb (19m 44s):
Dana (20m 14s):
yeah, we do too.
Deb (20m 15s):
Yeah. I mean, whenever there's fish and chips, where do I do this?
Dana (20m 19s):
Your fish and chips versus can you try, even if you're on a diet,
Deb (20m 24s):
especially when I'm on a diet or a cleanse, but you know, I think part of it is can, are we willing to expose ourselves to something different that might bring us the ability to see life differently? I know when people come to a psychic or medium, there's a lot of fear. Yeah. Always. And for some people seeing scenes seeing me, we prepare them so that they're comfortable because they're even think about, maybe I shouldn't do this, whatever the belief is versus thinking his life as an experience. So I know I love to ride horses and I got you to, to take it.
Dana (20m 59s):
Yeah. Which was one of the best experiences I've had ever. I took lessons, riding horses so that we could ride together and I loved it. You good? I would like to do it more, but I had a fear around it and learning to groom them and not be afraid of this big animal, this gentle they are. And it's just, wow. Yeah. Yeah. But it's incredible.
Deb (21m 27s):
As we age, especially people don't want to try anything new or different. They get really in their comfort zone. They, again, that's closing the door, locking the door and saying, this is my world. And I've heard people say, well, I don't do that. Or I'm not comfortable doing that. Or especially when I try to get someone to go out dating for the first time I get on, get on a site and they go, I'm not comfortable. I'm never gonna do that. And I'm like, oh geez, the whole fear.
Dana (21m 52s):
It's just getting through the fears that you have to meet somebody now on a dating site. It's put yourself out there, tell the universe and get through that fear of putting yourself out. It's an easy non-threatening way to do it.
Deb (22m 6s):
But people get so worked up. I'm like, it's just an app. I had to no threat to it. I had someone tell me today, like you really like your apps, don't you? And I'm like, I kind of laughed. Like, yeah, because I think in this day and age, I mean me growing up, if anyone is my age, I'm gonna be 62 next month, April, you know, we had a phone that had, it was a party line. No, we were outside playing for hours on hours. We drank out of the hose. It was, you know, we only had three channels on the TV. Now we have so much access to the world, but we still are in fear of accessing the world, which is really that limiting belief again about, I want, I'd rather suffer than find a partner or I want to suffer versus finding happiness.
Deb (22m 52s):
And that really is a choice you're choosing to suffer versus finding happiness from your story. And I think that's the big thing. This is what I thought about too. As another idea is we talked about fake it till you make it right. But part of it is when you just fake a smile, it does change your energy. And I think it takes, it changes. People's I guess it takes from what I read less muscles to smile than it is to frown.
Dana (23m 20s):
I think also if you smile at somebody, it not only changes your energy, but it changes there's
Deb (23m 37s):
you, you want to be careful with that, but you and I went to the other day, dude, we turned some stuff in from Amazon. It was at Kohl's and we walked up and customer services. These can be a little bit valid, challenging, but we walk up and he goes, hi, how you doing? Great to see you? What can I do for you? I'm like, wow. I said, really, you know, you've got great. So I said to her and you were there and she goes, well, you know, some people have a bad day and I just want people to know that I'm here. That to me, we said to her, thank you because really why can't you just smile and fake it and let people know that you're okay. And be able for people to say, oh, I got a smile today and not make it weird. I know another time that you and I, this, which is less than a month ago, we were in another shopping area.
Deb (24m 23s):
And there's a homeless man sitting between home goods. You remember this and target and we didn't have any cash on us to give to him, but he S he flashed the peace sign and I smiled back and I flashed the peace sign. Do you remember that? And he goes, no one has done that in return. And he had this huge smile on his face for someone that acknowledged that existed and didn't shame him, or, well, we don't know his backstory and the fact that
Dana (24m 52s):
he was just a guy sitting on a bench and you knew he was homeless. Yeah, absolutely kindness. And I showed kindness and he just says, no one has done that. And he said, you made my day, not like probably made his mug.
Deb (25m 6s):
And it's not like who, who said you made a make my day. That's the Clint Eastwood. It wasn't, that kind of make my day. But to when you, when you're really suffering, if you're really in a hard place, when you help other people feel better about their life, it doesn't rich yours.
Dana (25m 22s):
Do you remember the guy in the McDonald's line? Oh, yes. Yelling at me.
Deb (25m 27s):
I think we've told the story on the podcast before, but tell it again.
Dana (25m 31s):
It just popped up in my head. It's so we were in line to grab a drink or something after McDonald's anyway. So we were in line cause it was convenient and there was a guy behind us. I was, I was actually, we were parked and I was looking at my phone. I do not look at my phone when I'm driving. I GPS, I put it away. Yeah. So, but we were, we were not driving. So yeah, we were in a long McDonald's line. So I was looking at my phone and he yelled as loud as he could from two cars behind us, put down your phone anyway.
Dana (26m 11s):
So he yelled that then proceeded to like, make all kinds of Lou gestures. And there was no reason for this. We had never seen this guy before in our lives. So he continued to do this and make gestures and flip me off and all that. And I'm just looking at him. He could see me looking at him probably through the mirror, but I wasn't really giving him any energy. And we get up to pay there's two windows, one to pay when you get your order. Right. So we get up to pay and I asked what his order was. So we paid for his order. Clearly he needed some help. He more than just a, already to brighten his day somehow.
Dana (26m 51s):
And yeah, he was a jerk, but maybe it saved him from going home and saying horrible things, horrible things to his partner or whatever. So, so yeah, I mean it just, yeah.
Deb (27m 4s):
And, and we've been sending you to see, but we took off and he got us mail. It was paid for. So we were both very curious what his shift was and that energy, if there was even a shift, you know, you know, and I think there has to be something in a human that says, wow, why should I have done that? And maybe I need to rethink it. But I think it's when you pay forward and not take the energy of being angry, it can help other people unless that ripple effect and you will get it in return. Because when we had that homeless guy said, you made my day, no one has done that. It, it really hit my heart. And we do a lot of things for people. But when it comes to that situation and I want to go back, cause we got some cash, so I can go back and give it to him.
Deb (27m 49s):
And he wasn't, he was there.But the fact that I did the piece, just, he just smiled. And he just said, thank you. And this the same thing, it's just like, what are you doing with your life? And the pain of others in the pain? What are you doing with your pain? And it really is about one of the other things I wanted to talk about is when you smile, it's really about transforming your life. But when you help other people and it transforms them, that does make a difference for you and fills your bucket. It fills your bucket. Like when we talk about Julie or anyone that we know that chooses to make a difference from their experiences, people do heal from it.
Deb (28m 28s):
There is a value to your story, but maybe not in the suffering, but how do you help people through what you've been through?
Dana (28m 37s):
So you're raising your vibration and you're raising their vibration, which helps the world.
Deb (28m 43s):
Yeah. And I think the biggest thing is you're suffering. It's not going to make a difference at all. And so part of it is, do you want a pity party? Or do you want a fun party? If you sound invitations to people and said, I'm having a pity party come, how many people would really want to join? Right? Yeah. This isn't take away from your grief, your losses, the things that are difficult. This is about having only one tool that says I'm only going to suffer through this, began to make changes. And I know this is kind of redundant, but again, listening to your story, giving back that your story is much more than what happened to you a year ago, six months ago, 20 years ago, 40 years ago, whatever the story is, it's not important for you to make it more important.
Deb (29m 32s):
And I think the biggest thing that I want to say, you know, people say that, you know, I'm broken. I might I'd love the same. You're bent, not broken, you're broken. You're just, you've had some experiences that bruise us, but those things can be healed. And the people that I want to be around are the people that have been through difficult, horrible life-changing situations, but they come out of it to be able to help the world and tell their story. No one wants to listen to a story that you're still living it 20 years later, they want to hear what you did to overcome it, because that empowers people.
Deb (30m 12s):
It does with all of this it's to really change your mindset, to realize that you have the power within you to change the way you are living in grieving. It is that you do have the keys to open doors, to other types of living other experiences. And when you open yourself up to those things, the world, what do they say the world is your oyster. I don't know if that's still true. Yeah, but it's how do you realize that there's so much more than, than what happened in the past. And again, it is a choice to suffer and it's a choice to be able to heal live life, be a leader for others, showing other people that you can get through this versus living in the, I keep getting like this swampy kind of low energy who wants to live in that.
Deb (31m 7s):
And you get to decide how you want to go about this. You and I have had a lots of life experiences that we've shared, but we also want and believe that there's more to life than those things. Do you agree? As long as you agree with me, I'm really great, but it's finding others that are like-minded, it's finding a community that you can feel supported and also be able to support others, do not become consumed in that story in the suffering is a choice. Grief is grief, but you don't have to live in suffering, which are two different things. I hope that this podcast will really help you understand that there are choices you don't have to live in that make a choice to change.
Deb (31m 52s):
Thank you for joining us once again.
Dana (31m 55s):
Thank you so much for listening to the show. Each Monday is a new episode of spirited straight talk. Make sure you hit follow. So you don't miss any of the guidance or bonus episodes. Your experience at the show means a lot to us, and we would love for you to leave a review or let us know about more topics you would like to explore. You can also follow Deb on social media and connect with her firstname.lastname@example.org. That's Deb S H E P P a R d.com. If you want to join dev on one of the shows or have a reading from her on the show, you can submit a request on the podcast page of her website. Thank you again and see you next week.