“I am training myself to be a sommelier of suffering, not to increase the intensity of suffering, but so that I can not view myself as this independent island of flaws, but rather this interconnected human who has the capacity to sympathize and empathize because no one has a monopoly on suffering.
And as someone said to me at some point, everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. And by going into suffering with a somewhat neutral awareness or a curiosity, it cannot but make you closer to your fellow humans, I think if you learn to navigate it. And we’re all going to face the death of loved ones, we’re all going to face different types of trauma, we’re all going to face betrayal, we’re all going to face these common ingredients of the human experience.
And for me, I suppose the podcast and the writing has been a lifeline as well, because I can take my experience and hopefully transmute it into something that is of service to other people. And I can find some redemption in that, right? I can find some meaning in it, as opposed to these memories and the traumas that are stored somatically being this meaningless infliction of anguish and horror and disgust, I can somehow translate that into something that is positive for someone.”
Those words were not said by me… but by Tim Ferriss.
They’re especially meaningful to me, because in the first episode of the podcast *I* recently launched -- The Work Of The Empath -- I say outright that (my experience of) the work of the empath is to transmute suffering.
Tim's episode is nearly 2.5 hours long, and talks about his (weekly) experience of sexual trauma from the ages of 2 to 4.
In an odd way, it almost seems like the height of his considerable accomplishments, might match the depth of his considerable pain.
I’m encouraged by his bravery, and also by the capacity of his listeners to ingest deep, long-form, transformative media.
Statistically, many of you will know childhood sexual trauma first-hand… with predators both outside, and inside, one’s own family.
My heart aches for each of you, and all who have ever been unlovingly touched. This post is filled with helpful, healing resources:
The question "How are you?" is PROFOUND.
But it has been watered-down to a synonym for "Hello."
Forced or fake auto-responses of obligated okay-ness are expected.
(And if you are going through something tragic, it really doesn't matter! Every social encounter OPENS with this well-established Ritual of Insincerity.)
The question "How are you?" prompts an answer that begins with "I AM _____________."
This means many times each day, you are invited to SPEAK THE MOST POWERFUL STATEMENT that can be spoken of yourself.
And the socially-expected thing to do, is be QUICK + SLICK with your answer.
For a change... TAKE YOUR TIME, and tell your truth. ✍🏾