“I am the way into the city of woe,

I am the way into eternal pain,

I am the way to go among the lost.

Justice caused my high architect to move,

Divine omnipotence created me,

The highest wisdom, and the primal love.

Before me there were no created things

But those that last forever—as do I.

Abandon all hope you who enter here.”

Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Every once in awhile you make a seriously wrong turn in your life and end up in considerable pain.

Because you are in fact divinely loved, in the depths of your misery you will want to be comforted by the fact that torment is actually not God’s will for you.

Nowhere in any spiritual text does it read, “Thou shalt suffer.”

No, in fact God’s will for you is actually perfect happiness.

It’s just sometimes we forget and end up thrashing against our higher nature.

Here are two good ways to get out of hell without really trying:

  1. The 2 percent solution. I like this approach because often we feel so completely stuck no relief even seems possible. Your head throbs. You’re hanging on to the toilet bowl ready to heave. You hate your job, can’t stand your life and it seems there’s no point to putting up with any of it. So ask yourself a simple question: “If I could make my life 2 percent easier right now, what would I do differently?” You make an infinitesimal shift, so small, so easy, so completely effortless it’s almost like you’re not really even trying. Make a choice that requires virtually no effort. You take a right turn instead of a left. You stop crossing your legs and sit up straight for a second. You exercise 1 minute, not 1 hour. You count to 1 and then start swearing. You eat 1 less bite of food. You take 1 deep breath. You do 1 stretch. Just by taking one teeny weeny step, you come to realize that you can make yourself feel that much better. And when you recognize that you can make yourself feel even a bit more comfortable you create the space for miracles to occur. You create a crack of hope. You get a glimpse of another possibility.
  2. Take your power back.  While you are sitting there aching in agony, in your mind, between your ears, ask yourself another simple question. “Where oh where did I give my power away?” You may not even recognize that you did this. Did you drink the Koolaid and believe your diagnosis, giving your power away to your doctor? Maybe you gave your power away to your mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, boss, employee – somebody who told you something about yourself and you believed them? It was so long ago and so subtle that you never even recognized at the time what happened. Where, pray tell, did you drop your personal capacity to be in charge of your own life? When you recognize it, take your power back. When you take your power back you can take your life back. You get to decide who you are, what you should be when you grow up, your very experience of every moment. You are actually in charge. You get to name it, own it, buy it or not. In your mind’s eye, when you see the person, situation, where you gave your power away call on the strength of your soul and pull your power back all the way into yourself. Instead of an inch, this second approach may provide a humongous leap forward.

What is healing? Healing happens when you recognize that hell on earth is an experience you get to choose or not. The world can be a beautiful place when you choose to choose a different way of being.