Do some conditions and circumstances carry more weight than others?

Some circumstances carry more weight than others.

Or at least we think they do.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” — Nora Ephron

Hey there, beautiful human. How are you dancing today through your busy, messy, sometimes easy, sometimes baffling, and sometimes just really hard life? Are you meeting yourself where you’re at, or are you agonizing over circumstances that you find just too hard to accept? Like chronic pain, for example?

“The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable.” — Paul Tillich

When conditions stop you, or scare you, or just plain make you want to stomp your feet and say “No! Not this, no way,” it can feel like your access to joy, grace, and ease is blocked. Clarity gives way to confusion, and peace of mind feels like an impossible goal.

Take my physical body for example.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” — Nido Qubein

I’m in my 60s, and I get to walk around, greet the world, and do my work in a changing, battle-scarred body.

  • I’ve had some scary health issues for years, and this year brought my first-ever ambulance rides, visits to the emergency department, and now a series of tests to try and diagnose what’s going on.
  • I walk around in a body that has seemingly outlived some of its parts (I lost a fractured tooth at the end of last year, which has been really difficult for my vanity). I will say that it’s been hard to feel good about this particular circumstance. Unwilling to spend $6,000 on an implant has left me walking around with a gap in my mouth about which I am wildly self-conscious.
  • Living heedless of my own safety and that of others for as long as I did has left me with some long-term gifts: spinal stenosis, shredded ligaments, repetitive strain injuries, and more (a condition labeled chronic pain, or fibromyalgia pain, by my doctors).

Chronic pain is a hard one.

But what if that’s the good news?

Here’s what I think: when something that makes you feel so victimized and so weighed down by fear and worry and resentment can be met as it is, when you can meet yourself where you’re at with a sense of ease and perspective, miracles can happen.

I heard this decades ago in a 12-step meeting:

If we all put our problems (a.k.a. circumstances) in the center of this table, I promise you that you would pick up your own problems on the way out the door. (Think about it.)

This story is a reminder that things could always be worse.

“To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” — Confucious

I was recently interviewed for a podcast, and I recounted some of the mishaps that caused spinal stenosis in my body:

  • Driving on the wrong side of the road after being up for four days on amphetamines. I crested a hill, hit a parked car head-on, and totaled both cars. I took the steering wheel to my chin, nearly biting my tongue in half.
  • Driving four blocks out of my way on Quaaludes and alcohol, hitting a parked car head on (on the wrong side of the street); this time I took the steering wheel to my neck and smashed two fingers into the dashboard (this was in the 70s and those fingers hurt to this day). Totaled both cars again.
  • Fell out of a tree on LSD, landed on my head, and refused to be seen at the hospital (checked myself out of the emergency room against medical advice).

The podcast host (whose eyes were bugging out of his head just a bit) said “Well, at least you didn’t kill anybody.” That’s right, I didn’t kill anybody. But I could have. And that’s really important to remember. I could’ve killed someone. It could’ve been worse. It could have been much worse.

We all get a plate.

We all get a plate, and on that plate are the jewels through which we can transform ourselves. Life has no shortage of growth opportunities.

My plate — sometimes it feels like it’s overflowing with circumstances that are challenging, scary, and just plain tiring.

Some days my plate pisses me off and weighs me down.

Some days what’s on my plate seems completely irrelevant to my level of joyful engagement with my life, my loved ones, and my work.

Some days it just feels like a dance, and I get to step lightly, move freely, let the music move through me, even when the choreography is unpredictable and unfamiliar.

Register for the free call:

How are you dancing with / moving through / meeting your circumstances?

“The challenge is not to be perfect…it’s to be whole.” — Jane Fonda

If you too have chronic pain, or recurring challenging pain, or any kind of dis-ease, I invite you to join me and my friend Damian Mark Smyth on a free call on Monday, March 19th, at 10 a.m. Pacific — Chronic Pain: Leveling the Playing Field.

On the call, you’ll be invited to share your own experiences of dealing with chronic pain. If you’ve been wondering how to increase your sense of “living” — feeling happy, joyful, and free — and step away from feeling that life is mostly about “enduring,” “struggling,” and “suffering,” this call is for you.

Register for the free call here. See you then.


I’m Sue Kearney, seasoned and sage mentor, holding a lantern at the crossroads for women in the third third of life.

Branding and web design.
Are you in the transformation biz? Are you helping your clients reach their goals and change their lives for the better? Let’s work together to uplevel your brand and website so that you can fill your practice and thrive in your business.

Coaching and mentorship.
Even women who know how to survive and thrive can feel stopped and discouraged — our culture doesn’t really know how to celebrate sage and seasoned women as beautiful and valuable. Even though you are!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Originally published on on March 11, 2018.

Dreaming up a recipe or two!

I’m Sue Kearney, seasoned and sage mentor, holding a lantern at the crossroads for women in the third third of life. I’m a longtime maker and happy to share that knowledge.

In my work as a coach, I look with you at what’s stopping you, and I point you back to your innate resilient wonder-full self. I also collaborate with healers, visionaries, and changemakers to create and uplevel their brands. When your brand is a reflection of your true purpose and passion, with zero manipulative marketing techniques, your just-right clients will feel the resonance and automagically trust you enough to want to know more.




I mentor and encourage for women who want more joy and freedom, less stress. More creative flow, less angst. At your age. In your body. In the world as it is.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Sun rise and Sun set Matters.

Speak Your Story🗽

You Are Good Enough

That One Time I was a Rafting Photographer

7 Life Lessons from 2020

Photo of water coming out of a kitchen sink faucet

01/04–01/09 Weekly Update

The Joy and Trepidation of Seeing Smiles, Week Three in the Time of Transition

Best Thankful Thursday Quotes in 2021

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Sue Kearney

Sue Kearney

I mentor and encourage for women who want more joy and freedom, less stress. More creative flow, less angst. At your age. In your body. In the world as it is.

More from Medium

Emma Lewisham, Founder of Emma Lewisham, Podcast Summary

Inbox Medicine: Kwento by Nica

A guide for the “LIGHTWORKERS” coming to Light!

a laughing child running through the park with water fountains on.

Rediscovering my city by walking every street