It is very difficult for some people to see anything as happening separate from and not in relation to them. People who suffer with this view of the world experience everything as a reflection and commentary on who they are, an abandonment or affirmation of themselves.
The shelf life of most intense feelings is quite short. A strong feeling, which is not fed by our thoughts about it, can pass through us in a rather short time. It is our mind that, counter-intuitively, does not want us to let go of our pain.
Life includes experiences we want and ones we don't. We are better at being present in the ones we want, and we need more practice staying in the moments we don't want. Many people ask me why we would even try and be present in the bad moments.
Something amazing happened on this holiday. It seems that all the years of spiritual practice kind of kicked in. When I stopped judging myself for the experience I was having, stopped hating myself for hating vacation, I discovered two wonderful things: humor and compassion.
The next time the opportunity to know another's experience presents itself, try out what it feels like to listen without strategizing to keep yourself positively positioned -- without defending the story of who you are and what you have or have not done.
It takes a tremendous amount of effort to uphold a fixed identity. We have to keep doing things that a "person like us" would do. We have to keep making sure that nothing happens that threatens our identity or who we have decided "we are."
That which is seen in that which is sought is one and the same as that which is seeing. That which is seen can only ever be seen by itself. If that which is seen by you was not awake in you, you would not be able to see, hear, or recognize what you see.
The footprints we leave, danced in that awareness, change the face of the earth, as all footprints do. Yet these create a path toward the freedom that is our birthright and the freedom from which they come.