Not gonna lie, I’ve been in a lot of pain recently. Without going into detail, suffice to say it has been a particularly brutal storm of emotional, mental and energetic pain– with a little bit of self-pity and suffering over my suffering thrown in for good measure. Now in the past, whenever I was besieged by an onslaught of pain, I would do anything possible NOT to feel it. You’re a human, I’m sure you know this game: drinking, smoking, shopping, sugar, sex, sex and the city marathons, etc. But things are shifting inside me these days. As a result of this, instead of avoiding the pain this time around, I am allowing it to penetrate me completely. And because I have been actually honoring and acknowledging my pain instead of denying it or hiding from it, I have a few revelations about pain I’d like to share with you all.The first thing I’m learning about pain is: pain is here to help. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. But think about the body’s pain response system, it is triggered when we are hurt. Emotional pain works the same way, we feel it where we are still not healed. This is tremendously valuable, your pain is a friend that says: “Hey, pay attention to this. This is still an open wound for you.” And the value of having our wounds revealed to us is that only then can we start to heal them. We can’t heal what we don’t know is hurt. And let’s be real, our sneaky snake-y minds can trick us into thinking we have moved on from certain issues when we sooooo haven’t. Maybe you feel like you have done plenty of work and/or therapy on a certain issue and you’re free. But if pain flares up in this realm of your life, the truth is, there is still a deeper layer of healing to be addressed. It’s shocking and frustrating when it arises, but if you’re interested in authenticity, this is a very good thing to know. If you truly want a life that is about transformation and expansion, pain is a beautiful billboard showing you where there is still work to be done. Just for fun (a challenging spiritual type of fun), think about your ex for a second. How was that for you? If just the thought of them stings you, then babe, you aren’t healed yet. There are still lessons and growth to be gleaned from that relationship.Let me put it another way. Pain, suffering, anger, sadness, all your favorite emotions, are triggered when something inside yourself gets snagged. A person, a place, a situation outside of yourself is getting caught on something sharp inside yourself. Maybe someone makes a joke about your weight, and that immediately snags on your feelings of inadequacy. The pain you feel in response to such a comment just means you haven’t reconciled your feelings of inadequacy yet. Once you manage to fully remove that thorn of your inadequacy, someone could call you a fat fucking cow and you wouldn’t even blink (although you may slap them, and that would be totally justified). These thorns, every single one them, contain a piece of you that is waiting to be rescued. Every thorn you manage to remove brings you back another piece of your whole self. And bringing back a lost piece of yourself feels so fantastic, it’s well worth the pain– trust me. The way I see it, life is about removing these thorns, one painful situation at a time. And pain alerts us to the next thorn ready to be removed. It’s not fun, it’s not easy. It can be excruciating to realize you are still hung up on something you thought was a distant ghost. But the good news is, you can get through it… if you actually go through it. And waiting on the other side is a more complete and shimmering version of you.
This pain storm I’ve been battling sometimes feels like there are daggers in my mind. You ever had a week like that? It feels like all my thoughts are out to get me. And I’ve gotten good at dodging them, keeping myself contained to a safe little space in my brain to avoid getting hurt. But that’s actually been shrinking my life. What I’ve realized recently is that the trick isn’t in trying to dodge all the sharp edges in my mind, the trick is snagging every single one and not stopping until you’ve snagged them all. Allow yourself to be sliced up, bleed, but then realize you wont actually die– even when it feels like you will. Here’s the BIGGEST REVELATION ABOUT PAIN: the degree to which you allow yourself to feel your pain IS THE EXACT SAME DEGREE to which you can open your heart. It sucks, I know. But the greater your capacity for pain, the greater your capacity for love. Pain is not weakness leaving the body (and god how I hate that quote), pain is vulnerability expanding your heart.Everyone always talks open wanting an open heart, but that shit hurts. If you want an open heart it’s going to cost you; and what it costs is your comfort. Expansion is deeply uncomfortable, but the risk is worth the reward. Imagine your heart is only the size of a teacup, well the good news is you only have to tolerate a small serving of suffering at a time– but you also only get to swallow a teacup’s portion worth of joy. Now imagine your heart is bathtub sized, oh the amount of champagne you could pour into that vessel– and also the amount of vinegar. There’s no two ways about it, babies. Your pain is expanding your capacity for all other feelings– and that’s a beautiful part of this human journey, getting to feel more good stuff and bad stuff. So my encouragement to all of you seekers out there is to stop running from your pain, run into your pain instead and see what is ready to be healed, once and for all. Life isn’t always easy, but it is always sacred. YOUR PAIN IS A SACRED GIFT, and if you open it you will find a missing piece of your heart– a piece of your heart that this universe is desperate for you to retrieve and start sharing with the world.