what I do with pain

tree blossom courtesy Flickr CC Hitchster - Lindsey Lewis

Joy and Wonder

I post a lot about joy and wonder on these pages. I write a lot about the magic in the world, and moments of tiny miracles. Feelings of awe. Grace. Goodness.

But there’s pain, too. There are tears, and tough times, and moments of deep and aching grief. There are wells of sadness.

Inviting in Pain

And when they come, I try to let them in. I try to invite them to make themselves welcome. Practice deep acceptance and compassion. Explore from a place of no resistance.

Grief can feel like pleasure. There is so much sensation in the moment when I let it roll over me, eclipsing everything else.

Coat of Armor

Resisting feels horrible. Denying feels like a mini death. Like my entire system shuts down. Even the part of me that can feel joy.

Everything tenses up. Like a straight jacket on my soul. There’s no freedom in trying to not feel. Just a manufactured coat of armor. It’s clunky and hard to walk around in. Like I’m weighed down by something that isn’t mine.

Life can be terrible. And it can be beautiful.

Exquisite. Tender. Raw.

We can’t selectively shut down. The parts of us that feel pain, jealousy, and grief are the same parts that experience wonder, awe, and joy. By freeing ourselves to feel it all we free ourselves.

Shaking off the Weight of Resistance

We shake off the weight of resistance, unbind the shackles of holding ourselves together, and–sooner than we imagined–are soaring again. We become the ocean, and watch the waves on our surface.

“Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.” ~ Pema Chodron

We become the birds in the sky, responding to the winds.

We ebb and flow with the pull of the moon.

We look into the eyes of someone in pain and meet them without fear. We give ourselves the gift of experiencing our own terrible moments and then can be there beside someone else.

This is life. Exquisite. Tender. Beautiful and terrible.

Thinking of you,


Jan 21, 2014 · Comment

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