Every single human being experiences pain. The details and extent of suffering vary. Some are relatively blessed, others plagued by unfortunate experiences or internal anguish, or both. Some experience physical pain, others emotional. Some fall somewhere in the middle.
Whatever the cause or symptom, pain is universal.
I have a habit of forgetting this. I’ve spent too much of my life either envious or critical of those I suspected of coasting through life. Why couldn’t I be as carefree? And conversely, why couldn’t they be more in touch? If not with their own plight, than with the plight of others. What right did they have to be so happy?
In other words, what right did I?
Pain is a tremendous gift, but only up to a point. It can offer us a window into our own humanity and the humanity of others. It can increase our empathy, widening and deepening our heart. And it can lend itself to art and creative pursuits of all kinds. But if we’re using it to remain separate, waving our angst like an undefeated flag, we’re simply compounding the issue and locking ourselves in a prison unnecessarily.
How do we move out of it?
We ask for guidance. When I find myself looping, running an old negative story in my head, I stop and I ask for help from a higher source. Whether it’s the Universe, Spirit, the Higher Self or a doorknob as my dear friend likes to say, if we’re asking for guidance, we’re actively healing.
Marianne Williamson once said “I’m not in the business of self-help. The self is the problem.”
Our egos love to glorify pain. But our soul knows it’s there only to serve us and help us grow, not to chain and break us. Suffering, after all, is a choice. And it can be an addiction. After all, who are we without our wounds, our stories?
Like anything, it’s a delicate balance between healing and release. And there is no timetable. Sometimes it’s ten steps forward and two steps back, sometimes it’s two step forward and ten back.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is grace. We just need to accept that it’s ok to be happy, it’s ok to move on, to embrace the light. Or maybe it’s just me?
Artwork by Michelle Favin of Whys LA for Poppy & Seed. Connect with her @whyslosangeles.