“Painful, isn’t it? Well, lump it.”
It probably sounds familiar to many and disheartening said like that, but at the end of the day it is a unavoidable reality.
There are many things in life that can cause us pain: hits, separations, shouts and falls hurt. Father’s indifference, mother’s lack of affection, insults and failures hurt. Giving birth hurts, the death of our loving ones, rejection and absence. Stomach, head and throat hurt just like refusals, disrespect or threats do. And there is always plenty of all that in life.
They key is not to avoid pain but to be able to manage it properly. So the question should not be ‘why?’ but instead ‘what’s its purpose?’ or ‘what do I do with it?’
Pain is uncomfortable by nature so we try to avoid it, escape from it, and there are three main general paths that we follow when trying to get away:
- Ignore it, look to the other side, like if it has nothing to do with us. So we keep going with our daily routine. We go out, stay in, keep ourselves very busy, plan loads of activities or devoted to pleasure just for the sake of it, only looking to create an illusion, a parallel reality to replace the real one that we don’t like so much because it is scary.
- Try to get numb, stoned, drunk: so we go to the doctors asking for prescriptions or we self-medicate, flirting with alcohol or taking any substances that get us out of the painful present. Without a pressing need, we even get under the scalpel letting others amputate parts of our precious body, hoping that the pain or discomfort gets away with that piece of us that now is missing.
- Get angry, toss & turn, fight with whoever, showing clutches & teeth, displaying our rage & quarrelling without a break. Feeling like the whole world is a battlefield and we have to defend our life with life itself. There is no peace, no rest, we are always alert, suspicious, because everything & everyone can be a potential enemy.
We do all this of some of it when the only useful thing to do is to surrender. Surrender to life as it reveals itself. Surrender to what it is and accept it just like that, knowing that this defeat, death, illness or fall are not happening to me but that they all happen for me. They are bringing me a message, a gift, a hidden pearl that I must extract within the hard shell.
Gagged pain does not stay quiet and always needs to be released, looking for an exit to healing. Our health & our happiness depend on our ability to look at pain, opening our home doors to it so it can find its place, letting it go when its job is done. The length of this process varies according to the experience itself and to the person who is going through it. Just like many things in life, there is no universal formula, no shortcut or magic recipe. There is only a motto, useful in every culture & time: accept from deep love & respect.
What we do with our pain has consequences in our life. It hurts, yes, so I stand my pain, I hold it, I embrace it, I accept it & digest it. The ones who love me can be by my side but my pain is not theirs, just mine and I am the only one who can uncover it, deal with it and integrate it so it can transform into that wild beautiful pearl that will bring wealth & growth into my life.
Like with fear & death, pain must be looked face to face, letting a space for it in the table, in bed. Telling it: ‘Here I am. What do you have for me?’ Just by doing that I can grow up, become clear. Just by integrating my shadow I can be available for others. Only from complete surrender & unconditional acceptance I can be a healthy & honest daughter, sister, partner, friend, professional & mother. Only embracing what it causes me pain & fear I can be with you.
“Ah, how much pain it costs me
to love you the way I love you!
The air hurts due to your love
my heart and my hat hurt too.
Who would be buying from me
this ribbon that I am holding,
and this sadness of white linen,
to make handkerchiefs with it?
Ah, how much pain it costs me
to love you the way I love you!”
(Poem It’s true, by Federico García Lorca)