One of the greatest gifts a horrific tragedy can give us, is the depth of pain we feel in its’ aftermath. Wait what? I know, that sounds like complete horseshit. But it’s true.
The unimaginable pain we feel after we experience loss is, for most of us, followed immediately by the desire to escape that pain. Often we don’t recognize it in the first raw moments/months/years, but that desire to escape our despair can be our ticket to deep personal transformation.
Unfortunately, it can also be our ticket to a lot more suffering if we fall into escape routes like alcohol or substance abuse, incessant over-scheduling and filling our lives with things which distract us from the deep heart space that houses our anguish. I have personally fallen into each of these pits and have experienced the dead ends to which they lead. It’s ironic that, in our quest to avoid our pain, we create abundantly more pain than we’d have if we would simply sit down and face the darkness.
If we can walk bravely toward our aching, sit with the discomfort it brings, allow it to exist… Name it… Feel it…Accept it… then it can be the greatest teacher we will ever find. Our brains, bodies, and souls are built for learning and they support each other in doing so. That sick feeling in our stomach has a message. So does the migraine, the anxiety and that contracting fear we feel in our hearts. They are all messengers of truths that we haven’t yet noticed. We must learn to listen instead of ignoring. We are built to withstand suffering, survive and grow from our experiences IF we can remain open to doing so.
It’s tempting, when life deals us a rough hand, to feel victimized, cursed, like we just can’t catch a break. But although it’s perfectly appropriate to have ‘poor me’ days and to fully feel like the deck is stacked against us, we must not become this outlook. We must, instead, find the lessons our struggles have to offer us and accept the secondary gifts that are developing as a result of wading through these muddy waters of turmoil.
Maybe we are learning commitment, gaining new skills or becoming stronger. Perhaps we are realizing how our life experiences have given us the tools we need to handle our current situation. Maybe we’re becoming more compassionate toward others and transforming into a version of ourselves previously unknown. Maybe we’re experiencing a deeper desire for personal growth and healing arising from within. These are the gifts that can develop by moving through hardship.
Without struggle, we do not evolve. It is only in our moments of agony and unrest that we Seek with the intensity necessary for real change to occur. But once we find that path, liberation beyond our wildest dreams begins to unfold.
“Don’t run away from your grief O’ Soul
Look for the remedy inside your pain
Because the rose came from the thorne
And the ruby came from the stone”