There is usually a struggle before a breakthrough.
The breakthrough is usually connected to the thing that we don’t want to feel, face, or fear. The one thing we bury with thoughts or activities like eating, tv, sex, relationships, or ____(name addiction).
I like what Native Americans refer to as the “sacred wound.” It’s like we come into this life with something to work through in our lives. They call it sacred because it somehow brings you back to your true self when you can revisit this and face it. Then we can heal.
The wound can make its appearance through a shock like a breakup, a loss, an illness, an abandonment. It is a disruption to the calm that we constructed to maintain equilibrium.
When you first open the wound by whatever event that comes into your life to cause you to feel deeply, amazing emotions may come flying out like rage, fear, sadness, shame. It’s tempting to do something to not feel the pain.
tell someone so that you don’t have to sit with it.
eat, drink, turn on the TV, turn to social media.
blame another person.
my favorite: run, move to another city, state, country.
It seems ingrained in our culture to run from pain and try to feel happy. We sometimes teach our children to do this, too. Here’s what Shefali Tsabary said about raising children and happiness.
“Life is not about happy happy anyway. Life is to be experienced in every nuance it presents itself, as is. Engagement to life is “happiness.’”
She gives an example of how children may be crying about rejection from a friend. She recommends that instead of telling them to change themselves to fit in or run from the pain, she reminds her children that “not everyone needs to love you.”
She adds, “As a parent of a child, it is our sacred obligation to not teach our children to run away from life as is. Enter the present moment.”
It seems, this muscle—to feel pain–is out of practice, weak, lethargic.
I have seen how others have found freedom in facing their wound.
I had an uncle who reached an incredible place of freedom–perhaps even enlightenment. A longtime member of a 12-step program, I saw him in the years before his death, experience all of life as a gift. He knew his purpose in giving to others and all of life. People sought him out. They just wanted to sit next to him and talk to him while he poured love and understanding onto their wounds. This man who had felt such loneliness and pain during much of his life and gone into the painful places, faced them with presence, and come out stronger, more whole. His routine was to wake at 3:30am every day to write poetry before going to a bakery to make scones and meeting with whomever needed him throughout the day.
My wound was feeling abandoned. I experienced this old wound both in the classroom and in relationships. As I entered this place of pain and stopped identifying with it, amazing things happened. I got to that point of having nothing to lose and little to prove.
These wounds crop up in our relationships—especially those “fall in love” sort of relationships–where we fall in love and then we realize that this is perfect except for the part of that person pushes our pain button.
That wound is our vulnerable part, but it can lead us to the healer inside of us. The healer is that invisible force that connects us to loved ones, fuels us to accomplish our dreams, and helps trees grow and fruit appear on trees.
I am not a problem to be solved or a pain to be controlled, but a process to allow. I am a force growing in strength and unity, allowing more and more of me to pour out onto others as I allow my own wound to fill and transmute itself.
Enjoy the adventure. Write me and let me know your own experiences, thoughts on the topic. And if this post helped you, please feel free to share with others.