Pain: Nemesis or Mentor? Pt. 3

Lean into the pain…

I hear it… whispers… echoes of a voice I trust.

lean into the pain… pain is the intersection where life and death meet, and we get to choose which road we will travel.  What will we let die and what will we nurture to life when we experience pain?

Pain is as much a part of life as breathing is.  Pain is inescapable.  I think about all the times and all the ways I have meticulously worked to avoid, prevent or protect myself from pain… the risks I haven’t taken, the dangers I have steered clear of…

And yet.  Pain still finds a way to weave into the threads of life.

What I’m figuring out is that when fear accompanies pain it seems to be amplified beyond bearable tones.  Fear of loss, fear of disappointment, fear of physical injury, fear of betrayal, fear of failure, fear of rejection…  

These are all forms of pain we feel throughout life.  But what I am realizing is that when I understand people will disappoint, betray, reject or leave me, that failure will occur in my life and probably physical injury as well, I don’t have to fear it.  I can, instead, lean into it.

Leaning into disappointment, that pain of being let down and realizing what I thought would be isn’t going to be, has taught me how to value small things.  Every victory, every gift, every unexpected joy.  Leaning into disappointment is teaching me that there’s nothing to fear about a lost hope or dream, but instead disappointment is an opportunity to look at more options, to see myself and life from a different angle.

Leaning into rejection is teaching me the value of acceptance.  First accepting myself, and recognizing not everything about me is worth accepting – some things about me need to be rejected in order to transform into the best me, in order to accept more positive traits.   Accepting this is a reality in life has opened up expansive opportunities to mature, to grow and to learn who I am. Leaning into the pain of rejection has also given me capacity to receive others where they’re at, without judgment or obligation.

Leaning into the pain of loss has taught me how to value what I have.  It’s teaching me how to be present and enjoy those I have in my life, even the more challenging people who are harder to enjoy at times.  Loosing people, status, position, earthly value, money… all of this is unavoidable in life – and loosing these things has taught me a lot about who I am with and without them.

Leaning into pain has taught me a ton about the importance of forgiving.  Every painful encounter has turned into an opportunity to value not only my own process of growing, but the process that others are in, and the need we all have to be forgiven and shown mercy when we least deserve it.

Leaning into pain doesn’t mean pain doesn’t hurt.  Leaning into it means that pain isn’t waisted.  It means I won’t be stopped by pain, because I will not fear it.  Leaning into pain means I won’t be devastated by it, but rather, I’ll learn and change and grow; I’ll allow it to strengthen my character, soften my edges and feed compassion and mercy within my soul.

As with childbirth, some of the most excruciating pain in life will usher in some of the most incredible miracles, if we let will lean into it without fear.

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