What Lies Beneath…?
In my experience of coaching and teaching meditation, what most people want when they feel pain is for it to GO AWAY. Makes sense. Whether our pain is physical or emotional, we just don't want it. We want joy, happiness and understanding. Grief, anger and sadness? No thanks. But when we stop and consider what life is like – messy, unreliable, not in accordance with our wants and desires – then pushing away pain is basically rejecting about 50 per cent of our life. Think about that. Are you willing to only live 50 per cent of your life? Surely, there's a better way? Thankfully, there is. You've probably heard variations of expressions such as Lean In, or Let Go. A bit like Forgive and Forget, right? They sound good but how the F do we do that? How can we just Let Go when our insides are tumbling around like a washing machine on a spin cycle? Leaning In feels way too dicey. Letting Go feels downright impossible and even if Forgiving might have half a chance, Forgetting? Forget about it! The answer is recognising that life is going to bring you lemons. Consistently. And it's not our job to push them off the table and walk towards the sunset with a gleam in our eye. Deeper contentment comes from picking up the lemons. Sniffing them and cutting them open. Biting into their juiciness. Noticing their sourness. Paying attention to how our faces screw up involuntarily and we turn our heads to one side. Once we do that, what happens? The lemon has been mastered. We know it. We know it holds the power to make us wince and from there on, we can CHOOSE to eat lemons. We can even make cakes out of them. Deliciously sweet with a lemony tang. Our pain is the same. We can add sugar to our pain but only after we know the full ripeness of what it has to offer. Emotional pain such as betrayal can feel like a cut that stings. A psychological stab wound that arrives with an anthology of events that we flick through each night. Turning each page with our heads facing the other way. Similarly, feelings of abandonment or rejection creep into our vision, making us feel like we're adrift in too-deep water. Nothing feels stable so we do everything we can to find solid ground. We flail in the open ocean, desperately paddling for shore. Anger rises up within us and our trauma bubbles up like lava. We become overwhelmed as we push our fiery reactions away with shame and judgement. Good people don't get angry. Nice people are able to control their rage. And on it goes. Within all of our pain is an unconscious belief that IT SHOULDN'T BE THERE. That we should be able to control ourselves. That we should be able to find joy and happiness and not be so triggered. After all, we're adults now. Only children have tantrums. Only people who are unstable act out their pain on others. We're better than that. Right? WRONG. We are better than that when we ACCEPT and ACKNOWLEDGE that life comes with a buffet of pain and discomfort. We are told to be a shiny happy version of ourselves that is available if we TRY HARDER. Apparently, if we push away bad feelings we won't have to sit in the stink of our own helpless and pathetic selves. We will become perfect. That is BS! I invite you to turn the tables on that story instead. The problem is the narrative, not our pain. The narrative is the message we are consistently fed by well-meaning authors, coaches and the media, and it is far more detrimental and damaging than any emotion we might experience. Insecurities are what make us human. Anger, sadness, incompetence and fragility are parts of the whole. We do not need to deny them. We are far better off embracing them. Being emotional is not weak, it is human. Any pain we feel is there to show us something. It is a sign that we are outgrowing our old ways and that an un-lived pain is coming up to be looked at, and therefore healed. Healed does not mean becoming absolved of our misgivings. Healed in this sense, indicates something is ready to be integrated. By opening ourselves up and facing the burning flames of our inner fire, we begin to witness the glow that streaks across our face. What we thought would burn us, lights us up. What we thought was too much becomes an opportunity to breathe more deeply. When we cease believing that we're defective because we feel things, our edges stretch. What we are capable of holding becomes more. Our ideas about positive and negative changes. Notions of good and bad merge into What Is. Life becomes more expansive. Joy becomes possible as part of our pain. We bear witness to a new way. Over time, pain is no longer a thing we turn away from. We know differently. We've lived into the sacred depths of our hearts. And a world that is rich and bountiful, welcomes us. One hundred per cent living is possible. Pain is a threshold that we can cross. The art is to move towards it. Reject the idea that you should be different to how you are. Be brave enough to know that your magnificence is in your ability to accept yourself, no matter what comes up. Allow your pain just as you would allow joy and see what happens. Become aware that you have been pushing it away with one hand. And instead, hold it close. Look at it. Let it teach you. It has many beautiful messages if we are open to them. Don't let your pain break you down, let it break you open. You've got this. 🌸🕊🌸 h x