pain and fear

I’ve noticed that my rate of posting here has slowed recently.  I think it’s because I have so many things to say.  I’ve been thinking many deep thoughts, and they’ve stymied the interest in writing about anything other than what must be said.

I have so many things to say that when I’m in the company of people to whom I could discuss all of these things that are speaking so loudly in my brain, I can’t seem to say anything at all.  So I sit and smile with my lips closed.

Most of these recent thoughts seem to be under the umbrella of finding a life of wholeness and freedom.  The topics seem centered around pain and fear, doubt and faith.  For today, pain and fear.  Maybe doubt and faith another day.


I’ve had a number of conversations recently with people undergoing intense personal pain.  And they have no idea what to do with it.  Push it away, mostly, through inactivity or overactivity.  Does no one teach us how to deal with pain?

I began my lessons in dealing with pain at my mother’s proverbial knee.  My mom legitimized my pain and was brave enough to face it with me.  (She still is.)  I continued my education through books and listening and thinking and counseling and lots of practice.  Lots of practice.

Some thoughts on pain.

  • When you block out pain, you block out joy.
  • When you name something and speak it aloud, it robs it of its power, brings it into light.
  • Release your pain from the constriction of fear, meet it with kindness.
  • Pain + kindness > pain + fear
  • Overcoming fear takes courage.  Courage, remember, isn’t the absence of fear.
  • Be proactive.  Deal with pain when it appears.
  • You can push it aside, but it will be back later.
  • Notice what makes you cry.
  • Notice what stories you tell make you choke up.  Dig there.
  • Sit with it.  Feel it.  Don’t brush it off.
  • Honor your pain by your presence.
  • If it gets to be too much, too intense, you can take a break.  And come back later.
  • If it’s still too intense, you can see a counselor and look at those things together, in a safe place.
  • It gets worse before it gets better.  Like Pandora’s box, if you let one thing out, it all comes out.  This is a good thing.
  • Examine the pain.  Follow it back to its roots. Dig like an archaeologist.  What am I feeling?  Why do I feel this way?  How does this connect to other things?  Follow threads until they exhaust themselves.
  • Don’t try to force or convince yourself to feel one way or another.  This is honest time and you can’t be honest when you’re trying to be something you are not.  You might be (insert word here : forgiving, loving, able to let go) later, but you are not now.  Honor now.
  • Journal.  Ask yourself a hard question and then answer it.  Give yourself permission to ramble, to switch thoughts mid-sentence, to follow threads, to jump in in the middle.  Tear up the paper when you’re done, burn it ceremoniously, delete the file.  Or keep it as a memento reminding you of the courageous path you’ve taken, or healing sought and received.
  • Don’t be surprised when things that you thought were healed and tidied up need to be addressed again.
  • Be ready to receive cleansing, relief, healing, joy, wholeness.
  • Know yourself.
  • When you open yourself to pain, you open yourself to joy.



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