April 30, 2015

Embracing Our Pain to Awaken Ourselves.

Photo: hans van den berg

We are living through what can be simultaneously viewed as the most brilliant and darkest of times.

Living in a state of crisis and pain have become an accepted norm for the majority, and a powerful undercurrent of fear permeating throughout the world perpetuates and reinforces this traumatic state of being.

So why would I refer to this time as brilliant?

The answer is because more and more of us are waking up to our individual power through shifting our perspective of what we believed to be immovable truths. A revolution of consciousness is well underway and what was once hidden in the darkness of our unconscious mind is now collectively coming into the light.

Instead of immediately reacting to the external injustices, we are moving inside of ourselves to heal and reconnect with our souls, innate intuition and infinite possibility. We are beginning to realize that it is our internal reality which creates and affects our external world.

But, before we can master our newfound awareness, we must first be willing to let go of all that no longer serves our healing and experience what is not always a pleasant process.

As the philosophical psychiatrist Carl Jung said,

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” 

For those of us choosing to face the mirror, we must remember that healing is a long-term commitment we make with ourselves. Living with any kind of pain—mental, physical or emotional—is a great test of our patience, but we can’t exactly expect ourselves to magically morph into shiny happy people if we’re currently in a place of suffering. Instead, we must be willing to objectively look at the lessons available to us through this evolution.

Just as pain in the body signals to us that we may not be in 100% working order, emotional pain calls attention to our awareness that the choices and beliefs we hold may not necessarily be working for us either.

This means, we have to get super honest with ourselves about the role we play in the pain.

Caution—this may hurt a little. It involves a fair amount of grieving and some bruising of the ego will likely occur.

What are we grieving? The loss of our own expectations.

Disease, trauma, crises and any other kind of pain can bring us to this place of loss. And we’ve got to face that loss head on in order to recognize it as an opportunity to reunite with ourselves at the core of our being.

If we want to reach a place of peace within ourselves and we feel lost, perhaps it’s because we are attached to an idea of ourselves that isn’t true or in alignment with what we really believe anymore. Sometimes we behave a certain way to gain approval from others and we can get caught in the image we’re projecting. So, we must learn to let go of all that we thought we were or who anyone wanted us to be, in order to fully become who we are in this very moment.

For me, this meant detoxifying my life on all levels.

I honestly thought I’d done this already, especially with my background as a psychotherapist who had the support of many gifted healers throughout my life. But I, too, had a ton of grieving left to do.

Emotional wounds can settle deep into places that our egos cleverly hide, and it’s our job to gently peel back the layers to uncover what these wounds can teach us.

This is an ongoing process of self-reflection that requires us to step back from the noise around us so we can hear what’s true. Then we must be willing to not only ask ourselves the tough questions, but deal with the potential discomfort in the answer(s).

Examples of these questions are:

Did I make any choices that caused any of the pain I am experiencing right now?

If so, was I acting with the best knowledge I had at the time? Whether the answer to that question is yes or no, have I learned from that decision?

And lastly, have I forgiven myself for the decision?

For me, this meant facing the facts that while I never desired to experience sickness and pain, I certainly didn’t help matters by operating from a place of fear most of my life. This fear lead me not only to unhealthy relationships, but also to certain doctors and procedures that were not only traumatic, but downright harmful to my body.

After receiving a medical diagnosis of late-stage neurological Lyme Disease, I was overwhelmed and terrified. This terror motivated me to immediately implant a Hickman Catheter(an IV line feeding directly into my heart) to begin an extreme battle between powerful drugs and an insidious disease. Eventually, the treatment I thought would save me had the opposite effect as one by one my organs and overall functioning began to shut down.

I had to get very honest with myself that these were my decisions at that time, and I was doing the very best I could with the knowledge I had. Most importantly, I had to forgive myself for those choices based in fear that did not end up how I expected.

And as the amazing Caroline Myss says,

“Healing is a journey of forgiveness. That forgiveness is simply giving up the illusion that things could’ve or should’ve been otherwise. It’s no more than that.”

Finally, I received that message and the lessons I learned brought me to a new place of healing through loving means. I embraced myself as I faced the mirror and expanded my consciousness to explore alternative and holistic forms of reconnecting with my body, mind and spirit.

When I shifted into this place of acceptance of all that is and had been created, my body finally began to heal.

I invite and encourage all of us to re-examine our relationship with the misunderstood teacher we call pain for it is the light that guides us to awakening our consciousness within.


Relephant Read: 

An Open Letter from Someone Living with Chronic Illness.

Author: Jamie Rautenberg

Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Hans van den Berg via Flickr

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