Straight through pain

Courage, Fear, Joy, Let's Get Real

We desperately avoid discomfort at all costs. Yet, our obsession with circumnavigating pain is what’s keeping us stuck, alone and lost.

We try to numb it, look away, push it down, cancel it out with substances, social media, relationships, porn, adrenaline and shooting laser-lights of positivity so bright that pain no longer exists. Yet, none of that works.

Listen, I LOVE the light and I’m all for love, but you can’t find the light by going around, only through.

Through the pain, through the struggle, through the unknowing and hurt and loss.

The light lives through it, and it was never intended to spare us from from feeling.

I didn’t plan to write this today, but I was in my email, searching for a copy of this column to see if my website was linked in the header—you know, real, practical business stuff, but somehow what came up were dozens of exchanges during a period in 2005 that was rife with pain, and struggle and uncertainty—mine and another’s.

There was betrayal, and confusion, rejection and false hope, the unknown and unknowable, and let me tell you friends, it t’weren’t easy.

But it also wasn’t lasting.

Good came out of that period, an avalanche of good. Stronger love, better direction, more solid paths, clearer intentions. Bigger, more resilient, hearts.

In the midst of it, though, there were wishes that the struggles would go away, the pain would diminish, thoughts that if I could just shine enough love, light and positivity on the situation that the scramble would sputter and I’d go flying high.

The truth is, you cannot drown pain in positivity.

And you can’t fly over the mountain, you’ve got to climb that beast or tunnel through. A easy ride up and over or around only yields a diminished resolve and a bigger mountain on the other side.

None of us is doing our small lives a service by trying to lobotomize our existence of suffering. The effort will fail, and we lose the opportunity to expand in our capacity to love.

The funny thing is, although that period in 2005 passed, I’ve had others. More pain, more doubt, more fear, more uncertainly, more uprootedness. I’ve been both warrior and stowaway on the journey. Most of the time I’ve chosen to charge forward, to see, to seek, to walk straight into the discomfort and say I can do this.

Yet, the heartache doesn’t end.

Because to be human is to know pain. Pain is as holy as joy.

In the last year alone I’ve known my share. I’ve poured my heart in to creating something that never got off the ground, lost my money and my cat, made difficult relationship decisions that could cause further heartache, and battled my fear of appearing to go backwards—that’s the short list.

It’s been brutiful. And many many many good things have happened as well. The polarity is exquisite and my faith in myself grows through every experience.

Every time I choose to feel it, to move through it, to say fuck yea this hurts and I’m still walking forward, my humanity and my divinity weave together more tightly.

Run toward your pain, the discomfort, the unknown, with a battle axe and a heart full of love. Run toward it, feel it, let it break you open and mend again.

On the other side of pain is always mending, if you’ve braved your way through it. If you try to avoid it, you only weaken yourself.

If you are afraid of pain, afraid to break, terrified of darkness, you’re not alone. But know that the fear is what keeps us from being fully alive.

How beautiful this life is in all its exquisite ache and bursting gladness?

The fullness lies in the dichotomy of it, and a life that invites it all and says, my strength lies in the unity of experience, not in the control of circumstance, is full indeed.

Love and pain and love some more,

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