Purpose Makes Pain Bearable
“I think that any time of great pain is a time of transformation, a fertile time to plant new seeds.” ~Debbie Ford
I have been pondering the nature of pain of late. This is not a morbid line of thought but rather an exploration into the human condition, especially given that people connect more readily and willingly through pain than through joy, as paradoxical as that may seem.
I’m sort of in the pain business: people don’t attend off-site retreats or hire coaches unless they have a pain point.
As regular readers of this blog already know, a dear friend of mine died this winter and so the topic is near to me. That event unleashed something and over 45,000 words have poured forth thus far. The book examines the themes of pain, and purpose and paradox. (I feel compelled to mention that the writing itself has been a joyful journey, not a cathartic, tearful one.)
I thought I’d share some snippets with you today.
Because pain can be an incredible teacher if we step aside from blame and open ourselves to learning from it.
“Pain is like that: It fills the entire container, like a gas, and creeps into every nook and cranny of our being. Pain robs the human organism of its life force, its vitality. Like printing a colour document in black and white, pain reduces the landscape of the present to greyscale.
“…but give me physical pain over emotional pain any day. Broken bones can heal, if the patient follows a doctor’s instructions, and they will heal according to a somewhat natural progression; at week four here’s what you can expect, at six weeks you’ll be able to lift this or bend that. There is a time-line to the relief of the brokenness.
Broken hearts, not so much. Loss of a sense of purpose or direction, loss of friends or family through divorce or death, loss of identity and role, these are the common and communal pain points of the human experience. It is purposeless pain that cripples us if we let it, that will siphon our gas tank dry.”
“But emotional pain, senseless as it may seem, is the bedrock of new beginnings. It is a signal from the soul of that which is “still-to-be-learned”. Emotional pain—and its spectrum opposite, joy—is the language of our heart, not our mind.”
“Perhaps unearthing our purpose from the landslide of grief is the point, the whole point. Maybe it’s not just what propels us forward but is in fact the only thing that can.”
“Emotional pain cannot kill you, but running from it can.” ~Vironika Tugaleva