Why Pain Matters

Most people run away from pain.

It’s uncomfortable and disturbing.

We think it takes us away 

from being able to enjoy life.

And yet, on the flip side of pain,

there is always pleasure.

They are two opposing sides of the same coin 

that we haven’t learned how to flip to our advantage.

Most people just choose to stuff the coin deep within their pockets,

rejecting both pain and pleasure,

in favor of a routine life,

where both these experiences are tempered,

and life seems manageable.

Except that life isn’t meant to be managed.

It’s meant to be fully lived.

Despite our best efforts, life doesn’t bend to our will.

Instead, we’re the ones getting puppeteered through life,

thrown from one tumult to another,

taking solace in the breaks between each crisis.

What if there is a way for us to align ourselves with the Universe?

To reduce our depression and anxiety,

our chronic loneliness,

always feeling on the fringes,

disconnected?

What if there is a way to be happy,

but it involves taking out that dreaded coin,

and dealing with the pain in our life head on,

learning how to sit with it,

process it,

and ultimately, 

release it?

What if the force of releasing that pain 

had the power to elevate us,

causing the coin to flip on its own? 

Then we might feel the greatest pleasure of all –

connection.

To ourselves.

To each other.

To that spiritual being lying deep within us.

The thing is,

there is no such thing as pleasure

without pain.

If we didn’t have either of these experiences, 

we’d be living a life of ennui.

Without the pain of our aching muscles,

getting a massage wouldn’t feel like such ecstasy.

Without the pain of going to school every day,

we wouldn’t have the pleasure of seeing our friends,

or in the long term,

the satisfaction that comes from achievement,

the joy that comes from using our education to better the world.

Without the travesty of war,

we would not truly cherish peace.

Many of us live with deep wounds,

from childhood,

from broken relationships,

from illness,

or the loss of loved ones.

We endure tremendous pain,

absorbing it into our psyche,

allowing it to diminish our spirit,

trying, unsuccessfully, to ignore it 

until it goes away for good. 

But pain is like a leech.

It won’t leave

unless we learn 

how to heal.

The path to healing is personal.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all set of guidelines

for finding your bliss.

Yes, talking to a therapist might help,

or joining a support group.

Yes, medication might be hugely beneficial,

or reading about personal development, 

opening up 

to new ways of thinking.

Or maybe, for you,

none of this will work.

Perhaps you just need patience

and perseverance,

the sincere desire to evolve,

to transcend this human pain that is constantly weighing you down,

so you might find some semblance of peace –

and dare I say –

happiness. 

The path to healing is personal.

You must figure it out on your own

but not necessarily alone.

In fact, 

you’re never actually alone.

If you step out of your own way,

start ignoring your inner critic –

that pesky roommate who’s taken up residence in your mind –

let go of all your preconceived notions,

your antagonizing ideas about life,

your impressions of success and failure,

if you let go

and trust

your intuition,

that constant connection you have with the universe,

I promise you,

your heart will open up

to the truth.

Your path will be revealed.

Something beautiful will take shape

from the core of your being.

And if you can learn to trust it,

it will never steer you wrong. 

If you are ready to face your trauma,

the challenge will be immense

but the reward exponential.

Because with healing, 

comes the ability to help others.

And in the quest to help others,

you may just find your life’s purpose.

In helping others,

you’re creating a ripple effect

that will change the world.

And in helping others,

the person you’re actually helping the most,

is yourself.

Remembering How to Breathe

I see you.

I see you struggling with life.

The burden of your job,

the responsibility of your relationships,

thinking that everyone else is succeeding in life 

but you.

I see the pain,

the loneliness,

and the sense of hopelessness

that life will never change for you,

that you’ll never get the chance to follow your dream,

or worse,

that you don’t even have a dream.

You think there’s no way out of your situation,

or if there is,

you’re too damn tired to take it.

Perhaps you don’t realize

there’s a power you have at your disposal,

a portal into another world.

It’s not alcohol or drugs,

sex or sleep.

It’s your inherent ability to breathe.

Every living being can breathe,

in fact, so automatically, 

it’s easy to forget you’re doing it.

But to breathe is to have power.

We often hear people say,

“You should stop and smell the roses,”

but how many times do we heed that advice?

How often do we breathe so deeply

that the smell of lavender tickles our brain cells into a natural high?

How often do we step away from the daily grind,

close our eyes,

and breathe in, 

2, 3, 4,

then hold it…

and breathe out, 

2, 3, 4,

and hold it?

At the end of a busy day,

when my shoulders are burning from stress,

and my back muscles are clenched like unrepentant fists,

I sit still,

remain quiet,

and breathe.

I breathe in as if my life depends on it,

like I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have fresh air coursing through my lungs,

luxurious and exultant.

Then I breathe out,

so deeply,

as if the toxins I need to release from my body are emerging from a bottomless pit.

I breathe, 

and breathe, 

and breathe,

until each part of my body has untangled from its burdens,

until each part of my body feels loved and cared for,

until my skin feels ready to dissolve into the air,

allowing my inner being to expand

and encompass the world.

When I breathe

with attention

and intention

I can access another part of me,

the one that’s limitless,

and overflowing with love.

I choose to believe that there’s real magic in this world,

that portals do exist,

and energies can be manipulated.

I choose to believe 

that if you spend more time being aware of your breath,

then suddenly everything will come into focus.

Your once burdensome job will seem like more of an adventure, 

or a learning opportunity that has reached its expiration date.

Those relationships will feel more special,

tender and temporary,

nurturing,

or else, unworthy of your time.

You will start to see the pain and struggle in others’ eyes,

and realize, you’re not alone, 

you never were.

We’re all going through the same process

of trying to remember 

how to live and love,

of trying to remember 

how to breathe.

Why so Lovelorn?

Ever feel like shit? A rhetorical question, obviously, because we’ve all felt like shit at some point in our lives. Tired, overworked, under appreciated, not really feeling the love. As if, despite the number of loved ones we may have, there is no one we can honestly share our feelings with. That would mean making ourselves truly vulnerable. And what if the person we choose to share with doesn’t understand us? Or worse, doesn’t really care? Being vulnerable has only ever caused us pain, so better not to say anything, just to stay quiet. Except the problem is, we’re still boiling over with all these negative feelings, feeling drained by life, possibly even depressed. We feel unloved.

“Lovelorn” means feeling bereft of love. And to some extent, I think we all feel this way. We have moments of feeling unloved, whether it be by a parent, a partner, or even the Universe, in general. We feel unloved and perhaps even unworthy of love. We take desperate measures to get attention or try to change ourselves to please others. We do horrible things from the lack of love, and get the sense that being horrible is just who we are because no one ever told us otherwise. One of this world’s greatest superheroes, in my opinion, Fred Rogers, aptly summed it up when he said, ““Love is at the root of everything – all learning, all relationships – love, or the lack of it.” I cannot help but agree.

In a world of hyper awareness, of processing and re-processing the news of just how vicious mankind can be, where we feel increasingly isolated and alone, and like the worth of human life – indeed, even our own – is negligible, it is only natural to feel lovelorn.

I’m sure someone out there feels the same way I do, and it might help to know that you are not alone. The pain is real and, sometimes, torturous. Full disclosure: I suffer from depression. And even though I receive treatment for it, the pain never completely goes away. Maybe it’s not supposed to.

I believe that each of us is a part of something greater than all of us put together. I believe that we are not only loved, but also needed. I believe we each have special gifts we bring to the world, and we need to identify those gifts and share them. I believe all these things, and yet, have trouble remembering them because there’s always that constant nagging feeling within me, that feeling of not being worthy, of wasting my time in this world and not being productive enough. I start to think, if only I felt loved, things would be different. It becomes this vicious cycle then, where I try to chase love, never feel like I’m getting as much as I need, and so, keep searching for it. And instead of using my energy to fulfil my purpose in life, I’m wasting it on this futile quest.

Recently, I heard Sufi teacher, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, say, in a podcast episode of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations (yes, I listen to Oprah!), that this hunger we always feel, this emptiness, this longing for love, is really just a longing for the Beloved. For Sufis, the Beloved is God. I’m a pretty spiritual person, so I think there may be some truth to that.

But the fact remains, regardless of why we feel this longing, we feel it still, and it can be painful. This site is my attempt at sharing that pain. Who knows, maybe my purpose in life IS to share my pain. It doesn’t sound like a very glamorous or divinely inspired job, but, hey, what do I have to lose?