Lately, it’s been difficult for me to clear my mind, to get past the daily thoughts I have, put away the day’s work and fall asleep. Most of the time it happens at night, when I am trying to wind down and when I’m not overcome with things to keep me busy. When I just have to be… still with myself.
Have I accomplished everything today? No. Did I finish all that I wanted to today? Sometimes. Am I making progress? NO (though truthfully I am). It seemed like these past few weeks have been full of negativity surrounding where I am in life, what I am doing, and how I am feeling (these problems I am creating for myself). If you’ve been reading my blog or following on Instagram for a while you’ll know that I am in the process of intensive acupuncture treatment. It’s been amazing, and I can tell that it’s helping immensely, but while healing sounds like a soothing experience it’s not always candlelight and good vibes. It’s dark, often lonely and in fact, quite literally pain. Healing means getting to the root of the shit, and letting it flood out of you. It’s getting the pain out from deep within, acknowledging that it’s there, thanking it for the lessons, and then letting it go, and frankly it’s not easy.
When I lay down to sleep at night I think of all the things that are wrong. I try desperately to grasp and cling to what I am grateful for and the blessings that I have. But gremlins are ninjas at night and they come out to tell me I am unworthy, I am not enough, healing is hopeless, this is too hard, I should probably give up now…
I can’t tell you that recently someone close to me died, or that a loved one is deathly ill or my dog died, or I got dumped. Though I have all those pains, all the hurt that has accumulated over time manifesting in physical ailments in my body. Some which have scathed my heart, are buried so deep I didn’t even know they were still there. And the gremlins tell me, “You wanted this.” The letting out of feelings, the revisiting the traumas, the problems, moments in my life where I felt, was told, was shown, you are not enough, you are not worthy.
“Pain doesn’t just show up in our lives for no reason. It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change.” A quote I came across recently that resonated deeply.
I have had no “real reason” to break down this week, but I did. My sensitivity was hyper and the smallest mistake made me feel as though the world was caving in. This type of desperation, where you feel utterly depleted when there’s no more feelings to feel or tears to cry and you just want to not to care anymore.
Why is this so hard? Like at 16 and ending my two-year long verbally abusive relationship, breaking something that was never truly whole shattered me into blemished fragments. Panic attacks ensued and I had no understanding of how to cope with the fractured feelings. The six years after where our relationship went back and forth in a toxic circle with undefined expectations, and the pieces of that girl are still floating somewhere, and the pain of losing him and myself along with it left a tinge on my soul that’s yet to be fully repaired. I feel this again as I’ve avoided relationships for years as a coping mechanism to our yo-yo routine and I seem called to open heart again but I feel my resistance. But I also feel my dog dying, and my parent’s fighting, and divorce and my step-mother’s death and my best friend’s broken heart and so much aching in my core, that any physical comparison has no true measurement. Because how do you weigh all that pain comparatively when you’ve also felt what it’s like to not be able to move your hands, or legs? And then, how do you process it ?
My response has been to cry. To just break down and let it rush out of me. It’s not really that I am thinking about a specific past event, but something in a moment will trigger memories and I become overwhelmed by them, resulting in one avenue of release. Where as before, they would have gotten tucked away neatly and probably covered up by devouring some carb laden foods later.
I realize that yes, I want this. I want it OUT, I want to purify the pain. If I can identify, I feel then I can deal with it, then I can let it go. But it’s the letting go that’s hard for us all right? Who am I without this pain? Who am I without arthritis? Who am I without being abused? Who are you without (insert problem/situation here). I am Kari, but this pain, you see, it’s beauty and this healing with pain is a part of that process. I can create light because of these etched parts of my soul. The brief moments where despite being degraded by words, I continued to give my of love and if that’s one thing I can say I have done, then let that pain be.
I believe there’s an epidemic in our culture where we’re taught to cover up our pain, hide our true feelings, and carry on with life. I learned this early, but every day when you’re able to break open your sheltered heart a little more and expose yourself to the world, that is healing. Healing is not glamorous. It’s digging up the deepest fibers of your vulnerable pain, dissecting it, facing them, coddling yourself for a while and telling yourself that it’s okay to let it go. We must move on without that pain as a definition of who we are and instead view it simply as a hand in the molding of our beings.
It’s not easy to be grateful for the pain that’s changed you, that’s forced you put the shattered pieces of your heart back together. This is a healing battle within yourself for space in your soul to bring in joy. Let it go. The deepest pain and the scariest thoughts, let them go. Cry the tears you couldn’t cry before when you held it in and give them back to the Universe in a letting out of love.
So I don’t’ have a reason to cry today. Nothing bad has happened and I am safe. But when I look in the mirror I have to tell her, “you are enough, you are worthy, you are radiant love” and it’s because of moving through the pain that’s injured me I can appreciate who I am beneath it all.
On Pain by Khalil Gibran
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
You may also enjoy one of my favorite essays “The Pain Scale” by Eula Biss
Much love to you all braving the journey for yourselves!
Thank you so much for sharing this, Kari. I cried through the whole thing. It touched me deep within as I walk through the pain of my past and move towards healing. Your bravery and vulnerability are inspiring.
Heather, your comment has warmed my heart. I truly can’t tell you what it means to have touched you that way, in part I wrote this for myself as a processing tool but also because I know I am not alone in this. It is my hope that people who are moving through their own painful pasts and present towards healing, know they are not alone. You are not alone, and I am so glad you are so brave to share how much it resonated with you. HUGS! <3