Unpacking Pain

Watered-down, Westernized spirituality has many of us thinking that growth means that we never get sad or angry but if we do, a simple meditation or yoga session will work that right out. Out of compassion for myself and others, I call bullshit. Truth is, much of the wisdom we gain on the road towards ascendance comes from allowing ourselves to dig deep into our hurt spaces and fully feel whatever is bubbling up from them. Even the wounds that have scabbed over or scarred can carry some form of underlying trauma we may or may not have acknowledged or even noticed. I can almost guarantee that for most of us, though, it’s there.

So many of us have become masters of getting by, an effective method for immediate survival. My mom, my sole provider and full-time working woman who couldn’t run to my aid whenever I was ill or hurt, taught me early on that when situations become inconvenient we “tough it out”. However, masking those bruised feelings (or bodies) will not prove sustainable forever.  At some point, we have to heal our shit and it may take a longer than we expect. In the words of Mary DeMuth, “Healing is layers. Healing is time. Healing is excruciating. Once you think it’s done, it’s not.”

“Healing is layers. Healing is time. Healing is excruciating. Once you think it’s done, it’s not” ~Mary DeMuth

As aware of as I am of the necessity of truly dealing with my problems, I am still often surprised at how deep some of my wounds really go or how good I’ve gotten at being functionally dysfunctional all this time; so much so, I didn’t know I had a particular problem until someone else brought it to my attention. Other times, these revelations occurred to me after finding myself worn out in repeated patterns of unwanted circumstances that forced me to look at what I was doing to cause them (also known as “learning the hard way”).

The thing about carrying wounds in today’s world, is that they are easier to mask. Not only do we have access to the vices of our parents’ era (drugs, sex and alcohol), we also have personal technological devices that help and even encourage us to airbrush the scars away after we are done proverbially cutting ourselves. But, imagine the liberation of dropping the weight of it all. Picture yourself embracing your overall beauty without filters. Only then can we actually get in touch with our inner spirits and ascend to true healing.


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