calm after the storm

Release of pain is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

In order to appreciate feeling good, we have to know what it is to feel bad. If we distract ourselves from feeling badly, we distract our ability to heal and grow.

Last week I was in a storm.  Old pain hovered over me and I had nowhere to run.  I had nightmares, digestive problems, headaches, and was generally unpleasant and crabby.

After being miserable for a while I remembered I knew how to use pain for growth and healing, although applying logical processes is very hard when I am feeling sorry for myself.  So I picked myself up and I went through the process. It hurt for a while.  Then it went away.

The process is this:

Sit with the pain.  Feel it fully.  Don’t run. Face it, listen to it, identify it, talk to it.  Talk to people in you memory and tell them how you feel.  Yell at them if you have to. Visualize yourself in the hurtful situation and give yourself that love that you needed then but didn’t have.  Hold that little child that is yourself.  Tell that little child that you will take care of her now, and take her into your arms and bring her to the present, where you will take care of her and keep her safe and loved. Then see the humanity in the people who have hurt you; see them as little children. When the time is right, tell the pain you are ready to let it go.  Open yourself to forgiveness. And finally, when you are ready, thank your pain for what it has given you. Be grateful for all of your experiences and the lessons you have learned through them.

Sometimes I don’t need to hold that little child; sometimes I just have to feel the emotion and open myself to letting it go.

The pain may last a long time or it may not.  It will take the time it needs. Be patient. Nurture and love yourself. Eventually it will go.

My storm passed within a week.  I didn’t run.  I let it pass through me even though I hated to. I felt self-loathing and and meanwhile affirmed to myself that I love and approve of myself and I am worthy. I didn’t escape with pills or food or shopping.  Well, there might have been a little shopping in there, but with minimal damage and serious therapeutic value!

Weathering storms has gotten easier with practice, but it is never easy.  It is hard and painful work, but it is important work–work that brings peace and newness.

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