Life is good. But every once in awhile we have a bad
experience, a bad day, or even a bad year. These times can
bring confusion, sadness and heaviness. The lens through
which we see the world gets cracked, and nothing looks quite the
Right now I have a cracked lens and I am in the process of
sitting in uncomfortable emotion. I have been here before -
pain is the human experience and I have never been, nor do I ever
expect to be, immune to it. Historically speaking I have
learned a great deal from my pain. It has taught me a lot
about who I am and what I really want. Pain can give you the
guts to try new things - the "what do I have to lose"
mentality. It can also take away your guts, leaving you to
struggle with questions and a new reality.
Many things are out of focus, but a few things are quite
clear. I am experiencing a renewed and heightened love for
who and what surrounds me and I am less worried about the routine
items on my list - the shopping and cleaning, the email, the ways I
push myself on a daily basis. The ways that I mindlessly
strive for a perfection that doesn't even exist.
Instead I am hugging my husband, relaxing with my girls, and
watching the flowers that are blooming in my front yard. I
find myself staring at the most mundane things, squirrels and
trees, and wondering about their daily existence. I guess you
could say that pain brings you back to earth.
And although I am quite uncomfortable, I am also thankful to be
grounded. Pain has slowed me down, reminded me to smile at
people, reminded me to be genuine and compassionate. It's an
interesting experience to hurt and simultaneously feel significant
gratitude about the little things.
It is natural to want to move through pain quickly. We
don't have time for it, we don't want to feel it, or it's too
scary. But allowing people, things, or activities to simply
"take away" the pain can be a real disservice to the process.
If it's left unresolved it can lead to false thinking or
fear. It can shape the way you choose to live the rest of
your life. It can leave you stuck instead of free.
I am still in the middle of my hurt so I don't have hindsight
for what it all means, but I do feel more tapped into the reality
of life. The reality that things don't always go the way I
think they should and the reality that I don't have complete
control. It's a great relief to know that I can't control all
things, and at the same time it's very unsettling.
To protect ourselves from pain we may decide to "stay safe" by
attempting to control every aspect of our lives - our
activities, our relationships, our children, our work. We may
decide to take the mainstream path rather than the road less
traveled because there is a perception that it is a safer
route. But following the masses or living someone else's
dream does not ensure safety; it can actually be more risky because
you miss out on your own life adventure and the world misses out on
A feeling of safety is possible if we can develop a deep sense
of trust. Trust in the process or a trust in something
greater than us. Or a trust in ourselves to surrender to the
experience of life, which by definition includes pain, so we have
an opportunity to become stronger and more aware human beings.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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