I am very much into quotes, wisdom phrases and deep thoughts and conversations. This one from Rumi is one that, in my opinion, requires deeper thought and consideration.
Wounds, pain, suffering, sadness. They are all inevitable parts of the human experience. They all bare so much weight on our existence because in the end, they help mold who we are. They define us and leave marks that will determine how we act and react in the future. And they allow us to look deeper within ourselves and question our role and place in this life and universe.
Do you ever wonder what the point of our human suffering is? Or if there is one at all? There could be many arguments to this point, many valid ones and some not so much. Regardless of why bad stuff happens to us and what it means to each person individually, I can only talk from the perspective of my own experience and what it has meant to me. For now I won’t go into the "why" as much. So far, the only thing that I can say with certainty is that difficult situations and/or feelings need to be dealt with; we have to live them, feel them, face them and then move on; renewed, stronger and with a different view of the world. Needless to say, if we were given the choice, we would always try to avoid the dark, lonely, sad and painful place we all find ourselves in sometimes. It’s obvious that we would not want to go there because some of these feelings are too scary and intense. But we have to understand that, like a virus, we have to just let them run its course. Feelings are simply meant to be, well; felt. And then released, but not before we have allowed ourselves to experience and feel them.
It is worth mentioning that it is our very survival instinct that sometimes might lead us to avoid feeling these things, and it can then offer the use of coping mechanisms to drown them out, like overworking, food, alcohol, over socializing, drugs, undereating, excessive partying, excessive exercising and/or isolation. This is normal, and if you didn’t feel at least tempted to reach out to some form of numbing therapy, you would be the odd one out. And it’s okay to just get away in your head and your body sometimes and take a break from whatever is tormenting you. But in the end, it’s never the best idea to keep using these to hide from what’s keeping you up at night. It just isn’t, and you probably already know this. At the very least I can tell you that it hasn’t worked out well for me.
As a side note, I would like to add that it is very easy for me to write about this now; I am in a good place, today. A very different state than that of waking up at 3 in the morning with a pain so deep and profound that you can hardly breathe. A pain that gives you anxiety beyond belief because, for a moment, it seems that this is how you will feel for the rest of your life and you can’t help but panic and sink deeper into that darkness. You feel empty, alone, miserable, even cold in your warm bed and nothing gets rid of this awful sensation. Eventually, after several hours of not being able to go back to sleep, you notice the sun rising again; it’s finally dawn, and although you still feel bad, you know that you won’t be alone in a dark place for the next 12 hours or so… Yes, it is easy for me to say that and write about it now. But, like many of us, I have already had a stroll in hell and have exchanged defiant looks with the darkest of hours to know that, as they wisely say, the sun does rise and there really is such a thing as hope.
You may be wondering; after the sun rose and maybe after a few days of giving into the pain and suffering and really allowing our bodies to deeply sink into them; then what? What comes next? Aside from being grateful that they have passed, and believe me, they always do, what are you left with? Do you feel like a broken mess in such fragility that you barely make it out the door? Or did you find renewed strength, appreciation and gratefulness for having passed that difficult challenge with flying colors? Are you just happy with the fact that you are still standing? Whatever that difficult moment did to you, it definitely left you a changed person. It may have pointed you to the fact that you are stronger than you thought you were, or maybe it showed you exactly what you will allow going forward to come into your life and what you won’t. Maybe it made you realize how precious every moment on this earth is and/or maybe it left you a little scared, scarred, bruised and untrusting. In whatever way the wave left you after it knocked you over, let me assure you that it left you a bigger, better, more beautiful and complete version of yourself. The pain gave you a deeper insight of who you are and showed you exactly what you are made of and what you are worth. It literally let the light in so that you could see stuff that maybe you weren’t seeing before. And because of this, you are now more beautiful than ever. You trusted the process and gave in; you hung in there and just went with the flow, whatever this meant at the time and you made it back out on the other end. Trust me, you are not broken; you have been embellished. Like the Japanese art of Kintsugi where smashed pottery is repaired using beautiful seams of gold. Your beauty and worth now lies in your wisdom, in your damaged parts and in your imperfection. Your light shines from within; it came in through your wounds and now you are a reflection of this profound process.
Personally, my hardships have taught me many lessons and have changed me and the way that I view the world in many ways; I am now a more mindful person and I try to look beyond what my vision immediately focuses on. I say yes more often to things that I probably would never have thought of doing before. I am more compassionate of other people and really understand the importance of always being kind because, small or big, we are all going through stuff. I try to find pleasure in even the most tedious of things and I try to truly utilize my time wisely, as opposed to wasting it in silly things that have no real value in the end. I appreciate the good moments in this life, because they too, pass. And I try to share as much as I can, the strategies and tips that helped me through the rough times, because some of them were life-savers for me. Although I had been preparing for it for a long time, I can also say that what I do now with Azomalli, flourished from a very difficult place; a little like how a lotus flower begins to grow at the bottom of a swampy and turbid pool and emerges toward the surface into a beautiful bloom. And several amazing things have come from it, including valuable friendships and connections and hopefully a worthy example to my kids that will, in some way, guide them through if they ever feel lost or in doubt. I now know who I am, and although this will probably keep changing as we are ever evolving creatures, I know my worth and value. And these are all things and lessons that I probably never would’ve done or learned if it wasn’t for the hard times.
I would like to be so bold as to invite you to give in. Every time. With the big feelings and the little ones. It’s ok. Let the pain and the suffering point you in the direction of what they are here to show you; allow yourself to feel bad, sad, to have off days, to cry, to not leave your bed for an entire day. And try to hang out with people during these times that will simply hold a space for you to do so. After all is said and done, you will realize that it did have a purpose; there really is a silver lining. For me, this has been the case, and as much as I dread these days, I now accept and welcome them because now I know that those too, shall pass.
I took my prepubescent son to his first concert the other day and we watched “Imagine Dragons” give a powerful performance of their famous “Believer” song; one of my faves. I shamelessly admit that I did my homework before the concert and tried to learn it word for word. Because, who wants to be at a concert and not know the lyrics…? but mostly just because I wanted to impress him (I repeat; shamelessly). And to my surprise, the lyrics resonated with me on a deep level. I would now like to leave you with just a small part where it is summed up in a much cooler way what I tried to express in this long post:
“Pain; you made me a believer.
You break me down, you build me up, believer.
Oh, let the bullets fly, oh let them rain
My life, my love, my drive it came from