We can all relate to feeling inner pain. The feeling of not being seen, or heard - understood and accepted.
This is a feeling I know well.
Like most people I grew up without the type of support I really needed and craved from my family and environment. I've spent a lot of my life pushing friends and family away - being angry when they didn't show up for me the way I wanted them to or assumed they wouldn't, and believed I would always feel unsupported and like I didn't belong.
This led to a confusing dichotomy between one part of me that was in deep craving for intimate loving connection, and the other part of me that was fully armored and reflecting the non accepting state I felt I was experiencing.
I've been unwinding conditioned patterning in my spiritual practice for years - but it wasn't until last week where I spent every day totally in meditation, silent, dropping ever deeper into the depths of my pain that I was able to reach the experience that broke this open.
We have been conditioned for millions of years to turn away from pain. It goes against our nature to walk into the thing that hurts.
A short story: There was some healthy and sometimes not so healthy bullying that took place in my household growing up. The wound up towel switch trick was a common one to get me squealing and running around in fear. I remember one time in particular - rather than running away in fright - I lunged toward the towel instead.
There was a sense of shock when the person with the towel said "wow! that's a good idea - to go for the towel." What I learned in that moment was that in order to avoid the pattern of experiencing fear from the snap and running away, it took a different way of showing up- taking a risk, leaning in rather than out. There was no guarantee that I wasn't going to get hit - but in a split second I chose the unknown.
Because of showing up fully even though I was scared - the painful thing disappeared and I was empowered. Rather than shriveling to bits and struggling - I was soaring.
It took the first few days of the retreat to harness my mind, and find enough safety and inner relaxation to get there - but once I was there - meditation became a waterfall or a spring of flowing experience of deeply hidden treasure (without the guarantee of comfort).
For the first time: I fully opened to the inner matrix of truth. I slowly peeled away every piece of resistance. When I felt into HOW I needed to see - My body showed me WHAT to see.
The clarity of trust became so apparent. Without the judgments from my mind sometimes the truth revealed would be sort of amorphous and non conforming to detail, and other times it would be like writing on the wall.
As I became increasingly less attached to what was happening - the inner soaring and heart opening grew and grew. I didn't stop feeling my trauma, disappointments, or anger - but they had the space to transform into confidence and empowered truth.
I've known these things on an intellectual level for a long time. But I was blind to the level at which I was still holding onto resistance.
When I can trust that I'm not going to die if I feel my pain - and let it be in my awareness with a love and sweetness - my pain doesn't need to be a ride on struggle street.
What I found is that when I can scoot and snuggle into the darkness and unknown and sit with it - I'm not saying the pain doesn't still hurt - but it feels easier - it transforms into a beauty I can only describe as awakening heart.
Cultivating sweetness for many of us can be the hardest part. I often get the question: "HOW do you do that? Like HOW?"
My truest and most annoying response is: You try. You invite the belief that there is no failing in this. You breathe and soften. Again and again forever.
There is no pill for loving yourself. There is only method and practice.
The things I want to shout out on the rooftops are these:
- As my teacher says: Pain + Resistance = Suffering. And I'd like to add: Pain + Acceptance =Flow and ease. Are you willing to ease off the resistant pedal? What may open for you if you do?
- Our brains can 'know' something but our bodies have to be in the experience for the learning to even matter. Create opportunities for your body to do what it was designed to do. (teach you!) It's ridiculous what it takes to really feel into and learn this. I'm convinced that this work will never end and this is our pathway into purpose and calling.
- Pain is always the teacher. All pain. Something is trying to get your attention. What would it take for you to listen? Where does your body already have the answers?
Leave me a comment below! Questions, inquiries, push backs... I'm here to be in the mystery with you!
If you feel called to gain more practice and embodiment with these topics click HERE and let's chat!