In this season of my life, I am consistently and willingly exploring the path through pain. That’s partly because I have chronic pain, but it’s also because I was always getting here, having been a lifelong pain avoider and notorious busybee with NO TIME for the pain of the past. Also, before I had kids, I had A LOT OF TIME AND SPACE to make myself comfortable, to listen to my body in the present and to tend to myself from moment to moment. Having kids gave me every reason to go directly into my heart and set my path straight by way of feeling my pain. And I don’t regret it, although, for a very long time, I FOR DAMN SURE DID.

Every month, a new thing is flowering up inside of me, and it hurts like a mother until it doesn’t. This month, it’s this:

There’s nobody left to blame. There’s no fault to assign. There isn’t a reason for every wound we suffer, unless you consider it reason enough that we are all given some amount of pain that we may turn into power if we’re willing (we are always able).

Years I spent in therapy unpacking my chlidhood were worth it, but now, as a mother, I know that we have all got our own heart-sized crosses to carry. We have all got to walk home, and the walk leads through failure and mistakes and 20/20 hindsight that we can’t go back and undo. The point of pain isn’t to leave us stuck in it or dwelling in it. It’s to get us moving-and that sounds crazy, because a lot of my pain has felt like an enormous nail pinning me down to my seat. Except that wasn’t my pain, after all. That was my FEAR of my pain. That was my STORY about my pain. The pain part was about MOVING through.

The moving starts with breath. It begins with subtle movement in only places like ribcage, back and belly. It feels like imaginary light moving up and down my spine, or the way I can envision the removal of teeny tiny thorns from deep within my toes and ankles. This isn’t big, mammoth movement. It isn’t about large leaps and bounds, thrusting and slamming weight around. It’s about getting back to the cells that surround my bones and giving them a chance to tell the truth and to heal.

The movement isn’t about traveling far and wide on big vacations or doing epic, adrenaline-infused activities. Sometimes, it feels like a slow, slimey crawl through a hole that feels achingly familiar and all I can do is just LET IT ALL BE.

One thing that pain sure AIN’T about is being victimized by life. We may have been victims, but we get to choose to be victimized or taught. Pushed down or empowered. That’s a grab we have to take and take responsibly, because no one can hold any one of us back like WE, OURSELVES, CAN.

The more I move through pain, the more I know that I collaborated in bringing myself to this path, and it’s not up to somebody else to show up and save me from it. A long time ago, I was a girl who didn’t trust anyone and didn’t know how to conjure the courage to ask for help. I shut down and chose silence and hiding. I slipped through the cracks, and yes, there were grown ups who missed it. But I could have opened my mouth and I could have said: HELP.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because one day pain will knock on your door, if it hasn’t already. And you have a choice when that day comes. You can open the door and let it in. You can give yourself the gift of your life’s path toward grace and healing, or you can block the door and hide like hell (both of which I am willing to admit to doing, but I’d recommend choosing the former over the latter). If your pain is chronic, I would encourage you to ask yourself why you make pain work so hard and so long to get to you.

Also, does it help to wear your wounds like a badge of honor? It doesn’t help me. What helps is telling the truth about them, and unpacking the business of them. Then, it helps to see the way that I create my own reality, and that reality includes how I will harvest my life for more power or succumb to my circumstances for more pain.

I know what I choose, and still it’s sometimes hard to do. It requires me to CHANGE. But what else, guys? What else does life have in store for us if not a healthy dose of crinkly, inconvenient, life-altering change?

Hug your heart and what aches and then follow it back to the beginning. Search the wound and harvest the hell out of that place until you have what you need to heal. Move like your legs were made of swan’s wings and your arms were crafted from cloud dust and give yourself the gift of grace shooting straight down from the top of your head to the tips of your toes because you only have one life and it is yours to create.