The Paradox of Pain

Here is what I know about rising and falling: They belong to each other.

I really had to take a nose dive this week, and because I don’t do anything “small,” when I dove, I dove all the way. I took a good 2 days to sink, and I allowed the weight of things to carry me down. Once I got good and down to the depths of myself, I took my time. I let in whatever showed up. I did not run. I did not rise.

After 2 days, something shook my leg, cut the cord around my ankle and pushed me up. Before I was aware of what was happening, I was rising up-head back above water. Taking in air. Eyes searching for the shore.

“Time to get back to work,” said the small voice inside me.

The paradox of pain is that once you let yourself feel it fully, it loosens its grip. It lets go. It says, thank you for being with me. Now, up you go. Pain won’t necessarily disappear just because you decide to show up and drop into it, but it WILL CHANGE. Because your relationship to pain will change. Because you will change.

This week, I said yes to my pain. I dropped in, looked at it with shaky eyes and said: Okay. Let’s do this. You and me, baby.

And, pain, the sweet sister to brother comfort said, “Thank you for being with me.” We spent a couple of days together, and she filled me with the sorrow and the shakiness I’d been holding back. She rocked and she rolled me in my fear, she held me in my grief and in my loss, she listened while I sang to her about being scared and sad and wounded and alone and angry. She waited with me until every wince and ouch and sting and burn and spasm and weakness and tightness had worked its way through me. Then, she looked back at me and said, “Up, you go.” And, she let me go.

What I’m saying here is that pain is complicated, but WORTH IT. We live in a world that applauds confidence and go-getters and glossy pictures and shiny filters and airbrushed and contoured and looking good and always can-do attitudes, but WE ARE SO MUCH MORE. The only way I have ever learned to do hard things is BY DOING THEM. By falling down, and getting up. The only way I grow closer to myself is by embracing EVERY PART OF ME. Including the wounded places, the sharp edges and the parts that just ACHE. This is the only way I know how to be a whole person, and guys, I AM A WHOLE PERSON. Why be anything else? What else is there to be, anyway?

I promised you and me both that I would show up-whether I am on the other side of the finish line, or melting down in the middle of the race. Rising, or falling.

And now, back to work. I’ve got my head above water. Eyes on the shore. Off, we go.













The Next Right Thing


What I Leave Behind


  1. Laine

    Fuck pain. Wow that felt good to write! Thanks for emboldening me to do that 🙂 Love you and your strength. Sometimes you just have to swim parallel to the shore…

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