TRANSFORMING PAIN INTO POWERFUL MEDICINE
Contained within our pain and suffering is a powerful medicine.
So often, when we experience sadness, loss, fear and discomfort, we feel as if we are in a nightmare or as if we have lost our sense of security.
For example, when I lost my Mum, I felt as if I had lost a 'safe place' - but with time, I realised my concept of safety, and feeling like I had everything under control, had actually been an illusion.
The one thing that is certain in life is uncertainty and change, and the only true 'safe place' we have is ourselves.
We have to become the 'safe place'
we so often look for outside of ourselves.
When we are experiencing suffering, fear can often be present too, which can permeate our perception of life, even affecting our thinking and the language we use.
Sometimes, it can be really helpful to shift our perspective and see the power we have by asking ourselves, 'OK, so x has happened. What are my choices and options here in the way that I can handle this?'
Through the pain of loss that I experienced, one of the biggest realisations I had was that my pain could become a springboard to living in the Now, to celebrating life in this moment, to knowing that the power to turn my pain into medicine lives within me.
Our suffering can cloud our thinking and make us doubt ourselves, our gifts, and our ability to cope - but this is just fear talking, and we mustn't let fear stop us from going after our dreams Today.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed to us and, truly, it doesn't exist.
There is only ever Now.
The creative power within You is powerful and nothing short of miraculous.
What can you do today that would allow you to follow your heart, and how can you use your gifts to make a difference today?
Your creative offerings might be just the medicine someone else needs to hear - and our fears can come along for the ride, but they can't be allowed to touch the steering wheel!
Often, the only thing standing between us and our dreams and our joy is our fear and the limiting beliefs that keep us locked in the past or future.
Our pain, too, can be a great teacher, feeding our bravery muscles and making us stronger.
Pain, too, can come in a sliding scale, from the bigger things to the little things.
In terms of our creative endeavours, every rejection can actually make us stronger.
The other day, I received a rejection and I said to my husband, 'Oh! I've just had a good rejection!', because someone had said that my idea was 'intriguing' and they could see it being placed somewhere else, but it wasn't right for them just now. Well, I thought, I'll take 'intriguing' any day!
And this is what creative work - when we put it out into the world - can look like sometimes.
We can be rejected, we can be criticised, we can even be ignored - but this is what happens with anything creative or artistic.
It's deeply subjective. But just because one person doesn't resonate with, or even like, your work doesn't mean someone else won't absolutely love it - and even if nobody liked it and nobody ever saw it, it doesn't mean that you and your creative endeavours are any less valuable or have any less worth.
I trust that my work will land with the right person, in the right place, at the right time - and if it doesn't, that's OK too. It still has value and meaning to me and I still enjoyed the creative process.
In life, we can take a lot of knocks,
and sometimes we can sit with our sadness and feel immobilised by it -
but within us, too, is a phoenix
that can and will rise from the ashes and seize life again.
Our pain makes us think, and it's a bit like climbing a mountain, too.
You can't see the view from the top yet. You can just see and feel the struggle as you clamber up the mountainside - but eventually, you will reach the top and it will be beautiful and it will be worth it, and you will see how each step brought you closer to seeing the bigger picture and to knowing your own strength.
And when we know our own strength,
then we have found our medicine,
the thing that will get us through even the toughest spots.
I believe that life is a real blessing, and in the face of pain, sometimes we can shut ourselves off from anything that might bring us joy. If we've been hurt in our relationships, or we've lost someone we loved, or even if we are hurt by creative rejection or judgement, we can close ourselves off from any similar experiences in future.
But we live in a world of opposites - without the rain, the rainbow wouldn't shine as brightly.
Fairly recently, I lost so many people in my family who were dear to me - my mum, my two aunties and my cousin - and I'd become burnt out by being a carer for my mum and by working long hours too.
Sometimes the grief, loss and pain this brings can be very pronounced, but would I be without my pain?
No, because every minute of knowing them and every minute of loving them makes it worth it.
There is a bittersweet beauty here too, and I have heard it said that grief is simply the price we pay for love.
The only antidote to pain I know is to bring myself profoundly into the Now, to take control of my pain so that it doesn't take control of me and start to run the show.
The 13th-century Persian mystic and poet, Rumi once said that, 'Anything you lose comes around in another form', and I believe that the love I lost in the form of my family members has come around again in my writing.
Within our pain is a powerful medicine that can make us more compassionate, more drawn to live, more human.
To quote Rumi again,
'Through Love all that is bitter will be sweet,
Through Love all that is copper will be gold,
Through Love all dregs will become wine,
Through Love all pain will turn to medicine.'
Hope is part of this healing balm and so, too, is trusting in the flow of life of which we all a part.
Life is movement, laughter, love, creativity - these are all the medicines of the soul.
They pull our heartstrings and, in so doing, pull us all together - and this, surely now more than ever, is what the world needs most.