In my book, Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity, I talked about facing our pain in the chapter Being with Pain. Really, a lot of the book is about facing the pain we often must to heal. Whether it is getting into shape or breaking an addiction or dealing with past trauma, the process is the same. I wrote:
Everyone knows that, even after a few days, our bodies will begin to adjust to the new routine and become stronger so that we don’t feel as much pain even with more involved practices. Every day, we will be able to walk further or lift more or breath better. But there’s the pain! It’s always going to be painful first. ~Being, Karl Forehand
When we decide to deal with the pain in our lives, we really only have about 3 options.
The first option is to quit. I knew it would be painful to face the trauma in my life, just like it was painful to experience two-a-day practices in football. Part of me knew that the pain would get better, but I chose to avoid it. The trouble was that the pain got worse. If I don’t get into shape, which is painful, eventually it will be painful to do simple tasks. If I don’t face the trauma from my past, eventually it will emerge in more painful episodes.
Another option is try to numb the pain. There is no end to temporary fixes like drugs, comfort food or things like spiritual bypassing. In a way most religion is meant to avoid the painful and hard things of life is search of the new drug that makes us feel good and then lets down on Monday when we come off the high. Television, social media, superficial friendships can all help us forget the painful and necessary work we need to do.
The best option is leaning in to pain. This is not news to us. We all know that eventually it will be easier to walk a mile or speak in public or be with our trauma–we just don’t want to deal with the initial pain. I tried for about 50 years to find a magic solution to avoid this timeless principle, but so far the magic elixir has eluded me and most things are like football practice–they hurt a lot at first, but eventually we grow stronger–the muscles heal–and we are grateful in the end.
I hope you will investigate my book called Being. The whole first section of the book is about me finally being desperate enough to do whatever it took to find healing. It was definitely painful, but it was also worth it! It started as an attempt to just record what I went through, but later I realized I had written something bigger than myself.
I wish you well on your journey of facing your pain.
Be where you are, Be who you are,