Posts tagged ‘pain’

February 23, 2014

Your shell may shatter, but you will flourish

I like this quote from poet and artist Kahlil Gibran:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

We often feel discomfort when the events of “real” life don’t match our understanding or expectation of how things should unfold. In the sense that Gibran suggests, such pain is a good thing, because it allows us (it forces us) to grow, and in so growing, the borders of our understanding are stretched outwards — our shell enlarged — such that the next potentially painful event that comes along might not hurt so much, situated as it is within (or closer to) the range of experiences that we have already known.

In truth, life is not meant to be entirely comfortable; if it were, we would learn nothing, and we would remain in a position of unending stasis. Your shell may break, but you will not. You cannot grow in an enclosed space.

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April 29, 2013

Heartbreak – a journey (in three quotes)

Heartbreak: a journey (in three quotes):

The breaking of so great a thing
should make a greater crack.
(William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra)

She took a step and didn’t want to take any more,
but she did.
(Markus Zusak, The Book Thief)

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
(Mary Oliver)

April 3, 2013

I am not what I once thought was mine

I like this passage from Susannah Conway’s book This I Know: Notes on Unravelling the Heart:

We could all spend a lifetime unravelling the knots of our childhood, but at some point you realize the knots are no longer yours. They belong to your parents, and their parents before them. The legacy is long and complicated, the damage passed on through generations, until one day someone finally stops and says: This story does not belong to me. 

So many of us blame our troubles and our limitations on our childhoods — on how we were raised; on how we were perceived or treated as children; on the messages we received or didn’t receive in our formative years; on unmet expectations, emotional disappointments, missing pieces and unfulfilled hopes.

But do these stories really apply to the people we are today — to the experiences we have had in our adult years? Many of us have grown beyond the bounds of these old narratives, yet we continue to cling to them, to let them drag us backwards in our vulnerable moments.

What if we were to let them all go? To say to ourselves, “This is a story, yes, but it is not my story. It does not speak about the person I am today. I am more than that. I have travelled beyond the reaches of that tale.” Would our associated troubles lessen? Would our perceived limitations fade away?

Writes Conway:

The past is just the soil we grew up in, a blueprint we can redraft if we look at it from another perspective. What if we retell our stories, and in the retelling the new tale becomes the truth?

A truth in which we are not a victim, not small, not forsaken. A truth in which there is space inside us for love, compassion, forgiveness and empathy — for ourselves and for the people in our lives.

What if, indeed.

March 24, 2013

Love the shadow to love the light

A bit of wisdom from my bag of Yogi Tea:

Love what is ahead by loving what has come before.

To me, this quote suggests that a key to living with contentment — both now and in the future — is the ability to acknowledge and accept all that has happened to you in the past — both the good moments and the bad ones.  “Love what has come before,” even if what has come before is nasty or painful or seems impossible to love.

If your past is anything like mine, it’s no rose garden.  Granted, there have been wonderful moments — plenty of them — but I’ve also experienced difficult and tumultuous times, stormy times filled with hurt and loss, times that have tripped me up, beaten me down and left a few scars to prove it.

Yet if I can learn to love those dark moments as much as I do the light — if I can make peace with them instead of trying to erase them from memory; if I can resolve past hurts and injustices inside myself and then let them go; if I can acknowledge and accept every bit of my past as a vital and worthy part of the person I am now — then I can enter my future with a free and open heart.  I can walk forward unburdened, alive to what is happening around me.  And I can welcome what will come with grace and compassion.

I’m willing to give it a try.  You?