On the Power of Pain
Dear quarter lives,
One of the most precious dreams you can gift yourself during a period of hardship is the possibility of a different future to the one you see now. Life at this point may have not turned out how you expected, but it is still happening, it is still moving, still becoming, and so are you. I personally cannot lie to you and say it is easy to grieve what may have been, what could’ve become, but I do know that it is much easier to hope differently than to keep on hoping for some old dream that will never be, even if that dream were us. What is us after all but what we are and we are not our imagined selves, we are who we are now. And to move anywhere forwards or even backwards, we must recognise first who are today. We get stuck when we refuse precisely to do that — to see the truth of who we are now. It is only in recognising our present that our past makes sense and our future becomes clear. We cannot walk if we cannot see the terrain on which we stand — is it rocky, is it sandy, is it a mountain top, or a river bend? It is painful, I know, to open your eyes to the truth. But when you feel the pain, only then can it subside. Only then can it be transformed into something else. So you must choose what to do with your pain. Only you can decide what to make of it. Perhaps you had no hand in the pain you find yourself in, but you do have all the power to make something of it and that something can be of your choosing, but only if you are willing to take the pain on, to stretch your arm out to it and say ‘Yes, I accept you. Yes, I feel you. Yes, I am willing to learn your lesson.’ Only then will the pain be willing to be transformed by you too.
Those who seek to accumulate power are often condemned as greedy but equally we must not forget that those who relinquish their power are refusing a precious gift given to them by the Universe. We are blessed with power but sometimes we forget how to hold this power and use it. We try to own it, to possess it and accumulate it, but we must remember that it is merely a current, a sort of electricity passing through us seeking to light us up not dissimilar to the way an electric current illuminates a light bulb. First though, we must recognise we are a light bulb. We are not the creators or owners of this power, we cannot collect it or send it away. If we try to hoard it or prevent it from coming in, we simply burn out and go dark. In either case, whether out of too much light or too little light, we die prematurely without the continuous flow of power. It is precisely this flow of power that helps us heat up, burn, and transform our pain. Just like fire burns wood into ashes that then nourish the Earth; it is our power that burns and transforms our pain into something nourishing that feeds us and all the other humans who are connected to our circuit. Without power, we do not have the energy to overcome. Without power, we cannot become who we are. We become who we are by recognising our ability to transform our suffering into something else. So suffering comes sometimes to remind us of a power we have forgotten to use — the power to transform. It comes to remind us of our heritage, our ancestral right to the beautiful art of alchemy, of making something out of nothing, of giving life to something that is dying, of transformation and resurrection.
When there is no pain, there is no pressure. A diamond is formed through pressure. It is all earth, but with enough pressure and heat, a diamond is formed. So remind yourself, where there is no pain, there is no pressure to transform. In our current culture though, there is this fallacy that we constantly need to improve ourselves and I must admit that I too fell and still fall under the misconception sometimes that I must change to improve, that somehow my current self is not good enough and so must become better. But the truth is that there is no good enough. There is just enough. And there is change. Change is merely a movement, like walking, like swimming, like painting, it is just a new arrangement of the raw materials already present. Like baking a cake, the eggs alone are good enough to make an omelette, and the flour good enough to make bread, and both are delicious, but together they can make a cake, also delicious but just different. So perhaps the trick is not to take change so personally, that it does not signify we are second best, but that we cannot be eggs forever or flour forever, that we must connect and merge with all that is around us, that is the purpose of change, as it is with alchemy, to combine! To combine to a point of no separation where something entirely new is birthed. Isn’t that beautiful? To be with something else, to be a part of something new, to become something entirely different together. It is the process of merging, of melting into life. Pain, change, power help us melt into life so that we can become life and finally recognise ourselves as not others roaming in life but that we are life itself. Life is us happening through us, speaking and changing via us, and merging onto and with itself so that it can be as inclusive, as containing, as whole as it possibly can.
With love and always for peace,
(P.s. I’ve missed you and apologies for the recent long breaks.)