Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stopping the Pain

A friend who is going through separation, and probably divorce also, spoke of the confusion of feelings that has come up, and continues to come up in his process of transitioning his relationship with his wife. “I didn’t know what to do, or what I wanted. All I knew is that I wanted the pain to stop.” I found this to be an extremely eloquent statement, a very clear expression of that unclear feeling, all too commonly unearthed when life offers an unavoidable, and unchosen major jolt. It is really what my clients hire me to help them to do: “Stop the pain. Please just help me stop the pain!!”

We are very good at getting ourselves into pain: get up every morning, do our lives, make a few mistakes along the way and BAM! PAIN! Now what?? No one told us life would be this difficult when we were sweet innocent young children. Well, maybe even that is a fantasy. Most small children get to witness their fair share of struggling adults around them. In that respect maybe it is an unspoken truth that we all know somewhere deep inside; yes we too are destined for struggle and Pain.

Wouldn’t it be nice if as a holiday gift to ourselves we could find ways, at least a little bit, and maybe even just for a short space of time to, “stop the pain”? It really should not be that hard. Pain is all about our wounded hearts. We wound ourselves, and allow the people around us to wound us also. First step in undoing our pain is to take personal responsibility for all the things that we know we can take responsibility for. Our adult ability, prerogative, and privilege to make choices is very powerful and very freeing.

So what do the Holiday’s and Healing have in common? Plain and simple, they are both occasions for pure loving. The first place to offer that love, and sometimes the hardest, is to our selves, to our own hearts. The wise advice I offered my friend is simply this: Healing and loving are two sides of the same coin. To offer yourself healing, allow yourself to be and feel loved, truly loved. So often people skip themselves and move directly to all the people around them for whom they feel responsibility. Altruism looks good on the surface, but it really is only altruistic if the person making the offering is strong enough to be able to make an offering. As anyone who has ever traveled on an airplane knows, if you don’t have oxygen, you will not be able to offer oxygen to your traveling child or other loved companion. Likewise, if your heart has been abandoned, it will not have the strength and capacity to love well.

This holiday season make an offering of love to yourself. Spend some time thinking about what will nourish you, inspire you, make your heart sing, and find a way to allow yourself that gift. Think of it as an offering, not just to you, but to all the people around you that you love the most. Imagine a world where all the people in it were content, nourished, and felt loved. Then do what you can to make yourself one of those people.

May you feel and be love, this holiday season and always.