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The Great Motivator

I’ve spent the last six years recovering after my daughter’s transition. At first I couldn’t go on. Time passed and I kept on. Then I had no interests and time passed and I found interests. I troubled through nights sleeping and time passed. I am sleeping. I was broken and found tendrils of who I was before. Time passed and I am more whole. Life is like an onion. Layer upon layer becomes more exposed as I discover, understand and let go memories, core beliefs and old habits. I have discovered my resilience from living through pain. Without the motivation would I have learned so much about myself?

Sorrow, hurt, pain

Can all be gifts.

They open you to feel,

allow the rawness of your days to be fully lived

electric skin

sensitive eyes, tender mind, open heart.

Pain works as a crow bar.

Yes, that sounds harsh

but it sure does pry you open

exposing raw parts that long to be soothed.

Without it, you may remain hidden, closed

walled off to the world of feeling, of love.

A good heartache

that just opens you wide, even if you don’t like it

and definitely don’t want it

permits you to express, feel, heal . . .

if you let it.

There are those that take their hurt, stuff it deep

Cover it up

with anger, fear, worry.

They remain at arm’s length

distanced from love, life, themselves.

Others – they numb their minds, hearts, bodies

treat their discomfort with mind clouds

things that remove them

distance that creates a vast divide.

They don’t reach into the recesses of their aching parts

that need flashlight attention.

Instead, they remain frozen with pain,

emotionless to love. If we can all shine light on our pain

expose it, express it, bathe it,

what kind of world would evolve?

We could learn, we could live, love, grow

be grateful for a passerby

saying “bless you” as you sneeze on the street,

thank the green leaves on trees above you

recognize air, sun

as it kisses your awestruck skin.

Wake each day with wonder

so when we see someone heartbroken,

we would choose to embrace them instead of look away.

Gaze right into their gigantic tears that long to be understood –

Be the present that bridges their sorrow.

Pain can be beautiful.

Raw expressions

ability to feel . . .

What is more beautiful than that?

Facing our pain is the only way we can heal it.

Walk the path that moves us from one place to another

a place that is softer, kinder

more familiar, yet different at the same time.

It brings us back to the core of who we are

What we stand for

And what we cannot stand

Knowing that we are stronger than pain

Every single time.

Participants’ Reflections

  • I needed to hear this reading today. I am trying to sit with my pain. I know I can get to the other side. In the meditation, I got that being in the present would help. Just be in my skin. Look for joy today for that hurting little girl.

  • That was a powerful reading. We know we are bigger than our pain. I started thinking of petty annoyances. Letting them go.

  • There are times I've felt my pain is bigger than me. I lean on friends and people I trust then. It helps.

  • Thinking of a woman who felt like a mother who said we are all on this Earth to help each other. I’ve been struggling for a while. I try to not cry on the phone when talking with service people. I thank them for their kindness. If we can do that with people who help us, we help them: in those few moments, there is complete understanding and compassion.

  • My favorite line in the reading was ‘pain as a crowbar’, especially pain from heartbreak. I can live through the physical pain but it takes resilience to live through emotional pain. In a healing state, I can say “I'm grateful for pain”, but I’m not usually there.

  • Comparing this time to the 1918 pandemic. I’m realizing it’s worth stepping back. In our interactions with strangers, cut them some slack. Everyone is in pain during this time. Some become belligerent. It’s good to take extra time to thank that person. It's hard on everyone. I go forward from this meditation with wonderful support from this group.

  • I thought about resilience during the meditation. Sometimes I forget to care for my plants, they are resilient and perk up with some water. We also don’t need a lot, we are resilient. This morning, I decided to pray, not to anything, just be open to pray.

  • I have fear of angry people who are not in touch with their anger or pain. Matt Kahn says do an instant prayer “may all beings have compassion.” It helps me feel hopeful. Thank you.

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