The beauty of pain

Jan 20, 2021

It is often pain that brings us back to the present moment. In our natural state we tend to want to wonder off into the unknown future, attempting to write in our heads as many possibilities of what could happen, what could go wrong, what ifs… or we go the opposite direction and into the past, where we like to linger…usually on all the negatives, the why did I do that? I wish I had done different, what do they think of me? I feel so ashamed and/or guilty about that.

So back to the first statement, it is pain that often brings us back to the awareness of the fleeting present moment.

You may wonder why is being present important, and a reason being that is there when life happens! Not in the past, not in the future…but in the present moment. But the reason why I want to focus on living on the present moment is because to be in the “zone”, to be “in flow”, in your best game…you got to be in the present moment; there is no way around it. The past with its shame and guilt, and the future with its dreaming or worrying actually robs us form living life, from being present in the now.

As a very simple example let me tell you what happened a few days ago. I was emptying the dishwasher and putting things away while thinking and reviewing issues from work, going from feeling stressed to a little angry until the sharp pain of a pointy knife going through my skin in my hand brought my full attention to the small wound I had carelessly created in my hand. Suddenly there was no more worrying about the day at work. I was fully focus on cleaning the small wound and getting back to carefully put everything in its place, now paying attention to my hands, the movement I was making, the surfaces I was touching, etc.

Although a silly example it carries profound implications. It made me realize, that pain can be a powerful anchor to the present moment!

You can apply it to most pains in life. In the last 2 months I had 2 big losses in my family. Two aunts who were very dear to me. One past away unexpectedly, the other one had a fight with cancer that took her away in very short 4 months. The pain of loss shook me from the routine of automatically going through my day without thinking of my purpose. Suddenly within the same week 2 beautiful people were not in this world anymore.

Suddenly the reality of loss and death were so strong and daunting that shook my routine, my habits…now I was considering my own life, when will I go…will I go first? Or my kids? Or my husband? Those are scary question, but the pain of these questions can really put things into perspective. Suddenly I was trying to hug my boys longer…looking at the sunset more intensely and trying to absorb the coffee with my husband in a more meaningful way.

It is through pain that we are often shaken to be fully present in the moment and gain awareness to notice our blessing as well as the things that we need to change. Seems that it often takes a crisis to knock us down so we finally realize that we need to take action. Life brings pain no matter what. But there can be a choice between utilizing that pain and moving into action or staying paralyzed in suffering. There is a path that leads out of this suffering and into the beautiful journey of self-discovery and mastery.

No matter how hard your past has been I invite you to consider that, like Robin Sharma said: “the past is a place to learn from, not a place to live in”. Use the pain in your life to fuel massive action. Learn to master your life and thrive in joy. Learn to live fully in the present moment; after all, it is ALL WE HAVE!

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