Healing Sometimes Means Learning to Live in Peace with The Pain

April 22, 2013



I’m pretty sure that sometimes “healing” just means learning to live in peace with the pain.

I’ve been to countless workshops. I’ve questioned my stressful thoughts for days on end and accumulated countless hours of stranger eye-gazing to weepy Whitney Houston songs; I’ve sat still and starving on desolate mountainsides, determinedly reframed disappointments and disillusionment as profound blessings; I’ve danced in authentic celebration on many a dark cloud’s silver lining, recited endless forgiveness mantras, lovingly held my phantom inner child and even walked (quickly) across 2000-degree glowing hot coals while screaming “YES! … YES! … YES!”.

I’ve done it all. … Well, I’ve at least done most of it.

Despite all the inner work I’ve done and all the beautiful insights my mind and heart are fortunate to see, there are some sorrows from my past that just never seem to fully exhaust their sadness.

Yes, certain ones do get easier to bear with time, and perhaps someday I’ll be completely healed when I finally discover the right technique or some flash of divine insight startles me awake in bed … or maybe I just notice the wound no longer aches when life pokes its wild, meddling, sharp-nailed fingers at it.

For now, though, simply making peace with the pain seems to be the best healing I can hope for. It might even be the very salvation my sadness so deeply longs for.

SONG INSPIRATION: Listen to this Alanis Morissette song, “Incomplete”, about how our desperate, incessant search for completion only delays the rapture of relief we’re actually looking for, a rapture which can perhaps only be found in accepting that we are forever incomplete:

I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time
Of being forever incomplete


NOTE: I dedicate this post to my dear beloved friend, Brian Kelly, a Marine and exceptional man and father of 3, and to my friend Angela, Brian’s devoted wife and one of the coolest women on the planet. Brian succumbed to lung and brain cancer in Aug 2013, likely caused by Gulf War Syndrome. I’m forever grateful for your presence in my life, Brian.

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  • You just said in bold what my mind was figuring out.. Thanks for completing my puzzle for me! 😉
    As for having peace with your perpetual pain… should one give in to the impulse to tell the truth after a decade to some one who has clearly moved on…even if it would make you seem stupid, but at least you’ve a chance of finding your peace…while knowing that telling your side of the story may not be fruitful at all… It seems men don’t care about the aftermath of their actions (or inaction) esp after moving on…or so it seems. Should women also sleep over the past…and just die without letting a man know that she did love him and still does but had let him go for his parents’ happiness. Its painful to love n let go, and be blamed for it, when you are the lover!

    • Hi. Thanks for asking. You’re clearly still seeking closure in your own heart and mind. I understand. I am still learning to live with some residual sadness from an old relationship in which my ex is now married to another man, and pregnant. As I have been learning so much from what went “wrong” in our relationship, I find there’s so much I want to say to her.

      But I have to question, why would I bring her into my process? Do I want something from her? Do I need her validation, love, approval, understanding, etc. in order to feel complete in myself? She never gave me those things before … of course it was never her job in the first place!! Why would I be looking to her for them now?

      I’ve decided the best thing is to keep learning from what happened, and leave her in peace. She’s moved on with her life. Pulling her back into my own journey for whatever reason, knowing she’s moved on, would just be selfish of me … and ultimately pointless.

      One thing you can do, is sit in front of an empty chair, and speak to that chair like your ex is sitting there. Trust me, he’ll magically show up once you start talking. Tell him everything you want him to know. When you’re finished, then move to sit in that empty chair, and speak as if you are your ex, back to yourself. It’s magical what can unfold from this.

      You don’t need anything from your ex, or to give anything to him. What you’re looking for is closure in your own body. You can create that without his involvement. For real.

      I hope that helps.

      • It certainly does…. Again its my learning too… Thank you so much for your signpost for me saying “on the right path to healing within and without”… 🙂 I stopped writing a decade ago as there was too much inside to organize and make sense of…and just last week it dawned upon me why I have taken so long to move on, and still haven’t come to terms with the aftermath of my own decision that I had taken in my youth showing remarkable maturity… And it’s because I closed all doors and windows that would have allowed some fresh perspective on my pain which started to take root in my mind. Being a ‘strong girl’ I could not and did not let out the river of pain to flow out…and thus at times start to drown in to that pain when it gets too hard n long to resist it…

        They say doctors are the worst patient, same is the case with counselors! I know the techniques but only try them out in my head. And man, how I trick myself every other day into believing I have finally moved on…. Hah! 🙂

        I guess, I should write him that one long letter that’s long due and imagine him reading it… While secretly hoping for it to be later translated into some movie’s concept! Lol

        My rant would go on… I thank you again for taking out the time to ‘get’ me and reassuring that we’ll grow out of it, or learn to live with it…
        Keep writing your blog posts. You’ve a knack for saying (writing) things as they are and exactly what somebody from across the continent might want to hear… God bless you in your life’s journey!

  • Holy awesomeness, Bryan. Your ability to stay with, and then articulate and share your beautiful, real humanness with… well, like all of us… So brave. So big. Thank you. A rare soul, you are. I’m certain the world is much better with you in it.

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