Sad and upset woman deep in thought

Pain. We all shy away from it, of course we do. Physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual pain cause tremendous fear and resistance. Pain comes in and we go out – anywhere to avoid, or at least lessen the pain.

We are afraid it will never go away. We are afraid it will get worse. We tell ourselves it is unbearable. We tense against pain even when it is not present. We keep ourselves small so as to shrink the target as if then it will miss us. We refuse to love deeply, give generously, act bravely, because what if…

The worst could happen. And it could. And it does. So there is proof. Best to shrink back, hold yourself tightly, avoid going out on a limb, don’t risk too much. And from this small, tight, safe little world we agonize over the fact that we suffer the lack of the richness of life.

This is quite a dilemma. How do we risk love, challenges, creativity, and not get hurt? The answer, is we don’t. Life is painful. A rich life is risky.

Loving deeply, living full-out, trying new adventures, all takes courage. The problem is that many of us are not taught this as children. Some have a much more natural ability to risk than others, and we who prefer to live more safely look in amazement and call them adrenaline junkies.

We all have a line over which we will not go. Whether it be in love or business or a physical challenge. It does make sense to have a line over which one does not go. But if we are not aware of how small we keep ourselves, we may be cutting ourselves short.

The invitation is to watch, to set the intention to see where it is that life is being cut off out of fear of pain. Pain is going to happen, no doubt, and to brace against it before it happens strangles life energy. When we brace against the pain in the present, it locks it into place and tightens the system so that nothing else can come in.

Breathe deeply. Feel the feelings in your body, rather than replay the story in your mind. The former has movement and helps the pain dissolve. The latter creates more stagnation and feeds the pain. Remind yourself that it is only pain and it will go away. Tell yourself, even if no one else has ever told you, you can do hard things. You can survive pain. This is part of life.  By leaning into the pain, more life is available.

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