In a world where being positive reigns supreme, it has become distinctly challenging to express our pain. For the most part, we fear to even face it or the sadness it carries and that sinks itself so silently yet turbulently into our soul. We hide our inner grief beneath a reluctant smile, yet our eyes are the mirror of our hearts and speak the truth of what lays within.

We deflect and disguise our pain when all it truly wants is to be seen, heard, understood and accepted. We hurt ourselves and in turn unintentionally cast the same fate onto others that we care for. It becomes a cycle of sorrow that we can only begin to break once we challenge our own beliefs and find the freedom of expression to give a voice to our muted cries and echoes of pain.

A lotus must grow in the mud

As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.

– Gautama Buddha

Beyond the pain lies an existential fact — we are all unconditionally vulnerable. We fear pain because it highlights to us just how fragile and exposed we truly are. Pain and sadness permeate the surface level and take us on a journey into deep waters; they do not distinguish between the brave and fearful, the rich and poor, or the loved and lonely.

Our task through the darkest of times is to find a way to swim through the murky waters of hurt, sorrow, mental and emotional pain and come out the other side, stronger and more beautiful through the internal noise of the transition. In Buddhism, the lotus flower is a spiritual symbol of growth and enlightenment, its colorful open petals rising strong on long stalks through the muddy waters that inspired her seeds to bloom. Just like the lotus flower, we can elevate and rise, bond and beautify through shadows and darkness.

cracked seed – from destruction comes rebirth

The purpose of pain

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

— Cynthia Occelli

Pain has a purpose. It is unfiltered, raw, and beats you down to the very core of what keeps you ticking. It smashes you open — but you are not broken. We can never be weakened by what shakes us violently from the inside out, only made stronger. When we perceive pain or falling into its depths as a weakness, then we lose all power to gain the evolution and wisdom it can offer us. When we run or try to escape pain, it is like we are running from ourselves.

All change requires an instigator and something to spark a shift within you. Dark times drive a dissolution of everything, allowing for something greater to be born. When we numb what we feel we only drive those emotions further into the shadows, which only intensifies and magnifies their propensity. When we embrace what has hurt us, we can shine a light on our inner wounds, uncover them from their haze, and take our power back.

We can only begin to heal once we accept the destruction and nakedly face our despair. We allow it to unfold within us so we can repair our inner turmoil with an “emotional glue” that is laced with strength, courage and pure compassion. You are not worth less because of your pain — you are worth more in spite of it.

Finding the beauty through the pain

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.

– Rumi

There is tenderness and wisdom in a heart burst wide open on the journey through pain. To endure and override the eclipse of painful circumstance gives birth to an enhanced level of sensitivity and understanding of who you are and all that you stand for. It inspires a regeneration and rebirth within you.

We are never the same after pain, but we are warriors of light and hope who rise from its remnants. We find the beauty and grace of sorrow when we can breathe its release — and choose to let it go. The roots of that sadness and grief remain — it is a sticking point where the hurt still hurts just enough to remind you that it was there; a less visible ghost of what existed. Every experience flows within us because we are the sum of all our parts, even the deepest pockets of pain.

Moving lovingly through our anguish is how we mend

Pain can consign us into an isolated cocoon that becomes like a swathe of a grieving second skin. Rather than allowing it to consume us, we can intuitively and consciously move with it and through it; embrace its presence and gently emerge out of its hold.

You are not your pain. You are the one with the intrinsic chemistry of love that is needed for you to break through your pain to a new dawn. You are like the proud and colorful lotus, elevating through the darkest depths to stand taller and stronger, facing the sun.

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