I originally posted my first version of Let It Hurt in August, 2017 following the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. The next version is from November of 2018 following the mass shooting in Pittsburgh.
As I look back over the last 3 years, I shudder at the astounding number of violent and tragic events our country has endured.
The last few weeks have triggered an onslaught of rage and grief for us. The previous months marked by fear, uncertainty and profound emotional discomfort due to the global pandemic were already weighing heavily on us when the tragedy struck.
The barbaric act causing the death of George Floyd evoked new waves of outrage and suffering. And now the wound that has not even begun to heal is ripped wide open due to another unspeakable atrocity leading to yet another death.
Gaping wounds of racism, bigotry and hate continue to plague this country, and many of us are experiencing deep shame as we confront our own unconscious role in perpetuating racism. Decades pass and we live our lives of privilege mostly ignoring the torment of the truth.
I am reminded that my recovery from decades of chronic emotional and physical pain occurred when I moved toward my discomfort and allowed it.
I now know that the only way to transform pain is to allow it, hear it, and honor its message.
Our society trains us to bypass emotional pain and to apply the “band-aide method” to much of our lives. We are often encouraged to “just get over it, make the best of it or smile when our hearts are breaking.”
The overwhelming collective pain we are experiencing due to the pandemic, racism, violence and hate creates deep concerns within us regarding our own personal struggles with intense sadness, grief and anger.
We just want to feel better.
Yet, this is our opportunity to “get better at feeling” from Michael Brown’s The Presence Process
Right now our country is hurting. We may be experiencing confusion with surges of emotional energy we have never learned to navigate. Whether we want to lash out or hide, we owe it to ourselves to practice self-kindness and compassionate self-reflection throughout this voyage.
I believe it often serves us to acknowledge that a broken heart is an essential part of healing. As we acknowledge, allow and accept the anguish we feel, our pain will eventually guide us to the actions that serve us both collectively and individually.
Today we must honor our pain and listen to its message. It is essential to remember that this pain is necessary and normal. We are NOT okay right now and it’s okay not to be okay.
As we practice loving awareness it’s important to realize that each one of us is navigating a path of uncertainty that is different from anything we have experienced.
It helps me to remember what we humans have experienced over thousands of generations. Our blood and DNA reflect that of our ancestors. We are the descendants of those who survived famines, wars, depressions and epidemics. Let’s remember this as we acknowledge that fear, anxiety and vulnerability are normal and natural.
We must strive to honor and accept ALL parts of ourselves in this moment in time. Fighting, judging, and trying to “fix” ourselves activates the body’s stress physiology interfering with its innate healing mechanisms. Building self-trust and self-kindness allows these healing processes to flourish.
As we Let It Hurt, our shared human vulnerability is connecting us in new ways that will foster change, justice and peace.
And remember, we all hold the key,