Pain as Medicine

“Make medicine from your pain. Be that kind of warrior”

Jaiya John

“Inexplicable sorrows await all of us” … Tragedy, pain, struggle, and loss are both inevitable and unavoidable in this life. You cannot be born, live and die unscathed from the heart breaking and soul crushing blows that will come knocking at your door. There are some things that we simply will be unable to recover from. We will be scarred and marred. We will never be the person we were before that experience changed us. There are some losses that can never be recouped or recovered. There will be some empty spaces that will never be filled.

We often wonder, why me? Why did this have to happen to me? We proclaim “I don’t deserve this”. But I have learned that if I chose to focus on the why, and my belief that I didn’t deserve what was happening, I would remain in a space where self-pity, confusion, and bitterness would be my forever companions.

gray concrete roadway beside green and brown leafed trees

But there is another space I have stumbled upon. A place where a rare flower called acceptance grows. To sit among the flower of acceptance has allowed me to hesitantly but courageously take my pain, mix it with the flower of acceptance and make medicine. I began to see my pain as the precious, but ugly gift that it is.

orange flower with butterfly

I learned that I could allow what has destroyed me to also become the building blocks to create a new life. I could allow each loss to be a stepping- stone to the new love, the new opportunities, and the new chances at happiness that joyously awaited me. I begin to view suffering and sorrow not as something to run from; but to face, and boldly ask, “What is it you are trying to teach me”. Cheryl Strayed has said, “Whatever happens to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you because it will”.

I have learned that life is not happening to me, but for me. And although I will not be able to go on as I once was, I will continue as I now am…

Not everyone will make the journey and stumble across the flower of acceptance. Not everyone will choose to make medicine from their pain. There is no judgement. We are each on a path, and perhaps your path does not include such a journey. But if you are being called to embark on this journey, know that you are built for this and you have been given everything you need to succeed.

albert camus


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