Tuesday, 4 December 2012

3 Ways To Process Pain

How is life with you?

Life hurts sometimes. Whether it is our own hurt, the pain of somebody close to us, or international troubles, you don’t have to look far to find people who are suffering.

Amongst my circle of special people, one dear friend and colleague has weathered several years of financial distress, only to come down with acutely painful shingles, a few months after money began to flow again.  This beautiful woman with a deep and living faith is feeling defeated, angry, and a failure. She is wondering where God is in all of this.

Another is working her way through the hurt of betrayal by someone she counted as a close friend and confidante.

In recent years there has been a lot of teaching about the Law of Attraction.

Most people have become much more aware of how our habitual emotions, thoughts and words contribute to our experience of life. We understand much better than we used to that like attracts like.

Most people are working quite hard to remain positive and to focus on the good things in life. Everyone is practicing gratitude.

This is great! But… sometimes life hurts.

What do you do when life hurts? Or when it hurts someone you care about?

Many people add to their suffering by feeling guilty, wondering what they are ‘doing wrong’ that is attracting all this unwanted experience into their lives.

Others become fearful that if they allow themselves to acknowledge that right now they are not particularly grateful, that life sucks, that they are angry and resentful and worn out – then they are going to attract more of the stuff they don’t want into their lives!

There is a balance to be walked between staying positive and going into denial. Because when it comes to the Law of Attraction it is our unconscious, unprocessed emotions that do most of the attracting.

Denying the pain – covering it up with false cheerfulness – doesn’t make it go away. It may go underground but it won’t go away until we acknowledge it.

So when hard stuff happens, take it as an opportunity to clear out the closet of your unconscious and clean up your energy field.

A destructive emotion is any emotion – positive or negative – which we refuse to let ourselves feel.

A constructive emotion is any emotion – positive or negative – which we allow ourselves to feel, and if it is negative to release.

Grief, anger, shame, despair, fear, resentment… Difficult emotions and painful experiences are part of life from time to time.  It’s the way things are – part of the human condition.

We are not isolated individuals. We are part of an evolving species and an evolving planet. Other people’s choices affect us to some degree. We cannot escape all of the troubles of life – nor should we try to.

Painful experiences play a vital part in our soul development. Just as the land needs rain to remain lush and productive, these ‘rainy days of the soul’ are enormously valuable in keeping our soul green and fertile.

Hard times can build compassion in us – make us softer, kinder, and gentler with other people and with ourselves.

If we let them.

As always, in the longterm balance of a successful life, it’s not what happens to us that counts – but the way we respond to it.

Here is my 3 Step process to help when life hurts. It is designed to keep the balance between letting yourself feel what you feel, and remaining positive.

Step 1 is like noticing that there is dirty water in the fish tank. Step 2 empties it out.  Step 3 replaces it with fresh life-giving water.

Preparation. Allow yourself 15 – 20 minutes of uninterrupted time.  Turn off the phone and the TV and get yourself some quiet. Have pen and paper handy and some crayons or felts if you wish to draw.  If you wish light a candle and pray, or set a clear intention that you wish to acknowledge and bring healing into the pain you are feeling. Ask for support and guidance from the Spiritual Realm.

Step 1:     Acknowledge the pain.

  • Treat yourself like a dear friend.
  • Notice how your body feels about this, Observe gently
  • Invite your feelings to surface. Gentle acceptance is the key

Step 2:     Express what you are feeling for 5 minutes.
  • Do whatever you need to do to vent your emotions.
  • A very good method is to write or draw or scribble – especially using the hand you don’t write with
  • You can cry, you can shout, – move around, stamp your foot. Use your body to get the pain out and into the open.
  • Be quite disciplined about this – use a timer or a clock. When your 5 minutes is up – move on immediately to step 3

Step 3:     Refocus on Good for 10 minutes.
  • Pray, or use whatever words work for you and call upon the Creative Power of the Universe to help you. Affirm that a Higher Power is active on your behalf. One of my favourite affirmations in these situations is Only good will come of this...
  • Use words that work for you and state out loud and write your intention for good to come out of this situation. Speaking an intention aloud (even if you don’t feel it) activates an enormous power within the Universe.
  • Keep doing this until you feel better – even a slight shift is significant
  • Then move straight onto gratitude. Write and speak out all the things you are currently grateful for (e.g. hot water in the tap, a bed to sleep in, the person you smiled at in the street, your ability to read and write, a pen to write with...)
  • List everything you can possibly think of that is already working in your life. Be inventive and search.
  • Keep on with Step 3 for twice the length of time that you spent on Step 2.
  • When your time is up – go on about your day repeating your affirmations whenever you think of it.

This is an enormously powerful and helpful process which will support you in moving through your hard time as quickly and powerfully as possible. Depending what you are dealing with, one session may shift you through. Bigger issues may take ‘repeated applications.’

On a daily basis, you may not have time for step 2 – but you can always say quietly to yourself – I know you are hurting – and it is ok. And you can affirm that God/Good is at work in your life.

It’s a process as old as the Psalms and as modern. If the Bible is important to you – take refuge in Psalm 130 – read it aloud and make it your own.


May Love and Peace support and guide you


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