Pain is Not a Coincidence

Fear in the Face of Pain, Acrylic on Canvas Board by judy

“On a serious note – YES, I can be serious, seriously!
I believe that life isn’t random and there are no coincidences. Everything that happens is to help us learn to let go of what is not needed and hold onto what is. The trick is learning the lessons before we are towed under. It’s hard when the lessons involve pain. But then again I believe the most important lessons always involve pain of some kind. It’s still hard”

I wrote that in response to a blog post on another blog.  The reply I got back was,  Weird how I believe there are no coincidences with good stuff and interesting stuff. I never thought of it for this [pain, catastrophe, etc] but I do now.”

I was surprised. I had never considered that there might be people I work with in my practice who believe pain, physical or mental, was a coincidence, a random happening when they collided with fate.

I know that all the most important learning experiences I’ve had come from pain or fear.  Even the most basic of things.

I lose weight because I fear what others will think of me in a bathing suit.  I eat healthy because I have gastric pain.  I rethink my life when in the throes of betrayal.  I could go on and on and on and on – which is my tendency, as my good friends know.

Here’s an exercise I’ve taught: Reflect – How many significant changes, how many important life altering lessons did you learn when you were happy, pleased, content, complacent, oblivious . . .?

Draw a line through your life and find the common thread of what you’ve lost, what you’ve had to let go of, what you feared losing,  losing a dream of what should be, could have been.  Almost always there is something difficult, painful, trying that recurs in different forms, different times, different ways throughout our lives.  Most often it is about loss, letting go.

If you follow the thread and how it weaves into your life you will probably find the lesson(s) you are here to learn.

My big lesson I have had to learn over and over in different times and ways is that I am not my pain, I am not what I do or what I have.  And I am here – as I believe we are all here – to serve with love and help each other grow with wisdom.

 My pain is still here. I’m still learning.

No One Skates Through Life Without a Tumble or Two

I heard Scott Hamilton being interviewed this morning.  What Scott said resonated with me:

Scott Hamilton

“It’s not about falling.

It’s about getting up.”

Scott Hamilton, 1984 Olympic Skating Gold Medalist

I’ve been having more and more conversations with clients about really painful things that continually happen their lives.  The perennial questions and thoughts:  “Why me?”,  “Am I being punished?”,  “What is the reason for this?”,  “It’s not fair.”  I’ll never recover from the impact on my life.”  I must be guilty and deserve this.” . . .  “How do I release the pain?”

After over 2  1/2 decades now working with people in emotional and physical pain (and having had a small sampling myself) I have arrived at these conclusions:

Michelle Kwan, Olympic & World Champion
  1. “Life is about loss, changing, growing, and making the right choice(s)”.
  2. Pain is the signal that loss has occurred. It’s our body and mind’s signal something needs to change.
  3. The motivation to change, grow and make the right choice are PAIN and FEAR.   As I always say: NO one has ever come into my office and said “My life is great.  Here’s money.  Let’s talk about changes I can make”
  4. When we ask  questions “Why me.  It’s not fair etc.  I view it as  a spiritual crisis.  Whatever religion or persuasion (and yes, atheism is a belief system)  when we ask these kind of questions, we are asking for answers about belief. We are asking the questions because we search for meaning or “positive reasons” for what befalls us – regardless of whether we know why it has happened.
  5. Faith in God is based on the rightness of life, not the “wrongness”.
  6. Fairness does not always mean pleasure. Somehow some of us have erroneously developed the idea that when things are FAIR it’s because “I like the outcome”.  Life is fair whether the outcome is pain or pleasure, whether we like it or not.
  7. Our work is to embrace what happens and learn, change, grow and make the right choice(s).  Which brings me full circle back to #1.

That’s my belief.  I wonder what yours is?

Scott Hamilton doing Back Flip


Skating, walking – sounds a like LIFE to me:

The difference between walking on a floor and skating on ice is the lack of friction –– the force that occurs when two objects slide against each other dissipating their energy of motion. The rougher the surfaces, the greater the force of friction they will exert. The smooth surface of the ice allows the skater to glide across without friction stopping her as soon as she has begun.

Friction does play an important role in figure skating. Without it, skating would not be possible. Remember Newton’s first law of motion? An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by a force. It is the force of friction between the skate and the ice that allows the skater to come to a stop.”