One of the fun parts of my incarnation is that I fall a lot. When I was a teen, I would fall going UP the stairs. In university, I would run for the bus and slip on grass. I have fallen down stairs and broken my wrist. I fell when climbing a fence a year ago, and hurt a few spots. This month, I fell on my own knee while planting my vegetable garden, and bruised my ribs. Bruised ribs and broken ribs feel the same, but have less risk when bruised.
I have a high pain tolerance, yet these ribs tested that. I would say my pain history in life would go: broken wrist, child birth, bruised ribs.
And yet, I am deeply grateful for this injury. I learned how many people love me in my life – a reflection of how Life loves me. I had friends show up out of no where to help. Some picked my child up from school because driving was too hard and probably unsafe for me. Some friends fed me. Some friends watched my pets. Some friends checked in on me and sent me love. As much as my rib could not support me, my circle DID support me.
More than that, it was a deeply spiritual experience. No one but you can explore your relationship with pain. For the first time, I understood what my teacher, Christopher Wallis, meant when he said that you get to a point in life of being grateful for everything, even dog poop. My gratitude for what this has opened in me is profound. When I shared that with him, he wrote this to me:
“You’re more beautiful for having been broken.
People tend to think that something has gone wrong when they’re wounded, or hurt, or broken, and that healing is fixing that wrongness and getting ‘back’ to a good or ‘normal’ condition. But consider this: just as, in the context of weight training, the muscles need to actually tear (get damaged) in order to rebuild stronger, why not consider the parallel possibility that we actually *need* to get hurt/wounded/broken in order to grow stronger and more compassionate?
In that light, nothing ever goes ‘wrong’. And being wounded can be a gift.
The Japanese have a word for this, from the context of artfully repaired pottery: kintsukuroi, “more beautiful for having been broken.” – Christopher Wallis
When I told a friend I could not visit her because I needed to rest, she offered to do healing work with me. I turned her down, because I was loving the work I was doing on my own. I shared that with her, and she commented I was handling it with ease and grace and a smile on my face. I absently agreed, but inside I knew that was not the truth of it.
To handle it with ease and grace and a smile would be to deny what is. The pain is. Sometimes I am at ease. Sometimes I am not. Sometimes I am smiling, and sometimes I am irritable or crying. Why should I be at ease and grace and smiling? That is some form of spiritual overlay on how we think spiritual people are – these detached spirits walking on air and sunshine. What is true is that I am not suffering from the beliefs I lay over the pain. I remember the quotation: In life, pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. – Haruki Murakami
I like the words of Matt Licatta on what happens as we grow spiritually and heal:
“There was an idea that as you healed, you would feel less. That as you awakened, the emotional spectrum would narrow, into some safe, consistent, happy, resolved calm. But you are seeing that love continues to ask you to feel more, to hold and metabolize the full-spectrum of a broken open world.
There was an old hope that as your heart opened, the vulnerability would diminish, the shakiness would fall away, the tenderness would yield… but you are more raw now than ever before.
There was an old belief that as you deepened on the path that you’d be more detached, untouchable, not care so much about others and the world, resting as the great “witness” beyond it all, in some safe, constructed place of observation. But somehow, everything and everyone matter now more than ever, in spontaneous, unexpected ways.
Something new is being born inside you, but something else is dying. Rather than prematurely forcing rebirth to emerge, turn into the uncertainty, the contradictions, and the purity of the death of an old dream. For it is here that the womb of new life is to be found, where the raw materials of resurrection are woven into being by the Great Weaver herself.
While this level of trust may be disorienting to a mind longing for resolution, the body knows… the heart knows. Trust in the fires of disintegration. And the birth that can arise only from the ashes of that level of grace.” – Matt Licatta