Dealing with pain

Dealing with pain

There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal.” ~Henri Nouwen (from “The Inner Voice of Love”)

I naturally tend more toward one of these extremes than the other and will sometimes judiciously employ aspects of the other extreme to help me find a healthy middle ground. How do you help yourself stay away from the extremes and find your way into that healthy middle space of healing?

 

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Your heart is greater than your wounds

Your heart is greater than your wounds

“You have been wounded in many ways. The more you open yourself to being healed, the more you will discover how deep your wounds are. . . . The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking them through. It is better to cry than to worry, better to feel your wounds deeply than to understand them, better to let them enter into your silence than to talk about them. The choice you face constantly is whether you are taking your hurts to your head or to your heart. In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them. But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down to your heart. Then you can live through them and discover that they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds.” – Henri Nouwen

 

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When healing comes

When healing comes

“Healing comes when you see the opportunity for growth that a painful situation has provided.” ~Br. David Steindl-Rast

There’s something to be said for defining healing as that transition point between feeling nothing but pain and recognizing the opportunity for growth hidden in the loss. Moving toward growth gives us a goal that helps us move past the rawness of the pain and into healing.

 

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Awe stretches the heart

Awe stretches the heart

“When suffering constricts the heart, awe stretches it back out, making us more compassionate, more loving, more present.” ~Valarie Kaur

I love this image of awe restoring a constricted heart! How often do you allow yourself to truly experience awe as an adult? Perhaps we would all be well served by seeking it out and immersing ourselves in awe more often.

 

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