01 December, 2010

The Process

"When we don't deal with pain we end up doing things we never thought we could."   

I heard someone say that to a sexual assault victim the other day. She was encouraging the woman to get counseling for what happened to her.

"We remember the good," she said, "But we also remember the bad." 

I sat in the room struck by the sentence. It seems almost self-explanatory, and yet, how many of us refuse to face the pain in our life? How many of us refuse to face what still haunts us?

In a recent interview, Taylor Swift said she sits with her feelings. "Recognize that anxiety isn't not inherently bad. The experience is uncomfortable while it's happening but can also propel you out of a rut. 'It's awful to sit there feeling this way,' says Swift. 'But if you let it, it can lead to something that takes you out of that feeling and into something creative.' " (WebMD Magazine)  

Thomas Moore wrote in A Life at Work that, "(A friend's) creativity was fueled by his anger." He goes on to say, "Most people would benefit...from the conversion of their raw anger into effective personal qualities of firmness, direction and judgment." 

I would say proper anger - not the kind that blames other or is destructive - but places responsibility and looks at the situation wholly, is a step beyond just staying in pain, and can be the catalyst to growth and moving beyond whatever pain we felt at one time was insurmountable. 

It takes a level of authenticity and openness to tell those you trust that you are still hurting. To say, "This still affects me." Too often we have a time limit on grief. We don't grieve properly. We don't lament, we don't collectively process and feel. We rush to get beyond. 


My boss and I have talked a lot about the process of grieving fully and existing in lament. 

It is the first step. And for each person that time will be different. It will look different, last for different times, take different forms. But it's that process of sitting with what you feel and moving to do healthy things to move through and then beyond it to become a complete person.

Avoidance denies us a piece of ourselves, and the pain will spread until it manifests itself in unhealthy ways - drinking, drugs, sex, food, etc. We strive to numb the pain instead of admitting it, sitting with it and slowly untangling the hold it has in our life. 

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© Amanda Lunday