Do not worship at the altar of your pain. Do not get on your knees before it, or cling to some notion that it makes you special or holy. You are holy with or without what ails you. Holy is what you already are.
Do not let this pain define you, letting its name become your name. Your true name comes before and will sound out long after this pain is done. Do not call yourself survivor or warrior. Who you are runs so much deeper than what happened to you, so much deeper than what you’re fighting against or what’s fighting you.
Your vastness, your beauty cannot be defined by what’s hurt you or by what you’re working through.
Don’t hold this pain so tight that it uses up all your strength. So tight that you lose sight of where it ends and you begin. Do not tether yourself to it, even if it feels as though it has tethered itself to you.
Do not use all your light trying to brighten the darkness, instead make peace with the blackness and let the stars find a home reflected in your eyes. The light is here inside.
Don’t use everything you’ve got running, running so hard that you forget to rest, that you forget you’re even running, that you forget to stop and listen to songbirds. They sing for you. Don’t run so desperately, so intently with your head down that you forget to gaze up and see that this is but a speck of everything that is, and a small speck of everything that you are.
Do not let this pain take everything you’ve got. Do not give it every last drop. Invest some of your love in the living. Just a moment of deep rest can keep the heart going for days. Just a moment of cracking open to beauty can restore the brightness of soul in the eyes.
Do not believe that an experience is what you are. Think bigger. Open wider. This pain comes and goes but what you are is infinite.
Yes, this pain may ripen your heart. Yes, it may wake you up, and even transform you right to your core. It may leave you new or it may leave you broken in a pile on the floor. Regardless, do not shackle yourself to what hurts.
It is a boat that allows you to cross the stream. There will come a time when you will reach the other shore. You won’t need this anymore.
Hold what hurts lightly the way you would cup a tiny butterfly between your palms, like the ones you saw dancing in the meadow when you were a child. Leave enough space so that the precious dust of its wings stays intact, unharmed. Let it flit about, let it have a life of it’s own, this pain, let it do what it does. Let it move the way that it moves.
Do not take it so personally, this pain. So sure, you are, that it belongs to you, that it’s a reflection of you, that it’s punishment, or evidence of some deficiency. Is a rainstorm ever someone’s fault? And, when the sun comes out, it’s something that you did too right? This is the dance of life. Sometimes the sun is out, and sometimes storms take out trees and whole villages. You are the great space that all experience arises and passes away in. Remember?
Stop the war for a second, a minute, an hour. Set down the fight long enough to take a real breath, to sigh, to have a nap. Lay down your weapons, your ammunition, your reasons, your righteousness, even your understanding. Set it down for as long as you dare. Rest your weary bones from running.
It may not go away, this pain, this persistent ache, but for just a moment…stop the fight.
Our control is so small, like trying to steer a ship on a colossal ocean. It may not go your way, all the time, or ever. Why don't we just drift for awhile...
Fall through the floor of resistance, drop beneath all attempts at control or self-improvement to the place where you and this pain simply are. And then, for a moment, there is nothing to do and there is no one doing the doing. No longer you and it. Just breath. Just this. Sensation. Pulsing. Intensity. Movement within stillness. Breath. Ground.
Let it be as it is. Let it do what it does. Let it be what it is.
Do not worship at the altar of your pain. It does not belong to you. Do not get on your knees before it, or cling to some notion that it makes you special or holy. You are holy with or without what ails you. Holy is what you already are.
Words + Images: Copyright © 2017 Marie-Ève Bonneau