Recent struggles of hate and division within our country have me once again reflecting on how hidden wounds never heal, but fester and spread infection until the pain can no longer be ignored or contained. This happens both on an individual as well as on a larger corporate level. Ignoring painful situations and feelings only contributes to a state of denial and numbness.

I learned early on in life which feelings were appropriate, and which were not. Much of my emotional pain was discounted, and I readily learned to stuff that pain, ignoring it until it would surface at times that just didn’t make sense. This is what suppressed pain will do, and sometimes it makes us numb when we would more appropriately have an emotional response.

Over the past few years I’ve been working to peel back the layers of defenses built to protect my shattered heart – defenses that ultimately kept me from trusting, knowing and feeling. As the layers have reluctantly been peeled away there’s been a growing dread of a felt core pain. Getting to this pain has been exhausting, and while I do not yet know all the answers or lessons it has to teach, I’ve identified it as “the pain beyond all pain”. This is a poem I wrote explaining it:

There is a pain, beyond all pain,

that rarely comes to light.

It surfaces in pressured times,

when breath is hard to find.

It hides behind the surface smile

that I am apt to wear.

Retreat is oft how I respond,

when it’s too much to bear.

Compelled to run away from it,

but when I turn and see,

that it’s still here in hidden things,

remaining deep in me.

It’s source I know not where it’s from,

or when its start was born,

but it has ever deepened when

I’ve pushed it down ignored.

The irony is that the pain

has gifts all of its own.

Or maybe this is how the seeds

of wisdom’s light are grown.

I see a little deeper now,

I hear the softest breath,

I feel the presence of the pain,

its texture and its depth.

Unable yet to fathom just 

how deeply underneath,

the seas of my forgetfulness,

it lies beyond my reach.

The only way to hold it now,

its lessons come to bear,

in silence resting, without sound,

I wait for it to share.


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