“All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.” –Richard Rohr

Pain has beautiful transformative power only if we allow it. Is there anyone you know who has not suffered pain—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or a combination? How many of your favorite movies or songs touched you because of an element of pain, and the vulnerability in which the story was shared? How many times did that pain lead to beautiful transformation of some kind? Loretta Lynn said, “The more you hurt, the better the song. You put your whole heart into a song when you’re hurting. You can’t be protected…I didn’t want to be protected.”

She made a choice to heal and then allowed herself to pour out her inner pain through honest vulnerability. She put up no shields on her heart. She wrote and sang her songs from the depths of her pain. Even if the songs had never gone public, her healing was still taking place as she expressed her pain in healthy and sustainable ways instead of inflicting it on herself or others in some form of dysfunction.

This is where a choice comes in for all of us. We all see examples of those whose pain wasn’t transformed beautifully in their lives. Instead, they inflict pain on themselves and others which keeps harm and pain in circulation. It leads to a closed heart, and it shrivels even more when combined with bitterness.

Maybe you’re feeling powerless from pain that’s occurring in your life right now. Maybe you’re thinking that there’s no way something beautifully transformative could come out of what you’re going through. Not knowing how that could come from your pain is normal; uncertainty is part of the healing process.

I want to share some hope. Feelings, though very powerful, are not a fact. The fact is, that as trapped in your pain as you may feel right now, there are options—empowerment is at your fingertips. When I was in so much pain and didn’t know what to do, my therapist told me to start by doing yoga and walking in nature. Day by day, class by class, and walk by walk—changes began to occur, and pain was being transformed. It’s happened in my life, and I’m not special—your pain can be transformed in ways you never imagined possible.

There are countless recovery paths and programs. There are wise elders both professionally and personally who want to contribute to others. All kinds of people in an assortment of healing professions—in person, online, or by phone are standing by. Are you willing to choose to take a step towards pain’s transformation? The “how” will arise as part of your unique healing journey.

Instead of inflicting pain on ourselves and others and keeping that in circulation, let’s circulate the gifts that come from the pain that is being beautifully transformed!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.