Articles by Peggy


Physical Pain…Emotional Pain – opportunities for change and growth

Pain is a great communicator. It gets our attention, doesn’t let up, and helps us slow down and take stock of what might be causing the pain. Or we find ways to lessen the pain even if we don’t know why it’s there. All in all, it generally gets us to do something, and take notice, even if we don’t want to deal with it.

It’s funny how our experience of pain changes depending upon what we know or believe about it. Our relationship with pain directly influences how we interpret pain. For example, when we go to the gym and work out for the first time in a while, we feel pain, often in places we didn’t know we had muscle tissue. But this pain doesn’t have us calling out from work or phoning our Dr.’s office for narcotics. This pain, for most of us, is like a trophy. We chose it, we know it is doing something good for our body, and we usually go back and work out again. No pain, no gain, right?

What about our emotional pain? Very often, the pain we experience internally can be debilitating, stopping us in our tracks from being the person that we want to be. It can prevent us from experiencing hope and put the brakes on our ability to dream. It doesn’t need to be this way. Buddhists believe that "pain is a hope for…" We wouldn’t be able to experience emotional pain if we didn’t have a taste of what we want, value, or desire. A life situation in which we feel pain can be a beautiful opening for figuring out what it is that we want. We can celebrate the fact that we have the ability to live life richly, chock full of experiences that counter our experience of emotional pain.

Another way to explain it – we need to use negativity, not approach it with more negativity. To relieve emotional pain we need to use it to grow, just as we use physical pain to grow our muscles after a workout. When we do this, the pain itself is manageable, and sometimes even welcome. What does your pain tell you about what you are hoping for?

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