I find pain fascinating lately. As I expressed in my latest poem, I believe pain is a teacher…however, I don’t always understand the lessons pain is trying to teach me. I do believe pain is our body’s way of letting us know that a change is needed in order for growth to take place. I also operate with the understanding that healing is change. In order for healing to manifest in our lives we must learn to embrace change. Pain provides us with an incentive to make necessary changes, but how do we come to understand what those changes are?
I would first like to share Gibran’s insights:
And a woman spoke, saying, “Tell us of Pain.”
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
After reading Gibran’s words I drew one card with the intention that it would help me understand why so many people (including myself) choose to play the victim and ignore the messages embedded in our pain, both emotional and physical. I asked, why can’t we see pain as the wondrous gift that it is? The card I drew was The Fool.
I had to laugh! Genius!Apparently, my angels have a sense of humor.
I was looking for insights about how we can learn from pain and I was expecting to see one of the more “depressing” cards in the deck:
Instead I drew perhaps the most optimistic card in the deck! I began to reflect on what this card was trying to show me…
Others often view me as optimistic, so I often relate easily to the Fool. Like any character trait, optimism has its positive attributes and negative attributes.
On the plus side, an optimist is full of confidence and cheer. She is hopeful and merry because she sees the world through rose-colored lenses. She believes in Utopia and in the good in humankind. Each day promises a new adventure and if she remains upbeat nothing can stop her from spreading sunshine wherever she goes. She believes laughter and joy are contagious and that every problem has a meaningful solution.
There are also pitfalls to being an optimist. An optimist must learn to balance her hopefulness with practicality and wisdom. She must avoid being too unrealistic and starry-eyed. If she doesn’t ground herself in reality she is in danger of floating away into her own dreamworld. She can even become silly and quixotic.
The Fool is the first and last card in the series of the Major Arcana. The number zero communicates that the Fool is a blank slate, full of possibility. He represents a journey, new beginnings, a fresh start, a new cycle or travel. He also symbolizes originality, fearlessness, innocence and optimism.
As I considered these observations, this is the conclusion I came up with…
In a way we are all the Fool.
Born with an eagerness to explore our surroundings. Full of hope and joy and love.
As children we are excited to seek new learning opportunities, but lack wisdom and foresight.
When we encounter disappointment and pain for the first time we don’t know what to make of it.
Our rose-colored lenses can’t make sense of the hurt we feel so we learn to fear pain.
To avoid it.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Like the bag the fool carries with him, we all have resources we can utilize to make sense of our pain.
As I empty the contents of my bag I see the healing remedies to all my pain…
to let go of the guilt and shame I have inflicted on myself.
the salve to heal all wounds.
the ability to see tomorrow with fresh eyes again.
the appreciation for all the tiny miracles in the world.
the realization that I know nothing and thus can always learn something new.
Knowing what I carry with me I can once again return to the Fool’s journey,
with a bounce in my step
and a gleam in my eye.
Moving forward, learning lessons, and greeting each day with eagerness.
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice,
if we can learn the lessons and utilize our greatest resources,
we can continue to grow and appreciate life.
How do you handle pain? What do you carry in your pack? What does the Fool mean to you?
Please share your insights and thanks for visiting!