Connecting Coaches, Creatives, & Curious Folks through what's emerging in this moment

images-1“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt” ~ John Green (from The Fault in Our Stars)

Last year, I sold my house and moved across town to the lower level of my mother’s condo.  It took me 6 months to complete the move which included my mom’s condo being remodeled, prepping my home to sell, and getting rid of many things.  There was much pain associated with that move: letting go of so much stuff, moving my kids out of our home, and selling a home I loved.

And then, things settled.

Once settled, I felt FREE.  My medical debt was erased, my life was smaller and simpler, my kids were finding their way without me, and my mom was healthy enough that I could move about my life quite freely without worrying about her.   There was this precious window of time that I knew I must savor, because I knew it was to be short-lived.  Wasn’t sure why, just trusted my gut.

Now, we’re moving again.  Not across town, but instead cross country to New York.  My belongings must be further shed.  More pain must be felt.  I’m getting used to this.  I hold something in my hands that I’ve held since childhood and decide.  Sometimes, there’s no pain at all, and I just toss it.  Sometimes, a wave hits me, I feel it… then put it in a box for Goodwill.  Other times, it just goes back into a box to keep.  For now.  It’s a funny thing about this pain though; When I let myself feel it, get familiar with it, let it move whatever it’s meant to move… it then moves on.  It doesn’t linger.  It doesn’t grab hold and make me suffer as I sometimes imagine it will.  As John Green said in his film and book, The Fault In Our Stars, it DEMANDS to be felt.  Once it is, it often quiets right down.

In this move, there are things I haven’t felt the pain of yet – some by choice, some just because I haven’t gotten to them yet.  The more I get clear that I just need to be willing to feel it, the more clear I am that I’ll soon be free – perhaps more free than I’ve ever been.

As I’ve worked with coaching clients through the years, often where they get stuck is around something that will result in feeling some pain.  They’re afraid sometimes, and usually it’s a fear they’ll feel pain of some kind.  I’m thinking now that part of my job as a coach is to help them remember that pain demands to be felt, that it’s only pain, and that there is tremendous freedom on the other side.

What sayeth you?

Freely yours,





Comments on: "Moving Through Pain Moving Through" (10)

  1. xoxoxoxoxo (etc. etc.) Okay? Okay. 🙂

  2. Nancy Jamieson said:

    We coach because we know something about “moving through,” resilience, “being in the moment,” and “transformation.” Like you, I am now in another transition. I found myself in a lovely little bookshop and quietly waiting for me on a shelf was Roger Housden’s, Ten Poems to Say Goodbye. I want share this with you and others. It is a lovely book and will speak to many. Thank you for letting us be with you in this moment of yours and sharing our connectedness. Pain is important. As is the understanding of the freedom we gain once we have moved through the pain. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Thank you, Nancy! I will look for that book. Consider it in my cart on Amazon. And, by saying yes to that book, I’m saying goodbye to 4 more. My goal is to let go of 75% of what I still have. I may only hit 50, but I’m aiming for 75! May your own transition be full of wondrous surprises. Let it Go… as Disney says!

  3. Beautiful. Yesterday, my daughter helped me clean and organize our linen closet. In it were some items I had shoved in there two years ago when I had cleaned out and sold my parents house. With Lillie’s help, I was able to put things in piles or back into the closet — until a worn kitchen towel with poinsettias on it. My mother’s. She had used it to dry her hands every Christmas season while cooking for our family. I buried my face in it and quietly sobbed. I really should throw it away because its use is past. But I can’t, not just yet. But writing this and shedding a few more tears has helped. Thank you for this gift.

    • Oh Amy, your apron story gave me more tears. Funny how those things hit us. Maybe it’s time for you to dry your hands at Christmas on that same towel. At least one more time…. Thank you for your words. ❤

  4. I believe you are absolutely correct, pain demands to be felt. But we should give it no more or less power than feeling joy or ecstasy. We know if we don’t go through it, we will have to go through it, again! There is a concept that has been my copilot for the past few months…What does it mean to have a “Satisfied Heart”. We look at satisfied as an emotion, but it is more a state of being. You can be sad, but still satisfied. We have been taught to seek happy and bliss, when satisfied may be the real goal. Imagine if we were all satisfied, all at the same time, what a different world we could experience.

    • Thanks for your comment, Laura! I agree that we should give pain no more power than other emotions. I’m not advocating giving power to the pain, but rather allowing it to do what it’s there to do… move us. I love that question: What does it mean to have a “Satisfied Heart”? Perhaps satisfied is a choice. And, if I have a “Hungry Heart” can I choose to be satisfied with that hunger? Can they hunger and satisfied co-exist in the same space? Our thirst for more as gotten us in trouble – AND, it’s let to some of the greatest creativity and inventiveness in our world. Balance… always balance.

  5. What a great inquiry for summer, when stuff feels heavy and damp in the humid air.
    I have a mixed relationship with stuff. As a mixed media collage artist, I employ stuff on my canvases. I have become discerning with the stuff….not just any stuff, as it all adds a layer of meaning. I am about to pick up four boxes of my mother’s correspondence, papers she always led me to believe were lost. I am very curious how or if I will use or loose this stuff. My sisters are not so attached to these papery traces of our mother. As a writer, also, the words, stories, omissions all bear some meaning.
    I learned a useful tool from my friend Andrew Mellen- one of his principles of UnStuffing Your Life. That is “stuff in, stuff out”. If I acquire a pile of vintage linens to use in my kitchen, that means I have to sort out the ones currently in my drawer. Out go the ratty old ones and in come new-to-me items that I will enjoy using.
    What makes our homes is not our stuff, but what makes our life rich are certain reminders of adventures, people and accomplishments. If I use a “satisfied heart” to help me decide what stays and what goes, I have a feeling I will not keep more than I can live with joyfully.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Suzi! I hear you about the correspondence and the magic that’s held in them. There something about holding the actual paper, seeing the scrolls of pen or pencil there, seeing the scribbled out bits… The thought process… It’s so different than seeing a shiny clean document on the computer screen. There’s energy there… A bit of the person who bothered to put those words down on paper is revealed in that intimacy that can only be had between writer paper and reader. As I am cleaning out and getting and I’m stuffing my life, the letters will remain with me. Not sure why yet, but it’s not time to let them go. Right now I’m in a bigger unstuffing phase than ‘stuff in, stuff out’. That things will come when I’m moved. Right now, when I look at four boxes I think about how can I make them just one. Four bookshelves become two, and then one. The “weight” of things is noticeable… Both the emotional weight and measurable, physical weight. It’s a fascinating journey! See you on the East Coast soon 🙂

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