Find Meaning In Your Pain

Two incredible things happened to me recently, events that left me feeling emotional and reflective. 

The first was a retreat for the peer support group I cofounded. Two years ago when we started it was hard to get people to take us seriously. Even a year ago I had to constantly remind people who we were and what we do, and when we needed new members we would wonder if anyone would apply. This year, though, is a completely different story. We had a staggering number of applications, and got to choose a team of passionate, talented people. The school is excited about us, strangers ask me for help outside of REACH because they know that I care, and being a member means something to both students and administration. Two years of hard work, love and dedication are bearing fruit so beautiful that I want to cry, and the six new members that gave their passion, energy and vulnerability into our retreat will carry it on so that it lives after Annalisa and I leave.

Moments before this a person from my past got in touch completely out of the blue, sending a lovely message that was inspired by my last post. Our break up was the start of that terrible year that I often talk about, the year that started my passion for wellbeing. I'm being vague for the sake of privacy, but let's just say that he was a huge part of making me who I am and this resolution left me feeling reflective over the choices I have made over the past three years.

As I discussed the night over with my beloved I laughed, and told her there was a blog post in there somewhere. So many of my experiences meander their way onto this page that I have become attuned to knowing where one might appear. Then the next day I picked up that beautiful little book again, Everyday Happiness, and it told me to find meaning in my pain. "What a curiously wonderful coincidence," I thought. "Here is my post!".

Being a part of REACH has shown me how much empathy I have cultivated, mostly from going through the experiences that I have. My fellow supporters are the same: they get it, because they've lived it. Our care comes from a place intrinsically held within us that asks "what did I need, and how can I give it to others?". For that reason I wouldn't change a thing about the last three years, because without each bump I wouldn't be who I am now and I wouldn't have gained so much. REACH is without doubt the most important thing I have done since I started at this school, and the pride that I feel is worth so much more than the pain that started it. My birthday card from my beloved this year listed some of the trials and tribulations that we have gone through, and contained the same sentiment. We have learned so much more from the moments where we cried in bed together, than from the fun moments in between.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some events that seem impossible to derive meaning from. I would never dare tell you that you can do this in every situation, for sometimes the world can be a cruel place. I'm simply asking you if you can find meaning, and suggesting that it is worth looking for. If the difference is pain and benefit, versus pain alone, surely the former has to be the more desirable one?

REACH and lost romance aside, this site too has become a space for me to find meaning. I actually struggle to write when everything is going well in my life, for so many of my posts become a reflection of the lessons I've learnt when things are tougher. It has gotten to the point where writing has become my go-to way of making sense of situations I find myself in. Of course not all are shared, or even worth sharing, but the process has nestled itself into my self care routine nonetheless. Sometimes they turn into posts, sometimes they stay as a ranting ramble on the notes of my iPhone. In truth it does not matter which way they go, the writing in itself is enough.

So, will you look for meaning in pain?


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