Brother, stand the pain.
Escape the poison of your impulses.
The sky will bow to your beauty, if you do.
Learn to light the candle. Rise with the sun.
Turn away from the cave of your sleeping.
That way a thorn expands to a rose.
I always seem to turn to Rumi in my moments of deepest despair or sadness—when I am holding my pain or the pain of another. And I find that when I stand the pain and stop trying to rationalize and understand why this particular thing is happening, something miraculous happens—my heart softens and opens. When I say yes, when I accept that this painful thing is happening, the softening begins.
I didn’t always say yes. The trauma started when I was quite young, so young that I don’t consciously remember a time without abuse or dysfunction. I definitely didn’t say yes then; I wanted to get as far away from the pain as possible.
But after many painful years of avoidance and denial and other equally useless coping mechanisms, I turned toward my pain. I felt it deeply, and at times I thought I would break. And many times, I think I did. And this softened me too.
This is my story. This is my experience. Your experience is your own. I don’t think we can tell others how to handle their pain. It’s so personal. We wouldn’t want to come off with a glib or insensitive comment and diminish the depth of one’s suffering. We can’t explain why traumatic things happen. All we can really do is be there and, if invited, help others hold their pain and hope and pray that the thorn expands to a rose.