The Power of Pain

I wish I could say life was super easy, blissful and always magical. That all we have to do is believe in magic and magic will be there. I am soon approaching 50 years, and I have experienced many things within my lifetime ranging from wonderful to terrible, and my experience is the more I embrace everything and do not long for ease and joy, life flows better.

Sometimes it is way too easy to look at someone, see them laughing and having fun and think, “Wow. She has everything. Look how happy she is.” Or “I wish my life was like his.” Unless we are very close with someone we can never know the extent of their pain.

I don’t usually talk about my personal life in my articles or shows, yet I feel maybe if I share with you a little more intimately then  perhaps extra magic will arrive –So here goes— I have been struggling with chronic pain for nearly my entirely life, sometimes this pain is so debilitating that I cannot sleep for days. As anyone who experiences chronic pain knows, chronic pain leads to emotional, mental and spiritual pain, and often inspires one to wonder—Will I ever be free?

Whether you are one of my clients, an audience member, a friend, or anyone … Do I seem like someone who constantly struggles with pain? Someone who sometimes spends the majority of a day wondering how to be productive with raging pain in my body? Unless you and I are very close, the answer is likely no, I do not seem like that. I seem healthy and exuberant. The fact that I am exuberant and the fact that I suffer from chronic pain are both true.

In order to keep an open heart and connection with magic, I regularly engage in different activities such as meditation, ritual, hiking and hugging trees… Today as I was experiencing my old friend chronic pain, I heard a voice within say, “Your pain is your power.”

As a magician, I love the idea of power. Now obviously a magician exerts a unique type of power, such as the ability to levitate or transform a flower into a glass of orange juice. This is not the type of power I am talking about. I am interested in our magic within, which I often call practical powers or superpowers- depending how you look at it. If pain is my power that must mean because I experience so much pain, I must have that much power.

Our society is obsessed with feeling good and happy. Perhaps if this wasn’t the case we could see that our pain wants to teach us. There are many things we can learn from pain, and it can be unique for each individual, with some overlap.

 

What can we learn from our pain? We can learn infinite things from pain, below are four powers that pain brings into my life. Hopefully one or more of these powers will resonate with you and inspire you, because I do believe that we can deepen in magic no matter what is occurring.

 

TO BE PRESENT

When we are constantly trying to push discomfort away, we create a type of struggle within ourselves and what is occurring. We leave the present moment. While it can be hard to confront and sit with an uncomfortable feeling, painful sensation or situation, it is essentially and 100% healing to meet one’s pain with compassion and acceptance, instead of trying to run from the pain. While it is true that I would love to heal this lifelong issue, if I want to experience peace then I really have no choice but to accept the pain. It is here in this moment and I have nowhere I can run to escape it. I believe one of the reasons I am able to face animal cruelty and have dedicated my life to ending it, is because of all the pain I have experienced not just emotionally but physically.

 

EMPATHY

I disagree with the sentiment misery loves company. At least for me this expression doesn’t hold truth. Even when my chronic pain is gripping me to the core, when all I can do is lay in the bathtub and curl up in a ball, I still want those around me to feel good and happy. And because I have experienced not only a lifetime of chronic pain, but also emotional pain, I have an ability to hold pain, whether it is mine or somebody else’s. I literally feel the sentience of other beings and work to cause as little harm and suffering to others as possible. This is also one of the reasons I work to make choices in what I eat and buy that causes the least amount of harm to humans and non-humans. Empathy also helps tremendously with my mentalism and psychic work as well…. When I am picking up on questions of my audience members and providing helpful guidance, I want to help—I mean I REALLY want to help—My pain has given me deeper empathy.

 

TO LISTEN DEEPER

Here we are in the world of go, go, go. The values of this culture are to make money, succeed and acquire stuff— The internet, social media and the constant barrage of noise seem to be a terrible distraction from what is essential. By essential I mean connection to ourselves, others and the natural world around us. When a person is experiencing pain to the point where they have to lie down, they have no choice but to listen. What is the pain telling me? Sometimes this can lead to meditation, prayer or journal writing. When we stop and listen we have the ability to hear magical symphonies. When we are always on the go, there is no time or space for spirit to enter. When we listen, we become more psychic and intuitive and we can develop our clairs aka our psychic senses.

 

CREATIVITY

Let’s face it, it is after a break up, when a loved one dies or any traumatic experience that often a person experiences their most fertile creative time. Now I am by no means suggesting that we can only create when in pain, I think creating from joy and love can be the most powerful time to create. The point I am making is that often it is the role of the artist to use whatever situations and feelings are arising and create something beautiful out of it. Or at least create something. To transform base metal into gold, like a form of alchemy. This is art. It is also healing. It is also magic. My lifelong struggle with physical pain has let me to create different kinds of art—from a solo show, to songs, to my lifelong quest for real magic.

 

Those are just four of the gifts that pain can bring us. When we stop, pay attention and listen to sensation we become more powerful, more magical. It is not by life being perfect that we grow, it is by life being life—warts and all, that we can essentially wake up to our magic within.