The Gift of Pain – By Jennifer Laurent

“You have to go through the darkness to truly know the light” – Llama Surya Das

Today is my birthday and it has been exactly three years to the day since my marriage ended. As you can imagine, it has been difficult to celebrate over the last few years. Painful memories would arise, emotions would run high, and the thought of celebrating would just seem to overwhelming. I can remember attempts to celebrate leaving me with inconsolable tears, definitely not the type of happy birthdays I’d had in mind. I wondered if I would ever be able to feel joy on my birthday again, wondered if the pain would ever go away.

For those of you who have experienced a loss as painful as divorce, I am sure you can relate to exactly how I have been feeling. There are certain wounds that can be reopened in a split second, feeling the pain as if it were yesterday, simply by smelling a certain smell or hearing a special song. Suddenly it is as though you are right back where you were when it all happened, reliving the sadness and starting again.

Except you really aren’t starting again, even though it certainly can feel that way. Every single time our wounds get reopened, we are touching a deeper layer of that wound. We are healing on a higher level and breaking down protections we have built around our hearts. We are making room for more light to enter, clearing out space for love.

As time goes by, our pain transforms and we transcend. The pain that in the past would cause us to shut down and close our hearts now suddenly is the very reason we are capable of loving so freely. We are able to see clearly how essential these challenges and struggles were to our growth and our ability to truly live our life purpose. We are now opened up even further to celebrate these moments and welcome the feelings that arise from them.

And this is where I stand today. As I fill with all of the memories this day brings up for me, I find that my tears are coming from a very different place this year. My tears are flowing through an open heart that is in celebration of all that I have experienced and have called into my life. I celebrate the love, the pain, the anger, and the healing that I have gone through. I sit in gratitude for it all, as this is a process that lets me know that I am truly alive.

For my birthday this year I celebrate and I give myself the beautiful gift of pain. A gift that has the power to crack my heart wide open and move me beyond all the unnecessary walls I have built. The gift that truly is the path toward freedom. I sit in gratitude for all the emotions that I will feel throughout the day. I invite them in and welcome their visit. I will feel them with every inch of my being and then I will allow them to move freely through me, knowing that following in their wake, I will be left with a greater capacity for love and a larger vessel for light.

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I invite you to celebrate with me and welcome in your own pain. Allow it to transform you and move you toward freedom. Allow your heart to burst wide open and make room for limitless amounts of love.