By Ethel Kings

Pain, Expression, Love, Expansion and Suppression

I woke up the third day in a row with a migraine – and that became a doorway into a new state of awareness. I had had enough of pain, so I decided to face my torturer. I sat down in meditation, mapped the grasp of my pain, its colour, texture, shape, and as I could visualise what I was up against, I asked it: What are you trying to tell me? What am I supposed to learn from this? And it spoke to me! This is what it said:

“In my family suppressing our feelings and needs was considered heroic. Suffering was heroic. Sacrifice was heroic. Putting everybody else’s needs first and denying your own was in fact the only valid behaviour. If I managed to act as if I have no needs or feelings, I was doing the right thing. But emotions don’t seize from existing just because we pretend they are not there. In time the suppressed energy manifests as a physical malady. In my family physical pain was an asylum, where judgement was dropped and human connection provided. I grew up believing that only physical pain deserved attention. Hence I disowned my feelings and developed migraines. So the thing I thought I was up against, what I called my torturer, was in fact my disowned feelings and needs bursting into pain so they could be seen and heard. My attempts to get rid of the pain as something unwanted, was me rejecting over and over again the wounded part of myself. I had to start treating my pain as a hurt child – accepting it, embracing it, being lovingly present to it, providing it with what it needs.”

I came out of meditation with no pain, feeling completely invigorated

Our feelings and needs are there for a reason. I believe they are the pathways into all that stands between us and our divine blueprint and that this path towards our divinity passes through all that looks like the opposite of it – which is our humanity – all the wounding, pain, fear, desire, all the vulnerable stuff that we hide away for the sake of self-preservation. But we do not get to divinity by dismissing our humanity. We get there by accepting it, embracing it, being lovingly present to it, providing it with what it needs. Oftentimes what it needs is just to be seen and heard.

Now it makes perfect sense that I was naturally drawn towards creativity already as a child. As my self-expression was so often invalidated, I needed to find other ways to channel my emotions. I’ve strayed from the artistic path in my young adulthood, but once I picked up the brush again and allowed stories to flow through me again, it felt like coming home, suddenly I could breathe with far greater freedom. I realised I wasn’t meant to be a scholar – I chose that path because I had suppressed my true desires. I suppressed them because I grew up believing they do not matter.

When I am inside a creative process it feels like my mind takes a rest and my soul gets to speak and rejoice

Stepping into my own creative space is like a ritual for me – a ritual of connecting to my innermost self, and the innermost self, of course, is ultimately the divine source that is inherent in us all. To arrive there I need to go on a journey within. Into all that separates me from the source consciousness. I get to dive into the underlying issues I might not even be aware of, the original matter that drives me to engage in this process. Since it takes place in a subconscious space, it can be felt more than understood. It may feel like releasing something that was stuck or touching upon something potent, or arriving into a different vibrational state. Occasionally it comes as a revelation that clears everything or as a sense of expansion and I get a glimpse of what’s beyond it all – which is something that cannot be really put into words, but it puts the world into place and in that moment all is divine.

What stands between me and the source are all the unresolved issues I have pushed into my subconscious mind. It is a gift that there are ways to work through them at a later stage, once we gain more awareness about the mechanics of human processes, but perhaps there is also a way to avoid creating them in the first place. For that, the issue has to be caught and attended in the moment of arising. Most of the issues, if not all, arise within unconscious interaction with another. And it’s vast majority of our interaction that is unconscious (oftentimes as we think we are consciously communicating, we are in fact unaware of the far greater portion of underlying issues concerning the matter).

I would say the first thing is to allow it. What does it mean? If you hurt yourself physically, crying out is going to aid the release of pain. Doing it only the next day, will be of poor aid.

The same goes for emotions – give them expression – it may be crying or laughing, it may be allowing your body to collapse instead of playing it tough, or jumping up and down, if the issue is of a joyous nature. Or it may be naming what is happening to you, while taking full responsibility for your experience. It is never about being right or wrong, it is only about naming what triggers you to feel.

Whatever feelings and thoughts are triggered, they arise because they were already there, most possibly seeded in your childhood. This can be hard, since it is not how we are used to seeing things and express ourselves. Also because it is not always clear what is happening within us, in which case it is better to take a note of feeling distressed and take time and space to process.

There are many ways to do that, there is meditation and prayer, or pre-structured processes like the NVC Dance. This is also a good time to get creative – paint, write, play music etc. Or you can create your own ritual – a walk in nature with a focus on working through the issue, a yoga session, whatever might be your thing, as long as you honestly look at what’s happening and aim at resolving the issue in a healthy manner.

If the person who triggered the distress is someone close to you, consider sharing your experience and realisations with the person. That could greatly aid your connection. In openly communicating what’s happening to us, we learn faster, go deeper, and reach realisations that wouldn’t be available for us on our own. And as we get to be present to the authentic truth of one another, true intimacy is created.

If suppressed, feelings may create maladies, yes, but if allowed, and looked at, with love and understanding, they aid us in returning to our divine blueprint. If expressed, they may create the most authentic art, the most authentic realisations and the most authentic connections.

It is greatly beneficial to honestly sit with your feelings, but it may boost your growth and expand the awareness of the other, in most unpredictable ways, if you express your feelings and realisations to the other as well. In any case – as long as you come from the place of love, it’s all good.

I feel like saying thank you to my migraine for prompting me to express my thoughts, feelings and realisations in writing and for showing me how to heal the pain in a conscious and loving way.

Wishing you all love and expansion.