Rev. Elizabeth Rowley is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at revelizabeth@cccsl.org.

The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi famously said, “The wound is the place where the light gets in.”

I believe this is true because when we are in pain, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual, as we nurture ourselves, tending the wound, our hearts open. The knee-jerk reaction for some, when in pain, is to pick up a drink, a cigarette, go shopping or use some other crutch to assist with moving through it. It doesn’t do the trick, though, as that only numbs the pain temporarily and returns even more intense than before.

The light pours in once the pain has pushed you to the edge of everything you know, and you recognize there must be another way; there must be a more empowering way for me to move through this. You’ve got to move from the place of woe is me, or I can’t believe that happened, to the gentle, loving arms of the Beloved present here, now, within and all around you.

Ernest Holmes observed: “I believe everything is as real as it is supposed to be. If a person hurts, he hurts; there is no use denying it.” Such a powerful statement to recognize that it doesn’t serve us to deny our pain. We can feel our pain and remember that the only way out of it is through it. It’s important to declare this pain is not a punishment. You didn’t do anything wrong. See it as the place where love is attempting to break-in. It’s the Divine tapping you from the inside, saying I am here, notice me, feel me, I am here.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

When something happens in life, there are facts about what happened, and there is your story about what happened. When you collapse your story with the facts, suffering begins. That suffering is fueled and grows with the retelling of the story in your mind when you share it with your friends, write about it, and share it some more. The constant retelling of the story compounds the suffering. Sometimes our healing is found in the telling of our story. When you are ready to heal and empower yourself, permit yourself to release the story.

As the story about what happened is released, the light comes rushing in to replace it with pure love, bliss, peace, harmony, and joy. What happened still happened, but your story about it is no longer present, and it has no power over you.

Remember, the pain you feel is not a punishment for something you did. There isn’t something wrong with you or anything you did to deserve the pain. It just is. Feel the pain, release your story about it, and let in the light. If you were staying over at a friend or relative’s home you are not familiar with and got up in the middle of the night when it was dark, you would instinctively find the light switch and flip it on. Flip the switch and know you are loved.

And so it is.