Transcendence and Transformation

We all struggle; we all feel pain. This is a universal truth; an unavoidable part of the human experience. We all have days when we wake up wondering how we can possibly face the day ahead. Is there anything to be learned from our struggles? Is there a way to re-frame pain and suffering in our minds, so that we may take something positive from the experience? 

Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain.
— Bob Dylan

Transcending pain has often been on my mind in these past weeks. Coming to terms with a disability, a serious injury, or a life-changing illness puts life into perspective. The truly important things start to become clear; everything else falls away. Your priorities shift. You make room for the pain, and find that you are stronger than you ever dared imagine. 

Beautiful are those whose brokenness gives birth to transformation and wisdom.
— John Green

When facing life's challenges, the smallest things become critical. A smile, a helping hand, a quick phone call from a friend... these things matter. They matter so much. A scribbled note, a handmade card, or a text full of cheerful emojis will brighten someone's day- it only takes a moment. A bouquet of flowers, a kind word, or a cup of coffee with a friend can be a lifeline to someone who is hurting.

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
— Joseph Campbell

Meditation can be a wonderful way to calm the mind in the face of despair. Listening to soft music, chanting a mantra, or focusing on your breathing can help you stay in a meditative state if you have trouble at first. It can be difficult to clear your mind of thoughts and just be present in your body; we so rarely do this in our daily lives that most people need a little practice.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.
— Hal Borland

Becoming more mindful of our bodies leads to greater compassion for ourselves; from there, it is a short journey to feeling empathy for others. Through regular meditation, we develop a higher awareness of the physical body; we begin to see the lessons hidden beneath the pain.

And all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.
— Shel Silverstein

My darkest days have taught me so much. Pain is truly a masterful teacher; I am a better person for all the struggles and challenges I have faced. I'm grateful for the many blessings in my life, and humbled by the love and support of family, friends and loved ones. I am more compassionate; I have more empathy for others than ever before. This allows me to better serve our community, and connect with those who need help on a more personal level. When I can transcend my own pain, I know that my strength can inspire others.

Together, we can dream a brighter future.

Dream Until Your Dream Comes True,

Molly J. Anderson

Program Director