“I feel I’m coming back to life, my real life, and it feels good.” Hearing this joined me with my friend in the feeling of joy.

For a decade or more I’d sat with him as he struggled with depression and fatigue.

He was sensitive to injustice from an early age yet his family and culture did not permit the admission of pain. So he attempted to be like others, who seemed not to notice or care, by suppressing his feelings.

A real danger happens when we pretend that awful things do not happen. We begin to cut ourselves off from our heart. We either become hardened, indifferent or believe we are superior, or our natural sensitivity becomes ungrounded and we over feel and are overwhelmed by life.

Suppressing our feelings shrinks our capacity to experience the fountain of pure aliveness arising a fresh in each moment. For even in the middle of some terrible act there is, if we allow it, the emergence of healing and light.

Let me share a personal example. My heart has always been open and available, especially to the pain of others, but at a certain level I learned to suppress speaking my truth to conform to silent family rules where keeping secrets was more important than facing pain, hurt and anger.

Gradually I realized that by pushing down my feelings I was becoming dead to myself and to the world. It was the pain of becoming numb that led me to begin the journey of healing.

Challenging as it was to face my inner hurts, the more I committed to feeling my experiences fully rather than shutting them down, even when taking baby steps in the direction of expressing from a deeper feeling place was awkward and unwelcome, I sensed the dawn of new light in my life.

I literally began to see light in my inner darkness. Years of depression began to lift and the world became brighter and more beautiful.

There is nothing more powerful than turning towards pain because this act teaches us how to pivot in our heart space which unlocks love and compassion, and love is the most powerful healing agent there is.

Just as a single candle flame cannot be extinguished by any amount of darkness, love and compassion overcomes, transforms and extinguishes all conscious and unconscious acts of unkindness and evil.

Whatever the source of your pain, whether you sense discomfort or dis-ease inside of yourself or outside in the play of the world, the lightness of your tread increases when you meet your feelings without judgment or suppression.

The qualities of compassion and love do not need to be practiced or cultivated, they are natural outpourings of our heart.

Rather like sap in a tree that is waiting to be tapped, when we feel what’s deep inside we liberate the flow of love and compassion.

No matter how difficult it is to feel fully, and even if what you feel breaks your heart, know that your heart is breaking open.

It’s the simple act of willingness to engage with pain, loss and tragedy that draws love from depths unimaginable.

Love and compassion that flows from our heart not only reaches into us and those we care for, it flows equally to all beings and situations, even those we hate or recoil from.

Your heart is ready to bless you with profound love and healing. Allow pain to open the flow of compassion. Then notice how you lift up and begin to see the sacred and holy in yourself, all beings and events.

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