27 June 2013

Lean into the Pain

Last weekend was amazing.  In a few days I experienced extreme emotions related to the vulnerability of sharing secrets and odors in a van with five other people, the adrenaline of competition and hundreds of people going for the same goal, the endorphins that come from a runner's high, the emotional connections with genuine friendship, the frustration of combining personalities and opinions, the physical exhaustion of running 19 miles in two days, the sleep deprivation, the social "performance" expected with friends and strangers, side-splitting laughter and ultimately a severe compulsion to be alone. 

Now that I'm home and settled back into life I find myself dealing with the aftermath of the feelings and to be honest I feel totally hung-over.  I miss my friends.  I miss the highs.  There are periods of longing, wishing I were still in the middle of it and feeling anticipation about when I can do I again.

But I also remember how incredibly over stimulating it was.  And I can't imagine ever doing it again.

We are such complicated creatures.


A couple weeks ago Pete and I were both having bad days. I don't remember the details or the circumstances but it was time to leave for church and I couldn't find him.  When I did find him he was sitting in a folding chair in our office and he looked at me with heavy eyes. 

"They say to 'lean into the pain.'  But I'm so tired of the pain."  His heavy eyes filled with tears.

I feel tremendous gratitude for the friendships I've made, the wisdom I've encountered, the knowledge and understanding I've gained.  Sometimes it seems as though happiness is just out of reach, I've almost figured it out.  One more breakthrough or one more epiphany and I'll get there. 

But the truth is, I'm a mortal.  The people I love are mortals.  There is going to be sadness, loneliness and confusion.  Anxiety causes the obsessive parts of my nature to feel like the world is spinning around me and I can't find my bearings.  Self-doubt, insecurity, guilt and disappointment float across my thoughts like clouds, giving me only brief glimpses of the glorious sunlight. 

Today is a cloudy day.

Sometimes my best option is to just lean into the pain. 

What did I do last weekend? See here.


  1. I've heard that phrase, lean into the pain, over and over in some of the readings i've done on mindfulness meditation and Buddhism. I think it's a really interesting concept, but hard to put into practice, especially when I've spent my life trying to run from pain, control pain, manipulate pain. Congrats on running a relay race!!!

    1. Thanks! I love mindfulness and meditation.

  2. oh man, I sure love you! I miss you a lot. I agree with all of this. Being human is such an interesting wave. Up, down, secure, insecure, unsure, confident - back and forth. I guess the ebb and flow is what makes it beautiful. Makes the highs even more astounding.

    I love you a lot.

  3. Wasatch Back is such a HUGE accomplishment. Congrats to you!

    I felt like with all my anger at my husband and hurt from his betrayal...some of what was hardest was to see him in pain and trying to figure out how to lean into it instead of running away from it to his addiction. It is painful as the loved one because you have promised to share one another's burdens and yet they have created a new set of ones that cannot be shared- that must be carried alone. Yet, they aren't carried alone. You can lean into the pain and you can pray for him to have the strength to do the same. Leaning into it I believe only works when you are leaning on the Lord's arm. It is too heavy otherwise.

    1. Thanks Heather. It is hard and complicated. I appreciate the encouragement.