Your Pain is Your Purpose
I vividly remember the first time I heard this sentence.
I was alone, probably 20 years old sitting as far back in the audience as I could in the Brava Theater Center on 24th Street.
I had taken BART home from downtown and it was such a pretty day I decided to get out in the middle of the mission and explore.
I can't remember where I was coming from... but I'll never forget where I ended up.
As I turned left on 24th Street, I remember the sun hitting my face and all the brightly colored wrestling masks swaying in the warm wind. I never understood the fascination with them but I guess kiddos sure do love their luchador gear!
As I walked further down the lively street, I stopped and grabbed an iced coffee. With no place in mind, I kept going and walked past a building with bright burgundy glass doors. I saw a few people lined up and others carrying boxes of books with brightly colored dresses rushing in and out.
What is this place?
I stepped in and immediately a well dressed, elderly man waved me down. "hurry up honey, shows about to start!" Before I could ask how much or even what the heck they were performing, he quickly shuffled away his check-in list, stuffed his money envelope in his back pocket, and scooted me in the door. Don't worry 'bout it, get in!
Great, now I'm stuck here... what did I just get myself into?
I sat on the far left side, a few rows from the back, but after the break, I didn't escape. Instead, I decided I wanted to sit C L O S E R. My curiosity pulled me in and somehow, without knowing how or why, I felt that I was in the right place at the right time. Even though I was alone, I didn't care because I was so engaged. I felt so divinely guided in that hour and a half.
One after another, amazing speakers got on stage and broke open about their pain and their trauma. They each shed their old, battered, bruised skin. Some cried, some sang and one played the piano so beautifully.
Then a man rose up and walked to the stage. He was tall, scrawny with curly brown hair. He reminded me of Bill Nye The Science Guy, but Bill had nothing on the lessons I learned from this new face. The man spoke about his childhood and I noticed that as he walked further away, I would lean in more.. I didn't want to miss a word he said. I was so connected to his every word.. and everything he shared. And finally he said,
"Your pain is your purpose." Whatever pain you've experienced personally, is now a lesson marked in your human existence. That lesson is your gift to this world. Only those that have experienced and lived through your pain will truly understand. When you heal others of this similar pain, you will heal yourself. There is purpose in every incident, even if you reject to believe it... even if it was wrong, immoral, unjust, traumatic and too heartbreaking. When you allow yourself to move past your personal experience and honor others in the same situation, you will fulfill your purpose.
Thirteen years later, I can say that his every words were true. They were true for me, and I know, deep down, they are true for you too.
With so much love,
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