Holding Space for Both Joy and Pain



I've been through a lot of trauma in the 45 years I've been on this planet. I've seen and experienced a lot of things that have landed me and my family in the hospital and/or therapist's office over and over again.


I know pain.


Physical, mental, and emotional.


I don't say this to give myself a "pain warrior" badge or anything, but just to point out that I am fully aware of the fact that life is no walk in the park. I also know that the level of pain we go through in this life isn't always fair or equal. Some people just have more stuff they have to deal with than others. It's one of the most heart-wrenching truths I wrestle with on the daily.


But I've also learned that just because there is pain in this world, does NOT mean there isn't also joy. The joy doesn't get to discount or discredit the pain, but it is there, even when we can't feel it or see it ourselves. There simply just IS the presence of BOTH.


I used stamp my own life with the label of one or the other, depending on what was going on at the moment, but my therapist has taught me that I don't have to label my entire life or even the seasons of my life this way.


My life can be filled with BOTH the raindrops AND the roses.


This doesn't mean it's always easy. In fact, I have been through long periods of time when joy just stared me down like some kind of crazy clown that I wanted nothing to do with.


But it was always there, waiting for me when I was ready.


I also realize there are some experiences that people (or we ourselves) go through that are just too much. My heart breaks when this happens and I simply will never, ever judge myself or someone else for being mad at joy.


Sometimes joy just has to wait for a minute.


My only hope and prayer is that it can eventually return when those seasons have passed and that when we are able, we can find ways to honor both the joy and the pain in ways that feel honest and authentic.


Here are a couple of art prints (in RASPBERRY or LIGHT SAND) that remind me of the dual nature of this reality.


Lots of love and happy printing!


By the way, if you are in deep pain right now, please find people who will love you through it. Reach out. Wherever you can. Find the helpers. They are there. You may have to look outside the box, but they are there. And if, by chance, there is no one you feel you can turn to, then love yourself through it with everything you have. Actually, do that no matter what.


Click on images to download.