When everything inside you wants to contract, expand


I used to run from pain.


My baby sister died when I was in 3rd grade and for years I stuffed it down, never letting anyone know my emotions or how I was feeling. I ran away from any situation that could cause me to experience loss. I avoided any situation that could cause me to feel pain.


My heart would jump and feel the pang of fear every time I received “bad” news or the words, ‘We need to talk’ were uttered. The fear of eventual loss had me close off and cut ties with close friends and family, leave places of work, and be the one who ended relationships first. It hurt to hurt, and I went to great lengths to avoid a run-in with my loss.


A little over a year ago my journey to feeling pain began. I dabbled in it when I discovered intenSati 7 years ago. I even began to open up more when I did my Yoga Teacher Training 2 years ago. But only last year did I decide I was ready to leave a 4-year toxic relationship and open myself up to meeting someone new and fully feeling it all. Shortly after making that decision, I met someone and we began dating. Things were great for a while and out of nowhere the old toxic relationship surfaced.


Had I made the wrong decision to end it? Was it just my fear of loss that had me cut ties? What if this person was really “the one”?


Turns out she had met someone too, but knew how she still felt about me. And over the course of 48 hours my emotions ran the gamut from hope to despair. I was strung along as she swayed from one end of the spectrum to the other, finally telling me that she was going to stay where she was.


Never have I felt hurt like I felt that night. I cried so hard I thought my heart would stop. To be completely honest, I wanted it to stop. Anything to stop the pain.


The reality is, I don’t even think we were a good fit for one another, but that didn’t make the pain of loss sting any less.


Hurt hurts.


I was hurt from rejection. Hurt from loss. Hurt from expectation. Hurt from allowing my emotions to be played with – and it was a feeling I just couldn’t shake.


I remember taking a picture of myself that night as I laid on the floor listless. Seems like a silly thing to do at your breakdown moment, but at the time I thought I’d preserve one last memory of myself.


I was so broken and so drained from the previous 48 hours, that I had given up on everything, especially myself.


I had never felt this alone.


What pulled me out of that moment – what could have otherwise been my last one – were two things, or rather two people.


The first was my girlfriend who happened to come over and find me laying on the floor. I didn’t have words, and that was OK. She just sat next to me and was there.


The second was my life coach – the person who is always in my corner no matter how far I stray – the one person that even when I quit on myself will never quit on me.


In the days and weeks that followed, friends asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ and consoled me with, ‘Everything is going to be OK’.


But my coach said what I actually needed to hear:


Allow yourself to feel everything you’re feeling right now. Let the hurt move through you and then you can move on.



Those words were by my side when everything inside of me wanted to contract.


They urged me to expand.


Those words were emblazed on my heart when the pain was too much to bear.


They reminded me that feeling my pain is the bravest fight I’ll ever fight.


Those words were what allowed me to start feeling my way through it all.



That painful night on my bedroom floor – the worst night of my life – became the day I started living.


The beauty of pain is that because you risked, you loved and you let yourself feel pain, pain is the thing that brings you to yourself.



Allow yourself to feel everything you’re feeling right now. Let the hurt move through you and then you can move on.


I repeat my coach’s words to myself as the pain wells up in my heart, as everything inside me wants to contract and pull away. I urge myself to stay, to cry, to feel. it. all.


While this new pain is a familiar feeling, it’s still new all the same and it doesn’t soften the blow or the hurt I’m carrying.


Let the hurt move through you


But I feel so broken and tired. Tired of opening up. Tired of fighting the brave fight. Tired of trusting only to have my heart broken. Tired of losing people and relationships.


Allow yourself to feel everything you’re feeling right now


But it hurts. so. much.


And this is the place I crack. I cry. I breakdown again. I allow myself to slip into my pain and it hurts deeper than I could have ever imagined. But, in a strange way, it’s also liberating to feel the hurt move through you, knowing your freedom lies beyond the pain point.



Holding pain is the hardest thing you’ll ever do and I don’t know what your pain is, but we all hold some inside us. The best way to make progress when the going gets tough is by relying on others.


Its not easy to share what you’re up against, going through, or to open up about how you’re really feeling – but, what I learned from my pain a year ago, what got me through that night and the reason I’m opening up about the hurt I’m feeling right now – is we can’t go at it alone. And we don’t have to.


Feeling your pain is the bravest fight you will ever fight and everything in you will seek to contract. In those moments, choose to expand.


Allow yourself to feel the pain, to build relationships that you may one day lose, for whatever reason, and allow your tribe to support you in your expansion.


From one brave fighter to another,