Every human experiences pain. It’s inevitable. It’s universal.

When you’re in pain, you have a choice: separate yourself because your pain is unlike everyone else’s OR lock eyes with the ones who have walked through deep pain too and keep living.

I can tell in an instant those who have moved through their pain (not rejecting it, staying in it or running their lives by it); the ones who have sat with it, grieved with bloodshot eyes, and chosen to rediscover life after it. It doesn’t mean we don’t ache or that we “get over” it, but there’s a certain understanding piercing through the eyes of one who has honestly accepted their heartache and it’s noticeable to other grievers instantly.

There are so many clubs no one ever wants to join, but when they are forced in, they’re so thankful others are there to walk with them: the widow/widower club, the survivors of suicide club, the miscarriage club, the loss of a child club, the divorceè club, the cancer club, the amputee club, the PTSD club, the depression/anxiety club, the caretakers club, the loved one of an addict club, this list is endless…

If we look for it, we’ll see our pain in the eyes of strangers all around us. I’m not being Negative Nancy here, asking you to see how woeful the world is, but rather, I’m asking you to notice how alike we are.

You are not alone in your pain.

When you learn to sit with your own pain, deeply observing it and allowing it to exist in you, you will give yourself the most sacred gift a grieving heart can receive: hope to live beyond the darkest hour of your life thus far.

When you meet your darkness, though you fear it will pull you under and suffocate you slowly, it will actually show a splinter of light peeking in on the other side.

You will notice that you are not alone in your experience (no matter how unique, there is nothing new under the sun). You will find there are MANY people equipped and ready to hold your hand and walk you through the the crippling hollow that steals your breath.

Your only job when you’re in pain is this: keep breathing and do not give up.

The reason I fixate on the topic of connection so much is mostly for this reason:

We are all going to experience pain. People are our lifelines in the thick of heartache, tethering us to the world outside and hope beyond this moment. It is imperative for our survival that we are able to maintain connection through our pain.

So, who do you have in your corner? Who’s going to show up when shit goes down? Who’s going to stand beside you and stare your darkness right in the face and not try to fix it, diminish it, delete it, or help you forget it?

If you’re grieving now, reach out (to me, to a support group, to any safe place for your heart). If you’re not in pain now, start building deep connections with people who will be your legs when yours buckle and who you can carry when they are stricken down.

Beauty is all around us. So is pain. If we are truly living, we will see and live both.

No matter where you are, there are people–GOOD people–in the world who are big enough, strong enough, capable enough to hold YOU up while you find your footing.

Life is no joke. It can be ruthless sometimes. And it can be so damn fulfilling too. Everything is temporary, aside from love. Love can live on through generations of pain and healing cycles, death, and dysfunction.

Keep breathing, loves. Find love in the eyes of another human today, it’ll remind you that you’re still alive.

XO,

MK

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