To allow others to go through pain is often judged, but sometimes, it can be the greatest act of love.
We live in a society that has conditioned us to shelter everything and everyone from pain, we don’t want our kids to experience failure, we don’t want people to feel hurt, we walk on eggshells to not offend anybody.
We mind our words and instead of creating a happier world we’re creating a more incompetent and incapable one to some degree, instead of people recognizing that the source of their joy and mystery comes from within.
Now everyone’s paying attention to whatever anyone says – so that they may feel miserable, even though the pain is on the inside.
We think that what needs to be fixed is outside.
So, allowing somebody else to feel their pain (when done from a conscious perspective/manner) can be the greatest gift you can give them.
I’m gonna tell you a story:
It’s about my mother a couple of years ago, when she was going through a very, very rough time.
She had Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness where, in her case, it led to a lot of pain in her joints, muscles, enough so that sometimes it was excruciating to move.
She would spend some days, sometimes weeks in her bed.
Because moving felt extremely painful. Another time she spent a lot of money on magnet therapy, in a lot of things every day.
There were a few things that could soothe her pain for a little bit but it would come back again and again.
Physically, she was very ill, emotionally, she had a lot of pain.
Around the divorce with my father which she hadn’t moved past from, financially she made a lot of decisions that were rather unconscious.
Later on she shared with me that she was suicidal and had told herself: “I’m going to live until this day, so i’m going to waste all my money before the day comes.“
Fortunately, the day came and she couldn’t pull the trigger.
I’m telling this to create context of where she was at: A lot of pain, misery, resentment she had felt – where she thought that everybody else was better off without her.
She had assumed that because she didn’t have money anymore, she was sick and nobody wanted her around.
This became self-fulfilling prophecies because the more that she judged us and resented that we were happy, the more difficult it was for us to be in connection with her.
We would go visit her, but she would be complaining about many things, among them my father, so we didn’t want to spend too much time with her.
Which made her think: “Of course they don’t want to, because now i’m in a bad place.“
There came a point where she didn’t have money to afford food, where her family was helping take care of her.
Living in Colombia, the currency in contrast to the dollar or canadian currencies is like this: What you earn in a month in Colombia you may very easily earn in a day in Canada and live a simple life.
So there was this bitterness in her that her children, now grown up, had good jobs, were earning decent money, and were not taking care of her.
In conversation with my sisters one day i told them: “For either one of us, it won’t take much to actually help Mom, to feed her for the rest of her life – but to feed her right now that she’s so resentful and grumpy would be a disservice for her.
Because she has not made the decision nor gone through enough pain (even though she has gone through a lot of pain), it has not been enough for her to act, to realize that something MUST change.
She has not touched rock bottom, if we take care of her now financially, sure, her belly will be full, but she will die a miserable woman.
She’s very capable and she’s going to die resentful, sick, with a lot of bitterness around life, around herself and many other things.
Do not send her any money, unless she asked for it. (because she wouldn’t ask, she would complain and expect people to provide for her)
She needs to face humility, let her ego aside, learn to ask if she needs for something.
If she asks, give strictly what is necessary, if she doesn’t ask, do not offer, no matter how much she complains.
Otherwise, you are rewarding complaining behaviour and then she’s gonna learn that when i complain about life, when i’m resentful, life provides for me.“
And it’s a very ugly thing to be anchored in a person’s mind, it was very difficult for all of us.
At some point i questioned if this was the right thing, but a deep knowing within me felt that this is really the way we needed to approach this situation.
Fortunately (and i write fortunately right now, but it took a couple of months for her to reach a point of utter desperation), one day on the phone she said: “I am desperate, i’m going every night to bed praying that i don’t wake up,
I don’t want to live anymore, something needs to change, i’m tired of living like this, i cannot continue like this, it’s not okay.“
In that moment i knew i felt that she had hit rock bottom, in that moment i said:
“Mom, i have an invitation for you that goes against your beliefs-
(She was part of a Christian “cult“, she’d defer with me for calling it that. anything that has to do with ancestral wisdom or shamanic traditions is witch-craft, dealing with the devil.
Of course, they’d say that, it would not serve them to believe that somebody else has deeper wisdom in a less forceful and dogmatic way than their own, anyway.)
-It may help you, but it may require that you do something that is outside of what you’ve been taught in that group that you’re a part of.“
She though about it, but the pain and desperation was such that she said: “Yes, okay, i’m gonna do it.“
So i told her about this thing called Ayahuasca: “You know, i used to drink so much i used to take drugs, all these things, have you noticed there’s been a big change in me.“
“Yeah” she could see it.
“Well, you know, it was because i drank this medicine, it comes from the jungle, this is what happened.” and so i shared about my experience with her.
She felt inspired and she said: “Okay, sounds good.”
So then i called my sister: “Please send my Mom this amount of money, i’m gonna pay for her to attend ceremony, transportation and a whole month of her eating clean vegan, organic healthy food.“
(Which in Colombia can be quite expensive.)
The next day my Mom called me, she was very appreciative: “Thank you, i just received the money from your sister.“
So i thought: “Great, she’s going in one month to ceremony“
A week later she calls me and i sensed that there was something there: “You know what, i changed my mind, i don’t want to go there.“
Changing her mind meant that she talked with her church girlfriends and they convinced her of how this was dealing with Satan, making a pact with the devil.
Basically, she talked about the bible, lord Jesus being her guide, about saviours and being able to do anything through them.
I said: “Alright, no judgement, although your path has clearly not worked for you these last 10 years, you’re quite miserable, maybe even more than before. If that’s the case then please give the money that my sister gave you, because that money was for you to prepare for an Ayahuasca ceremony.
Because that money was for you to prepare for an Ayahuasca ceremony, since you’re not going anymore then you won’t need it.“
Deep inside, i knew that she had no food in the fridge, that she was eating rice and beans.
I knew that she really needed this and that she was in a point of poverty – and it didn’t cost me much, but i felt that maybe she had not reached rock bottom, it needs to be coming deep from within the heart.
She gave my sister the money back and i heard from family that she was raging.
“How dare they do this, they know i’m struggling, they’re living the good life and they can’t take care of their own mother” She went deeper into her pain.
Two weeks later she calls me: “This Ayahuasca thing, i don’t care if it’s a deal with the devil, tell me where i sign.
I am tired, i’m not gonna continue living like this, i am done.” That day i knew she touched rock bottom, she will no longer accept her life continuing the same way.
Long story short, she went in one ceremony, healed her Fibromyalgia to a point that it was miraculous, unexplainable to the doctors she was working with.
Although the moment that she said that her Fibromyalgia stopped after the plant medicine ceremony – they all had a lot to say about how they were trying to deny and invalidate her experience.
She went back to her church girlfriends – feeling more alive than ever, mentioning how aware of her financial issues she was and how there was still things for her to figure out.
“Yet i wake up and i see, hear the birds singing, i see the sun come up and i look out in my garden and i feel so grateful that i’m alive” she said.
“I used to pray for God to take my life every night when i went to sleep, now i cry and pray for one more day, because there’s so much beauty that i haven’t been able to receive, now i see it, i feel it and i love life so much, i don’t wanna die.“
Recently i was chatting with her: “You know son, i never thanked you for what you did that time, because i thought that i wanted for you to take care of me, for you to pay for my food.
And i resented you so much when you asked your sister to take back the money you had given me, but now i can see that it is not what i needed.
You gave me a greater gift, which was the gift of getting my life back, the gift of allowing me to deal with just enough pain so that i will make a choice, to change things so that i will trust that something higher and deeper was available.
That my life could change, and i have to thank you, because the pain that i experienced after what happened was a gift.
The gift that made me accept your invitation. And these last 2-3 years of my life have been the best years of my life, i never though i could be so happy, that i could feel so good and so in love with everything.“
She also got a job, her finances improved, she forgave my father, all the relationships in our family healed in a beautiful way – they’re good friends now.
So many things happened, the woman that my dad had been unfaithful with, which was the reason why the marriage split up – out of nowhere, 15 years later after that, she messaged my mom:
“Hey, i just thought about it and it just dawned on me the amount of pain that you may have or you must have gone through by me destroying your family.
And i just wanted to say that i feel very, very sorry. I feel so ashamed of what i did back then, i hope that one day you can forgive me and i would love to take you out for coffee, look at you in the eyes and apologize.“
A woman that before had not said a word about my Mom, and if anything, there was a lot of tension and an apathy between them, suddenly out of nowhere everything started coming back into alignment.
The only thing that maybe broke apart was when she came to her church girlfriends and said how she had healed from Fibromyalgia and how she was feeling so vibrant and in love with life.
They said “Oh, sister, preach Jesus, preach the lord, through him all was possible, it’s a miracle.“
So my Mom said: “Yeah, preach the lord and Jesus but it was Ayahuasca, actually, the one that cured me.“
Right away they kicked her out of the WhatsApp group chat, because they were like the doctors, they couldn’t accept that their healing came in a shape that would question their blind faith and beliefs.
And the way in which they were doing things, for them to admit that a plant has a spirit or energy that can help you get your life in order when no amount of bible reading could is something that, for most fanatics, is very unlikely to ever embrace or accept.
My mom could still be a very miserable human being, she could have taken her life, she could have a big belly and a mind full of regrets, resentment, ugliness, bitterness and die like that.
Or go through a little bit of hunger, a lot of pain for sure, but when it came from a conscious gesture, it was the greatest gift that i could give her.
I invite you to see in your life, where are you making people comfortable, where are you sheltering them, your loved ones, from pain?
Because sometimes, we shelter the other from pain, not because of them, but because of our own discomfort by seeing them suffer.
Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for someone is to allow them to experience the roughness and the rawness of life.
Because if we love somebody, it is best to support them in becoming competent than to make them comfortable, nothing wakes a person up faster than pain.
Pain demands our attention, when it gets too intense, whether it’s physical pain or emotional pain, you cannot work, eat or do anything.
But when you pay attention: where did you cut yourself, what’s happening due to this pain, inside of you, your mind, your heart.
Pain is life shaking you, screaming at you when you have not heard its subtle whispers.
So how will we dare rob that from somebody?
Sometimes we think that we’re doing the right thing but we’re not, sometimes with love we must allow somebody else to be shaped and forged through the fires of pain.
So that they may discover what they’re made of, because if you look at your past, you will see that a lot of the times in a lot of situations.
It was the pain that made you grow, the one that brought out the best in you, the one that has made you the person that you are.
The challenges, the difficulties that you overcame.
Do not take that away from somebody else, doesn’t mean that we should just add to the suffering of somebody, it also doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to relieve suffering.
In some cases like when people are starving, that’s different, that’s economic reasons, lack of equality, corruption.
There are things that we should do and it’s our responsibility to do, but with the people that are close to you, discern, learn to pay attention in order to know when is a good time to step in.
To interfere, when is a good time to step away and to let them marinate a little bit in the pain sauce.
Because the best meals, the best things, come from this place.
When we are able to look at something that at one point was the source of suffering, we recognized that behind it.
Was a source of grace.
If you feel the calling to sit with Ayahuasca, in a container held by Colombian shamans at a sacred temple in the middle of the mountain forests, please check: