I’m standing in front of the electric stove in my childhood home looking at the burner. I want to grill a cheese sandwich and am waiting for the heater coil to be ready. I couldn’t tell if it was hot enough yet, so I put my hand on the coil and learned it’s hot real quick. I burned my hand enough to be treated professionally. Something I’ll never do again.

Physical pain hurts a lot in varying degrees. I learned an important lesson – don’t check if something is hot by touching it.

Pain is in my life because I am human. I can’t live life without it. As a child I learned about emotional pain, though I didn’t know what I was experiencing. Emotional pain, I think, hurts more than physical pain because I can’t see where it hurts, only feel the intensity. I didn’t know how to remedy my pain as a child so I embodied it and there it stayed for years.

Unresolved pain hung onto my body as I grew. It stayed with me like a well-worn habit I got so used to that I forgot it was there. My mind has the strong ability to recognize pain, stuff it back down and turn away so it becomes a part of me.

Time marches on and the scenario continues. At some point I recognize I’m getting tired of dragging around all this old baggage, and I try to put the baggage down but it has something to say so it won’t leave. A tug of war happens until I give in, sit down, listen and acknowledge pain’s plight. This acknowledgement is my healing. Forgiveness is important too -- forgiving myself for doing my best in the confusion and forgiving others who are wounded while thrusting their pain at me.

I have spent about 40 years unpacking my baggage. It’s a process I have grown familiar with, recognizing the distracting side roads rising up as choices I could take into my ignoring behavior again. My memory of the pain helps me know I don’t want to go there. Making that choices helps me find my way back to my center affirming my wish to remain unpacked.

I also recognize opportunities for new baggage if I choose and the old pain helps me remember, I’m not willing to lug this around for a while. NOT MY JOB! Pain has helped me remember not to repeat. Thank you, pain. Maybe you are in my life for a reason!

Life Here on the Edge

by Danna Faulds

When love lights a fire in the heart,

don’t be so quick to quell the flames.

To be fully alive is to welcome the

Beloved in countless names and guises,

not turn away the wild with the tame.

Drink your fill of longing. Let

love wash through in waves that

lift you up and carry both your

daring and your fear straight

to unknown places. Yes, there

is danger in not staying safely

cloaked in morality and labels –

But there is life here at the edge,

and a choice to be made between

thoughtful abandon and passionate<