Finding Purpose and Meaning in the Pain
I get a lot of emails every day and I read every single one of them. This week I received an email from a reader that literally brought me to tears. The author so eloquently described her depression, her pain, her suffering and her desire to end her own life. The pain had become so unbearable, that suicide seemed like the best option for her.
I went for a walk after reading her email, to clear my head and get some perspective. As I walked I asked the universe, ‘what can I say to this poor woman that could possibly ease her suffering? How can I help these people get past their pain and see their true potential?’
I’ve been where most of you are now. When I started this little blog 11 months ago, I believed that I had something to offer and I wanted to be a beacon for those that were hurting like I was. At the beginning, I was lucky if I got a couple hundred page views a month. Now almost a year into this, I get an average of 60,000 page views a month. If you ask any blogger they will tell you – that’s a lot, especially after only one year. But what this told me was that I was not alone. It told me that so many people are in so much pain and desperately trying to find a way out of it.
When my struggle began, I had just been in a car accident and my mother was killed. Within weeks, my long term Narcissist left me for another woman. I lost my job, both my parents were dead. I lost my house, my car. I had no friends (thanks to my Narcissist), no money and I was totally alone in this world. All of those things that make us feel safe and secure were gone for me. It felt like the carpet had been pulled, right from under me, and I was falling into no-mans-land. The pain and fear were unrelenting and I longed for death to release me from this suffering.
I had never known depression before and it consumed me. All I wanted to do was stay under the covers and not move. I stopped eating – I stopped living.
All the while I kept hearing this little voice in my head. It said, “You are not this pain. You are not what happened to you. You are so much bigger than this. You are a limitless being and the epitome of all possibilities. Wake up Savannah. Wake up. There is much for you to do.”
If you would have seen my car after the accident, you would be thinking, ‘there is no way you should be alive right now.’ We were hit by two transport trucks. It looked like it had gone through one of those metal compactors. But I crawled out relatively unscathed, my mother did not. I asked the universe so many times, ‘why did I survive this, when living hurts so much?’
I can see that the culmination of all of this tragedy that happened, seemingly all at once, was my wake-up call. I hated my life. I hated my partner. I hated my job. I couldn’t breathe. I would have panic attacks every morning and every night, but I was unwilling to do anything about it. I felt trapped and in one big bang everything changed.
When we won’t do for ourselves, the universe has a way of getting our attention. If we don’t get up – it pulls the chair out from under us and gives us no other option, but to stand up.
Even though it wasn’t clear to me at the time, there was a purpose for all of the hurt that I had experienced throughout my whole life, but I needed to wake up and become the star in my own life, before I would ever be able to see it. I was so miserable before the accident and I was slowly dying. The universe kept telling me, giving me hints that things needed to change, but I stubbornly didn’t listen.
“Wake up Savannah. Wake up. There is much for you to do.”
More often than not we don’t change unless we are given no other option. I had no one to take care of me – no one to support me. Nowhere to turn to. I had to fight for my life, or give up and die.
I chose to fight and some of the thoughts that drove me were, ‘I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m stronger than this. He will not have a better life than me. The best revenge is living well and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.’
The moment I adopted this belief, it fueled me and my focus became so in tuned I could see nothing else, but the realization of my goal. I had so much anger, hurt and anxiety I began running. It was the only way to relieve the tension. I was in the gym for two hours a day, every day and I would follow that up with an hour walk in nature, or a swim. The endorphins from all that exercise were a natural rush. I was looking better and feeling better. My head was getting clearer and I started to finally see the bigger picture.
When you are in pain and suffering you are out of sync with who you really are. This is nature’s way of telling you that you are not doing what you should be doing and you are not with, who you are supposed to be with. You are not being authentically you and you are living in fear.
When you are in sync there is a serenity, a balance and everything flows in a beautiful, peaceful harmony. There are no huge peaks and valleys. Your emotions speak to you. They are a guidance system that tells you where you are. If you are on course, or off course. That is how you know.
As I got further away from my pain I was able to see my purpose. I could see that everything in my life unfolded exactly how it was supposed to. I was raised by the parents that I was supposed to be. I endured the neglect, the shame, criticism and humiliation in childhood that I was supposed to. I became involved with all of the men in my life that I was supposed to be involved with. All of it was supposed to happen and erupt into one big bang. And that bang was my wake up call. So many people go through their lives asleep. Never knowing their purpose, or their potential.
I can’t draw. I can’t play an instrument. I’m not artsy at all. But I can write and I can analyze things really well. I have a huge heart and an even bigger desire to help people.
I have tried and failed at so many things in my life, but when you find your purpose it all fits together. It stops being a struggle. It stops being work. If I hadn’t faced all of that pain and adversity I couldn’t write this blog. I couldn’t do what I am supposed to do. It was all necessary.
When I meet someone new, a friend, or a love interest, as soon as I sense my emotions start to feel out of balance, or I sense the relationship is going to go through peaks and valleys I step out with no apologies. I have learned to use my feelings as my navigational system. I don’t owe anyone my time or a place in my life. My harmony and balance are sacred and I have no time for any one or thing that threatens that balance.
I don’t hold any ill will for my long term narcissist. As far as I know he is still with the woman he left me for. I know that she got pregnant a few months after I left our house and I know he married her. I don’t envy her because I know he hasn’t changed. I know he is asleep in this life and always will be. Sure she won him, but I won me and I wouldn’t trade the two for anything.
I am grateful for the pain he cause me, because it opened my eyes and I am now fully awake and living my purpose. How could having a relationship with a small, close minded, angry, selfish person ever compare?
He is but one small man and I am a giant, eternal spirit that cannot be broken. How could I allow myself to be defeated by such an insignificant situation? The one thing I know for sure, is that I needed to be there, before I could be here.
When I was at my lowest I whispered to the universe, “I cannot take this pain anymore. I cannot carry this burden. Help me. I surrender.” Being at the very bottom is a magical place. It’s hard to put into words. You are so raw and peeled down to your very core. You feel so fragile, that you could break into pieces, at the slightest breeze. You become a better listener, by that I mean, that you can hear things that you couldn’t hear before. You find meaning where you would have missed it before. When the universe speaks you can truly hear it. I know I wasn’t alone down there in the darkness. I was being guided by something much greater than myself and that can only happen when you surrender to it.
As I clawed my way through, everything that I needed came to me. Money, books, information, opportunities and even the right people, at just the right time. I even dated a web designer many years ago. He’s become one of my best friends and created this site for me. Coincidence??? No way.
I had to let go and allow the old me to die before I could be reborn. I realized that no one person is an island. That nothing was greater, or more powerful than the spirit inside of me. I was so much more than my pain, so much more than my suffering and that all of it was necessary and unfolding exactly how it was supposed to. I realized that I was never alone. It was one heck of a journey, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
‘You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?’
The Lord replied,
‘The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
It is then, that I carried you.’
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