This was a favourite quote of my mentor, teacher and friend John Heimler. He had some experience with pain, both physical and emotional, as a survivor of Auschwitz and other concentration camps; pain that is unimaginable to most of us.

We all have our own pain to bear at different times during our lives. Asking why we have the pain is a fruitless question and often brings even more pain, since there is never a satisfactory answer. Pain, like pleasure, is our reaction to something else, some other energy source. If that is so, we can change our question. “What may I do with this pain?” is a transformative question. It may not take away the pain, not immediately anyway, but it brings some other spark of creation. In Heimler’s case, he sought to escape, giving himself plenty to occupy himself. In my case, during one period when I experienced significant emotional pain, I started writing a book. Two of my books, in fact, had their birth in a time of great emotional struggle.

Some of the world’s greatest creative talents have emerged from people whose lives seemed fraught with pain. Think of Beethoven, Van Gogh, Tchaikowsky and other artists and composers. Very few of us will achieve the great heights of their work but we can all achieve our own personal heights. And many of our best achievements will be born in the midst of pain.

Once we stop asking why and become open to the possibilities of creative action instead, we begin the journey of moving through our pain into the next transformative stage of life.

In peace

Warren Redman

Author's Bio: 

Warren Redman trained in the UK as a psychotherapist, facilitator and coach and has developed his own unique style of Emotional Fitness Coaching. He is president of the Emotional Fitness Institute (formally the Centre for Inner Balancing), writing about, teaching and coaching people in Emotional Fitness. He is the author of fifteen books, including the Award-winning The 9 steps to Emotional Fitness, Achieving Personal Success and Recipes for Inner Peace.

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