Getting the Gift from Your Pain

Understanding that painful emotional experiences are a result of belief systems that no longer serve us is one of the first steps in beginning to recreate one's life. Life provides many opportunities to, as Carl Jung would say, "make the subconscious conscious" - that is, to reveal to our conscious minds what we subconsciously believe. By staying open to opportunities, we can learn so much about what we subliminally believe.

This is where real and lasting transformation happens - when the deeply held beliefs causing separation and fear are revealed, and we begin consciously and repetitively to choose a new belief. Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you really approached everything as if form were effect and cause were really internal? I know, we teach it, we preach it, but it is not the easiest thing we have ever done! The fact is that when we are faced with unpleasant effects, our pain causes confusion, not clarity. Our own fears and frustrations frequently cloud the windows of the soul and get in the way of revealing higher truth. I have found that we try so hard to justify, ignore or deny our pain that we can miss the opportunity for healing - the very thing these unpleasant experiences are offering us. Our deeply held beliefs are revealed in many ways throughout our lives. I would like to share a personal story that illustrates this idea.

My oldest daughter, Athena, 25, was to be married on a beautiful Sunday in May. On the evening before the wedding, Athena, my husband Mike, and Arielle, my 22-year-old daughter who lives out of town, were quietly discussing the next day before we prepared to go to sleep. All of a sudden, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up Arielle's Bridesmaid's dress from the bridal store; they were closed on Sunday, so there was no way to pick up the dress. My heart nearly stopped.

Athena began to cry. Arielle looked at me with those sad eyes that said, "How could you forget about me?" I had been to that bridal store twice that week. Athena and all her other bridesmaids had been there on Saturday picking up their dresses; all had theirs, except Arielle. Now, to say that I felt guilty, horrified and upset was an understatement.

To forget Arielle and to leave her out was exactly the opposite of what I had consciously been trying to do for her. Arielle had moved away from home at 18, and we had experienced four years of struggle in our relationship that was just coming to some renewal. Now, to forget her, leave her out, or have her stand out as "not-a-part-of" was unthinkable.

Before going to bed, I sat with the distraught bride-to-be and said to her, "Honey, we will not accept this as it is. There is nothing about this that we will accept. Let's go to the END IN MIND and see Arielle standing with the wedding party with the dress on. Let's see it DONE. I don't know how but I know that the whole universe is working together for this and we will accept it done." We did an affirmative prayer and went to bed, but I COULD NOT SLEEP.

I tossed and turned and kept thinking, what is the thought form around this experience? What is this pain I'm feeling? What am I telling myself that is creating this pain? This time it was clear: it was a belief in separation, about being different from the rest, not fitting in. In the middle of the night, I got up and went outside and sat under the bright and nearly full moon. I began to pray, I began to cry, and I knew that there was a belief in me that I needed to heal. I knew that this wasn't about the dress, but it offered the opportunity to heal something. I gave up and surrendered all beliefs in me about separation, about not fitting in, or being left out. I began to claim and heal this belief system in me, in Arielle, or any other soul that wanted it! I treated and knew the truth of oneness, fitting in, belonging, and being a part of the family.

I had seen this belief operating many times in Arielle and in myself, especially when I was younger, and I wanted to heal it, NOW. After a wild and howling night under the moon, I went back to bed and slept peacefully. And then, the next morning, the work in the world of form began.

The first and only lead that we had - to try and locate the owner of the shop or anyone that worked there - turned up dry: we didn't know anything but first names. My husband went downtown to the little outdoor mall where the shop was located, looking for a security company that may know an owner's name. They didn't. He went into nearly every open store, looking for someone that may know someone who worked there.

He left his cell phone number with an employee that knew someone that knew someone that worked there, as he continued to comb the area. After a couple of hours, he decided he was getting nowhere and decided to leave - after all, he did have a wedding to attend soon. He left, but after getting a block away, something in him told him to drive around the block again. He turned around and drove back towards the back alley of the store. He spotted a car back in the alley, but it turned out to be nothing, and the store was still locked up. Just as he started to drive away, a woman walked by and asked, "Are you Mike Freeman?" It might as well have been a living angel herself, he was so ecstatic.

She had been called by the person in the nearby store and, having been given the wrong cell phone number, had been unable to reach him; subsequently, she had locked up the store and was about to leave when she saw him drive by. They went in and got the dress, and she commented on how grateful she was that they were contacted because they had accidentally left the air conditioning on. It all worked out and we got the dress.

Hallelujah! But, that's not the best part of the story. The point I want to make is this: our deeply held beliefs make themselves evident by various means. We transform these beliefs by taking advantage of the opportunity to release and reprogram new ones. When we experience painful times and are willing to look at the beliefs that create the perception of separation or fear, we can begin to choose anew.

This circumstance forced me to look at underlying beliefs and do the inner work that was necessary to change those beliefs. Yes, we were able to experience the end result we had in mind, but even better than that, we were able to heal a belief that had created separation and distance between my daughter and myself. She had held a belief about being separate and different and not "belonging" to the family, which she had communicated that to me many times; she had created many opportunities to separate from us, both physically and emotionally. But I had to admit that I must have had something to do with her having that belief, because it was in me, too, so I promised myself that I would do my part to clear it in me. That night, under the moon, I was able to experience a healing. The wedding went beautifully, and Arielle experienced love and belonging, as we all did.

Two days after the wedding she called to say that she had decided to move back home to find a new job and an apartment, and that she wanted to be closer to her family. Coincidence? I don't believe in coincidence, I believe in conscious cause. Choose a new cause, have a new effect.

Dr. Janette Marie Freeman, author of "Why Did This Happen to Me Again? Keys to Lasting Transformation." For a free subscription to "Live Richly" Newsletter go to

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