• Aurora Winters

What is it to soften into pain?

To soften into pain. Lean in, meet it at the center means to go slowly. To do what today has asked. Step back. Give myself time and space. It is not to be forced. A summary of something Peter Levine says about trauma that keeps me grounded is "the force and nature of trauma is to be revered. It is to be respected and healed slowly, patiently."

I was never safe to feel growing up in a house of horrors. To witness the violence around me, feel the damage done to my body even slightly I embodied the belief that this same terror was at the core of me. A state of being frozen in an absolute nightmare wrecks a person.

Every step of healing has asked of me crawling, sitting, moving, backwards, running, flying, digging and more. Healing is often chaos.

Softening into the pain is understanding All Of It is part of the arduous process that is The Pain. In somatic experiencing part of the healing is titration: the slow introduction to processing a painful memory. One small tiny piece at a time and keep noticing the reactions to each piece.

I will never find my way back out of the pain. I know this even though my programming begs of me to return the way I came. Every small piece of pain I choose to meet with, changes me. I have no choice. It drags me with it whether I want to be there. That too is part of facing the pain. Softening into the knowing that I will meet with it differently by the second some days. Softening into pain is really in the end softening into me. The pain is of me and a part of me. I can only do what I am capable of every step and extend grace to myself. Self judgement is my biggest separator.

Softening into pain means forgiving myself as I am ready. Having compassion for my cycle when self blame makes me feel safe from loss.

I wish it looked a certain way and that there was a class that helped all of us lay out what it would be but the pain will show up throughout life unexpectedly asking to be held, noticed and grieved again. Softening into where I am now is looking back at all the years of running and avoiding and denial and holding only space to be with every part. I truly did my best. I have apologized to others where I neglected relationships but all alone as I walked through every memory, so far, softening into pain is truly accepting I am capable and holding truths that some things will always exist as a hole inside but that I can ask for help and be realistic about my limits.

Softening into pain means that finally I embodied myself. Rise up trusting who I have become. It means being fluid with the ups and downs and unpredictability of life. Softening into pain means allowing myself to become fully alive in every feeling and take up space without apology.

Cover Photo by Aurora Winters


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