Pain and Kindness

November 14, 2012 by  
Filed under current, Mothering Space

What is my purpose in life? Why am I here? What work am I mean to do in this world?

So many people wrestle with these questions. And the struggle is painful. Instead of looking like doorways to vitality and opportunity, they can pull on us like dead weights.

I knew that for me the answer was out there. I thought that if I just kept searching, I would find the author, coach, teacher, guru who would hold the mirror up and all would be revealed to me in one shining aha moment. But because I thought of it as “out there,” I was constantly off balance, leaning ever forward away from myself.

Another oft-touted way of answering the question is by asking yourself what you loved doing when you were young and then giving yourself permission to do more of that thing.

While I’m all for the spirit of play and accessing the joy of the present moment, I am an adult. I was searching for a more developed understanding of my purpose in order for it to be meaningful and fulfilling enough to commit to for the long term. It needed to be something that encouraged me to “grow up” in the best possible way.

The answer for me came down to two things: pain and kindness.

My answer came, not from what I loved doing most when I was a kid (after all, the first thin I wanted to be when I grew up was a cleaning lady, and everyone in my family will tell you, that that’s definitely not my life’s purpose), but what hurt me the most. And then doing everything in my power to make sure that I do what ever I can to keep that pain from happening to others.

The pain was this: being invisible to someone who was supposed to love me no matter what. And yet, I have noticed the kindness hiding in wait for me on the other side of this, for the times when I fell the most alive, the most like me, are the times when I’ve been fully present and able to see clearly those I love, and helping other people see their loved ones as they are. Because I know so acutely the pain of being unseen, I am finely tuned to the kindness of noticing and awareness.

And so I realized that my greatest gift has come from my greatest pain.

And after years of searching in books and ashrams and coaching programs and journals, after seeking and wondering, wishing, waiting and longing. I can say that the purpose of my life is to practice seeing and loving those closest to me, and to do what ever I can to bring this awareness and experience to others.

For me, seeing truly equals loving. And while the form may change and the “what” of what I do will most likely shift as the years go by, I now know that this will always be, and has always been, my “why.”

My godmother, a breast cancer survivor, has a little gold dish with a tiny paper heart laying in it. And on the heart are written the words, “Seek your salve where you got your sore.”

So yes. For me, bringing kindness to my pain help me know why I am here.

Why are you?

About Our Mothering Space Contributor

Hi, I’m Miki. I create and tend spaces in which we can be truly seen and deeply loved. I believe that we can each design our lives so that they are grounded in, and flow from that which we hold most dear. This is my compass as I mother my kids, support my husband, photograph families, and write about it all. See what I’ve changed into here and on Twitter @MikiDeVivo


2 Responses to “Pain and Kindness”
  1. Anne Maybus says:

    “Seek your salve where you got your sore.” I love that, Miki. I will use that in my life. Thank you for your insightful post.

  2. Miki DeVivo says:

    Thanks so much, Anne. It really struck home with me when I heard it too.