2 a : usu. localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury); also : a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking, throbbing, or aching), and typically leading to evasive action b : acute mental or emotional distress or suffering : grief
One of the things that makes an artist so spectacular (at least in my estimation) is their ability to be themselves no matter what “the show must go on.” There are many occupations where that is the motto. I imagine a firefighter wouldn’t bough out when the flames get high. That is when their adrenaline levels raise and they go that much harder to put the fire out!
When I look at my time (up until two years ago) as a singer I can honestly say I never really saw myself as an artist. I knew I could write songs…Soul or country…R&B or whatever but I did not quit understand what made a singer an artist. I knew wanted to encourage the world through my music so I would write things that were fun, fluffy and inspirational in nature but I never got to the “nitty gritty” (as my Mom’s generation would say). When I went through a hard time I would write but would not tell my whole truth. I wrote trying to protect myself from the pain. I wrote to heal myself with words of encouragement but not from 100% truth. I never liked to look at the “dark side of Audra.” It freaked me out. I would say to myself, “They can’t see that stuff…that’s bad!” What I did not know at the time is that there are no “good” or “bad” life experiences. There are just experiences that (personally speaking) are working on your behalf to guide you to where deep down inside you ultimately desire to be (sometimes REALLY deep down inside). I think of it like a relationship that didn’t work out. You may have cried because that person left or they did something to “encourage” a break up. You might have felt like the world was over until you meet the next person who was MUCH more suited for you. In retrospect, you may then acknowledge that deep down inside you “knew” your Ex was not the one for you. Your heart, or your intuition is constantly guiding you and likely some form of pain will accompany that. That is your whole truth and your whole truth should be acknowledged. The pain is the place in which you grow. I remember a time when I had produced my play. I received great feedback from the audience but behind the scenes things went awry. I made some “not so great” decisions which in turn changed the nature of some relationships which resulted in emotional pain on my part. This however benefitted me because I was able to see areas where I needed to mature and I got to see the truth from people that may not have been revealed otherwise. In my growth and development, I decided to use that pain. I wrote a song. “Center of My Universe” was born from a very hurtful time along my journey. In that moment, I realized that my pain was indeed useful and that it can help others.
I remember when I first heard the song “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton. I was about 10-years-old. It was so beautiful I almost cried (I was pretty tough back then so to get me to “almost cry” is a feat in and of itself). I had no idea who Eric Clapton was. All I knew was that his song was on my karaoke tape (tape…am I dating myself? Maybe I was an infant at the time…lol) I heard that song and it made me feel something I have never felt before…a connection to Eric Clapton. It made me want to write my own songs…I was inspired! I researched that song and discovered that he wrote this song after his son, Conor’s, tragic death. He used his pain to pen a song that won a Golden Globe for “Best Original Song” and a Grammy! Obviously, no one desires that type of pain for personal gain but this painful truth is what made this song so moving and award worthy.
We all have pain but we don’t always see the gift in it for ourselves and for others. I think the worse thing we can do is to feel that we are being picked on by God (or fate or whatever you believe). That type of thinking leads to depression (yep…been there, done that and have the tear-stained pillow to prove it). When we open our hearts and minds enough to look for the lesson in it we see that that pain was there to either prevent a more damaging thing from happening, help us to mature or remind us of our truth (what we REALLY want but might be settling for). Pain can work for us if we allow it to. Lamaze classes are designed to help mothers breathe through the pain of childbirth. I don’t have any children yet but I imagine the gift that is laid in a mother’s arms is worth the pain of birthing it. The question is for the rest of us…are you breathing through it?!
Don’t ignore your pain…acknowledge it!
Get it out! (Go to a counselor, journal it or speak with a friend)
Choose to believe that good CAN and will come out of it if you allow it to.
Look for the lessons. They can turn into blessings!