Lessons from Michelangelo

November 20th, 2012 by Patty Bear

Painful experiences are….well painful. But they are also something else.

We try to avoid them at all costs- that’s just the smart thing to do- but, recently I was thinking about how vital they are in moving us forward. Now I know this may seem like a cliched, Pollyannaish sentiment that you’ve heard before. But hear me out.

How much lighter would your life be if you could SEE how painful experiences were literally bringing you better health, more money, more business, a bigger life, and more peace?

When I look back on my life some of the most painful things, and the things I struggled with the most, were absolutely THE biggest drivers moving me forward. I certainly didn’t have any idea at the time. Today, I am immensely grateful for those experiences. Without them, my life would be immeasurably heavier and smaller.

Here’s another thing I’m noticing.

The ability to harvest the pain in an experience is inversely proportional to the level and length of struggle I experience. The more aware, curious, and grateful I am for the lesson, the quicker it passes. The relationship of pain and progress brings to mind a Michelango quote…

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”


Struggle and painful experiences are part of the carving away of everything that hides the “angel”. They often herald the turning point of a new path forward as well, but a crucial turning point that we are unaware of until we look back.

Thanksgiving is a holiday where we give thanks for our blessings. We tend to count up all the good things in life and feel grateful for those. That’s a great start. However…

My challenge for you this Thanksgiving week is: to look back on a painful experience that moved you forward and to be grateful that. Give thanks for the lesson and the “teacher”. How would your life be different today without that experience?

(If you know of someone else whose outlook might become lighter and freer from the thoughts I share in this newsletter why not invite them to join us? SEE the FORWARD TO A FRIEND button on the bottom. )

And as always, have fun playing!

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