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The Brighter Side of Pain

I am honored to be named Congressional Story Teller at Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach. My last name, Maggid, happens to mean “storyteller" in Hebrew. On the Yom Kippur high holiday, I led Mediations of the Heart, a forum in which people wrote stories and read them out loud to the congregation. The congregants were taken with the warmth, courage and emotion of each reader. It was very uplifting! The subject was, "What have you learned over the past 30 years?” Here is what I read:

Pain can be a gift— its counter intuitive I know. Yet it’s my truth.

Over the past 30 years, my journey has been a wild ride of both horrible and wonderful emotions locked up in my body hidden so deep in the tissues, blood, bones and veins that on the surface I was able to act the part of a reasonable human being, a college student, an employee, a friend, a young woman, a married woman and a mom. Holding inside myself the emotions and traumas of being the daughter of two Holocaust survivors while pretending things were fine, was my method of dealing. It worked pretty well until one fateful day when it didn’t—the day everything I had experienced manifested in unbearable pain and I was afraid I might never be able to use my left arm again. Fear set in along with the illusion Vicodin and surgery were my only hope.

It was in this state of panic I prayed to God often asking for a solution tapping into my higher power, a spiritual place I know now I can always rely on. In fact, its always been there, passed down from my ancestors and somehow intuitively instilled in me. This connection coupled with a relentless need to move forward prompted me to investigate a side of myself with whom I was unfamiliar —The real me. The one who likes to write stories, teaches breath work meditation, has her own opinions, and has a multitude of interests, often considered outside the box. This discovery was the treasure that helped me get to the other side of the pain, a place of high vibration and a greater connection to nature.

And why is this realization of the real me so important? It’s important because had I not had the chronic mind-bending pain, I might never have discovered who I really am. Pain is there to force you to pay attention to something you are ignoring. And what I learned is that you must have the courage to change, to feel into the pain without caring what other people think. This was my key to happiness, when the magic began to happen, when my feelings became more important than anyone else’s, and the brilliance of no longer being embarrassed by anything I did in the past, because it was all part of my journey.

Some people will love me and others won’t. Some people can’t put my book down while others will never pick it up. And it doesn’t matter because their reaction is all about them and not about me. It’s a matter of loving yourself, knowing you’re worth it and that you are enough. In this place of self-love, admiration and strength I am able to give more, to be more charitable, and to notice how I can assist others. In other words, I went from chronic pain to a good feeling body and wanting to be of service.

So I advise you to embrace your pain, even name your pain (I call mine Fred), make friends with your pain until the point it loves you and you love it so much that it disappears.

Pain can be a gift.


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