How to Transform Your Pain into Power and Purpose

I had an EPIPHANY the other day.

It came while we were sailing from the Society Islands to Niue (one of the smallest countries in the world, btw).

It was our first big sail alone, seven nights at sea, 1100 nautical miles, someone always needing to be awake, and to top if off, weather that varied from no wind to all the wind (which means sails up, sails down, sails in, sails out).

Needless to say, it was a difficult passage for every layer of our beings; physically taxing, mentally and emotionally draining, and spiritually confusing and clarifying.

There were nights where I sat in the cockpit from 1 – 6 am, dressed in my offshore foul weather gear, life jacket on, clipped into the boat just in case of a tragic accident, shivering my butt off, waves crashing beside and behind me, wind howling past me, exhaustion getting the best of me but my survival instincts overriding the fatigue…. and while all of this was absolutely challenging, I did it anyway.

While out there sailing….

We get in arguments. We become frustrated. We get so bored that we’re bored of our boredom. Things break, always. We feel restless. We feel queasy. And if you’re wondering, yes, I do wonder why I subject myself to all of this, but it was in this recent moment of extreme hardship that I realized, I am doing some exceptionally hard shit.

I am persevering and transcending through a really challenging situation and guess what?

I am okay. Like wow, I am totally fine. I am not hurt. I am alive. I am breathing. I am okay.

This realization triggered my internal wheels and got me thinking about all the hard things we experience as human beings.

Hard things like….

  • losing a loved one
  • birthing a child
  • raising a child
  • being in a strained marriage
  • repairing or leaving a marriage
  • leaving a toxic, abusive relationship
  • healing from infidelity
  • getting out of debt
  • building a business
  • attaining a challenging degree
  • dealing with illness
  • supporting loved ones who are ill
  • dealing with chronic pain
  • losing life-long friends
  • navigating a negative workspace
  • navigating a powerful career
  • body-image issues
  • battling addiction, depression, or anxiety

The list could go on and on because as a species, we deal with some exceptionally hard shit! Our ability to face adversity and develop resiliency is an amazing feat, and yet there’s a big gap between this behavior and our day-to-day efforts.

This gap is the epiphany I had, the aha moment if you will.

Why am I able to sail across an open ocean with 16,000 feet of water beneath me, with no one readily available to help in the case of an emergency, and stay up for hours on end to make sure the boat is okay, but I can’t commit to the handful of daily goals I have?

Goals like strength training 3x a week, practicing yoga 2x a week, a morning pranayama and meditation practice, upholding boundaries with technology, or reading one book per month.

Like what the fuck is up with that?

How can I be so brave in one area, and yet so weak in another? How can I act with complete dedication here, but be so wishy washy over there?

Obviously, when our lives are threatened we’re more motivated to take action, but there’s got to be a way to transform this superhero capability into the every day stuff that matters. There’s got to be a way to bottle up the pain we endure and use that pain to inform and inspire our personal power.

And even as I type this, I wonder if the pain we endure in one big area can be also be applied to another big area. For example, if we’re able to operate in a highly successful career, but our marriage is disintegrating, can we use the power of our career to bolster the healing of our marriage?

For me, this scenario or question would look like…

Can I use the experiences of creating a successful business, living a very alternate lifestyle away from the comfort of family, friends, and familiarity, as well as the challenge of long sailing passages to infuse my daily doings?

I believe the answer is yes, it’s absolutely possible, but it will require some mental rewiring; a rewire that helps us (us as in the mind) choose the yoga practice over the couch, the book over social media, and the strength training over working.

Now to be transparent, I’m writing this fresh off our sailing passage, so I’ve yet to put this into practice, but I have brainstormed a reframing process.

If this conversation is resonating, if you want to brainstorm how your past hardships can guide your present day actions, and if you struggle in areas where you feel it’s unnecessary and enough is enough already, then dammit, it is enough.

How will your past hardships and pain be transformed into purposeful living? By putting pen to paper, using your voice, or taking aligned actions? 

Until then, Allie, xx

Hey! I’m Allie.

I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.

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If your practice has waned, if your yoga journey feels lonely or you like the way I share yoga’s teachings, then this is where you need to be. Join me once a month, for free, to practice yoga as a community.