Crafting Gentleness

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pain and Transformation

A list-colleague elsewhere on the internet communicated that he was quite taken by words from his mentor who said that, "If you are not transformed by your pain, you will transmit it! Transformed people transform people. Hurt people hurt people!"

Reflecting a moment on this from my own place and space, while respecting its importance to him ...

I think I go along with the first bit, more or less but I'm just wondering about 'transformed people' who hurt and 'hurt people' who transform. I think it's helpful to leave room for those people too! :) I also wonder about who would get to declare that the transformation has achieved '-ed' status (transform-ed) . I like 'transforming people (often/can) transform people', which elicits an internal 'duh!' moment for me, but I think that's the point. Also, in a similar vein, 'hurting people (often/can) hurt people' (also duh!, but I'll give that duh! a little hug). I'm just a little wary of my tendency to acquiesce to labelling people, and I think if I label someone as hurt rather than hurting I feel that I leave less room for the transformations of hurting by hardening the moment a little...? Not sure. Anybody with me on this or am I floating away on a doobilysquidgy?

Free associating, Victor Frankl once remarked, 'that which is to give light must endure burning'. While my romantic soul shouts a resounding Yeah! my heart puts the word 'often' between 'must' and 'endure'. As far as the Frankl saying goes, there really are people in this world who have not suffered great pain and who nonetheless give great light. I've met a couple. I think it's really important not to make pain or suffering 'necessary' for transformation. As I've said before on this blog, I find that ways of talking about experience in terms of 'necessity' tend to serve as justifications for unhelpful thinking and relating. I'm more a fan of 'helpful' as a qualifier, as it invites the question 'helpful for what?'. 'Necessary' doesn't tend to invite too much exploration.


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