Through the Pain, Into the Power

In my most recent personal post, I shared that I was feeling deep pain.  Thank you to all who reached out, in sympathy and/or curiosity.  And for those of you concerned that my pain was somehow caused by you, I assure you that unless I addressed it with you directly prior to publishing that post, it most certainly did not.  (I was surprised and somewhat disturbed by how many people asked me if they were the ones who upset me.  My intention never was to scare anyone!) 

So, back to the pain.  In my mind, there’s a ten-point scale measuring degrees of pain.  A “1” might be from stubbing my toe and then forgetting about it within a minute afterward.  A “10” would be something horribly tragic – let’s not even imagine specifics.  What I learned only recently is that even an event that in and of itself might merit a “5” on the 10 point scale can feel like a “13” if it hits at the rawest nerves, the core issues, the factory installed buttons.  That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago.

How did I handle my “13” moment?  I cried – a lot.  Now this is a brand new experience for me.  I barely cried at all during the first 3 years after my separation from my now ex-husband.  I was scared to, scared that if I started I wouldn’t be able to stop in time to take care of my kids and my business.  So I swallowed the pain.  Apparently I swallowed it along with artificially sweetened foods and beverages.  Because when I stopped eating them a month ago, the tears began to flow.  First they were over small things – a touching moment on Glee, for example.  Then my “5” happened and hit me like 13 tons of bricks.  I wailed.  I screamed.  I cursed.  I felt dark.  I talked with friends and loved ones.  I talked through the situation with the two people directly involved.  Then I wept some more.  That lasted 3 whole days.  When it was time to move through it, I went for a long walk in the pouring rain.  I bought myself a pretty little silver ring with hearts on it to remind myself I am loved.  By nighttime, I was exhausted, yawning the deepest of yawns that seemed to start at my toes.

The next day I woke up feeling physically lighter.  I remembered why I’d been sad and angry but I no longer felt physically weighed down by emotion.  And then miracles occurred.  The plumber finally showed up to clear my clogged kitchen drain pipe.  I sold my first Independent Study Program, without ever promoting it yet.  I finally figured out how to clear 20 GB off my hard drive so that my computer could run at normal speed again.  I found myself feeling ready to forgive and move forward with the 2 people who’d hurt me.  Coincidences?  I think not.

Moving through the pain, instead of blocking it, has put me on the verge of something huge.  I’m ready.

Have you been avoiding feeling?  Allow yourself to face it for more power to you.


  1. Tara

    Just read this post – there's magic in experiencing all feelings, especially when one can do so in the presence of a loving adult. Once the feelings are done- the relief comes forth and our minds are free to work again.

    I've been studying this lately and your experience is poster child for the benefits of emotional expression. Thank you for sharing.

    • Debra Woog

      Tara – yes, the witnessing! Thank you for pointing this out. Only now do I realize why I couldn't complete the process on my own – I needed loving witnesses to make it through. And I felt an embarrassment of riches with the attention of 3 people during this time. It made a world of difference.

  2. Donna

    Thank you for this truly powerful and honest post, Debra. And I think your experience is such a great example of how negative emotions that we carry with us can affect our ability to move forward, to think clearly and creatively, to attract good things to ourselves. How miraculous that after you cleared the negative emotion, so many wonderful things happened for you. I hope it only gets better from here!
    My recent post Forget Your Weaknesses, Create Extraordinary Results

  3. Gay Edelman

    Congrats on a huge accomplishment! Twenty-seven years I embarked on a journey to come into my right body by conquering the eating disorder that was eating my alive. I was bingeing my brains out to stuff feelings. So I got therapy and joined a peer support group that taught me that, yes, I have to stand still and let it hurt. AND I have to find another way to fill that hole the food was supposed to fill and didn't. For me that was developing a reliance on a power greater than myself…started with just knowing it wasn't me, and now, I can say I am often in tune with that still, small voice that is my higher power in me, as me. Hard work, the work of a lifetime, but vital. All these years later I have a healthy, slim body AND a source of strength that isn't about stuffing my feelings. So glad to meet another person on a similar journey!
    My recent post Cold Water Courage

    • Debra Woog

      Thank you, Gay. I'm right there on that journey with you. It's an imperfect ride but it sure beats the alternative.

  4. @DrSusan

    Feeling into the pain is really the only way to help it go away – hard as that is. So glad that you were able to do that, and, by sharing, will help others do the same thing. Isn't it wonderful how great gifts come in to fill up the space once the emotion is cleared?
    My recent post Family Ties and Celebrations

    • Debra Woog

      It is wonderful what gifts come as emotion clears. I certainly still have a lot more clearing to achieve. I guess that means more gifts are on their way!

  5. Susan

    Hi Debra,
    Life is a roller coaster for sure. Facing one's self and life's challenges is hard sometimes for all of us. Bravo to you for your self awareness and courage.
    My recent post Brand Interview: Mark Schwartz, High Heeled Art

    • Debra Woog

      The roller coaster is a perfect metaphor!

  6. Lynn Smith

    Congrats to you, Debra, for having the courage to allow yourself to experience this and come out the other side. You are very brave and definitely ready for something huge.


    • Debra Woog

      Thanks, Lynn! I can't wait to find out what it is. 🙂

  7. Jodi Krizer Graber

    Debra, I, too, went through years of "not feeling" my feelings with candy and chocolate. I understand completely and applaud you for taking huge steps to feel your feelings and thrive!

  8. Simone

    Wow! It sounds like rode your emotional wave beautifully.


    • Debra Woog

      Thank you, Simone!

  9. Monica

    Great post Debra!!! Way to go!!