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~ Avoiding Pain ~

This past week has been pretty awful. Probably my worst of the year. Well-played 2021, well-played.

Since Christmas Day, I have barely left my house.

I have barely been outside.

I have not touched my skis or snowshoes.

I have gained five pounds.

I had days where I could barely talk or eat.

No baths. No hot drinks.

All because of a dying tooth.

I had a week off from clients and being in the studio and was not able to do anything that I had planned. All that time on the couch certainly made way for reflection and introspection. Is this really what the universe needed to do to make me slow down? Ouch.

My prayer for 2021 goes something like, “Thank you, I love you, now there’s the door. Get the fuck out.”

Another incredibly challenging year in the rear view mirror. Truly though, 2021 was also incredibly transformative for me and I have a lot of gratitude for all that transpired to get me right here. Even the parts of me that are feeling angry and resentful.

The start of this year saw me in a situation that was in no way right for me. I knew it wasn’t right for me. And yet, I chose to stay in it and ride it out to “see what happens.”

(Spoiler alert: a train wreck. That’s what always happens when we wait and see what happens in something that we know is not true for us.)

I opened my heart and my home and gave trust in places where it was not deserved. All of you empaths out there are nodding your heads. We have all went down this road where we see the good in people and want to believe in them so we give way more of ourselves than is warranted.

This is a deep pattern for me. Deep roots. Something I have been working on for a long time. And like the onion, layer after layer, this past year got me to the core.

As I look back, I knew that I had been there before.

Different people.

Different actors.

Different set.

Same. Fucking. Story.

There were no shortages of red flags.

My gut said no.

My head said no.

My heart said no.

And I proceeded anyway.

I consciously chose it.

I convinced myself, like so many times in the past, that “good enough for now” was ok.


I am grateful for that choice I made because it was a catalyst that I needed. It was a final nail in a coffin that helped me put a past pattern and cycle to rest once and for all.

And this week, as I lay in agony on the couch, deeper questions arose.

Why do I choose paths of suffering?

Why do my lessons have to be so hard?

As I witness myself and others, we all do this. Why?

For me, it’s avoidance.

There’s a self in there that grabs a hold of the mind and heart and convinces the rest of me that it’s best to take the path that avoids pain. Sometimes the truth feels too hurtful to speak. The consequences of some choices are too hard to face. So stay where there is less pain.

What a fallacy.

Avoidance of pain often, if not always, leads to greater pain.

Read that again.

Case in point, my tooth.

I knew I had a cavity in that tooth. Not a big deal, really. But I avoided getting it fixed because I created a story in my head about how awful going to the dentist would be.

I have a hard time in the dentist chair. Part of that comes from three years of braces, having four teeth extracted for said braces, and then having all four wisdom teeth surgically removed.

I don’t like the dentist on a good day. Then you add in all the extra nonsense happening in the world. I created a great story for myself to avoid getting the cavity fixed right away.

Then in September, my tooth started to fall apart. So I had no choice but to make the call and sit in the chair. And an inexperienced dentist trying to help me avoid a root canal gave me a filling that literally struck a nerve and set off this whole sequence of events.

After the filling, I had pain that was not there prior. Back to the dentist I went. She guessed that it was infected and gave me antibiotics. After trying many things, I reluctantly took the antibiotics under the guidance of my naturopath. It didn’t fix the problem.

Back to the dentist for the third time. She guessed that it was still infected and gave me another antibiotics prescription and recommended a root canal. And proceeded to tell me that although she had never done a root canal on that particular tooth before, it “should” be ok.

That’s when I called a specialist in Calgary. They informed me that the issue was not infection. There was nerve damage and my tooth was dying as a result. They couldn’t schedule my root canal until the new year, but explained that once the tooth completely died, the pain would ease.

I never imagined how insanely painful that process would be. I gave birth twice naturally. I have had epic mountain bike wipeouts and continued to ride out my day. I had a gallbladder infection, emergency surgery, and an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. My pain tolerance is high. And the pain of this tooth dying over the last few days was something I could hardly bear.

All I could think was that I would not be in this pain had I not avoided fixing the tooth in the first place.

My avoidance of pain led me to greater pain.

What a mind-blowing metaphor for this year. For this lifetime.

Just how many times have I attempted to avoid pain only to land in a place of deeper pain?

Hard lessons learned.

So universe, in the words of the ho'oponopono prayer, “I’m sorry, please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

No more hard lessons for this gal. No more paths of suffering.

From this day forward, no more. Hear me self, this I promise.

So my wish going into this New Year…

May we all:

Shine our light into the darkest of places.

Have hard conversations.

Make hard choices.

Show up in the hardest of places.

Open our minds.

Open our hearts.

And call in the abundance of love, peace, joy, and prosperity that is our birthright.

In the words of Sugarland, “I ain't settling for just getting by. I've had enough so-so for the rest of my life. Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high. Just enough ain't enough this time. I ain't settling for anything less than everything.”

Cheers everyone.

Here’s to a new year of reaching deeper and rising higher.

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