Pain Transformed: Reclaiming Breadth [Video]

by Guest Blogger December 02, 2014

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings. –Rumi


When I decided to take a solitary expedition from Seattle down the Oregon coast and into northern California, I'd been in a different place. Acutely lonesome. My focus narrowed on this particular experience, this particular feeling, pain.

In October, I finally took a week off work and started driving. In the few months since I’d decided to go, my lonesomeness had shifted. It came to feel less like isolation and more like solitude, and became lighter and lighter—getting to know new friends, being with someone who made me feel seen, a season changing. The narrowness of my vision began to open and let in light, like a pupil expanding.

I stayed a night in Portland, and then set off on two-lane highways through forest and along rocky coast, stopping at most overlooks for just a few minutes before getting on my way.

One stop in particular felt like the consummation of the place I was in when I planned this trip. An unmarked overlook along the coast somewhere in Oregon. All beige fog, the sun blocked out. I climbed down from the road onto the beach, the smooth golden-neutral sand damp everywhere, covered with less than an inch of water, the waves slowly, gently rolling in while the water around my feet pulled back.

I hung my camera strap over my shoulder and climbed the rocky hill back to the road.

Pain has a way of contracting our field of vision. But sacrificing the breadth of our experience gives us access to inner depths, which break and spill open and expand again, and as we open our vision outward, we bring the depths with us to each new encounter, and nothing is erased, only transformed, again and again.

Video: Untitled (coast) from Aubrey Allison on Vimeo. Footage by Aubrey Allison. Music by Kirill Nikolai. Edited by Kirill Nikolai and Aubrey Allison.

Guest Blogger
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