The Deepest Pain Can Lead to the Greatest Ecstasy

The Deepest Pain Can Lead to the Greatest Ecstasy

About a year ago, I went hiking and unknowingly sat down for lunch on a rock near poison oak. That night I thought I’d gotten a few mosquito bites that were itchy, but a couple of days later, my right buttock and thigh looked like hamburger meat and itched like it was on fire! A few spots on my jaw cherry-topped the event.

I was in pain, on fire, and had oozing, seeping wounds for 3 weeks. I saw a blog article that said using a diaper on the wound was a great way to soak up the ooze, so my husband (I mean, wow! Bless him!) was putting cut diapers on the areas with extra tape so that I could sleep through the night without soaking through the sheets. OMG! This was one of the craziest things I’d experienced.

And then something amazing happened when I took a hot shower. The sensation of the hot water, shooting on my wounds felt SO FREAKING GOOD. I turned it as hot as it would go and used the handheld shower head on the setting that forced out the water as vigorously as it would go. And when I held that hottest heat-highest pressure on my wounds, it was PURE ECSTACY. I mean, this was the greatest pleasure I had ever known! The sheer relief. The cessation of itchy pain. It made every single cell tingle with relief and pleasure in a way that I had never experienced before. And I mean never.


The greatest discomfort and pain had led to the greatest ecstasy I had ever known.

Something similar happened at a gathering with friends recently. For the last 7 years, we’d come together once a month for meditation, food, wine, and great conversation around an outdoor fire afterward. When one of my friends asked me what was new with me, I shared that I was fired up and feeling my warrior spirit. A woman had just been murdered in Iran for not wearing her hijab, and their parliament was calling for the death sentence for 15,000 protestors. I was also feeling inspired by Vandana Shiva, physicist, activist, and author who is bringing to light the agenda of big pharma, big agriculture and its destruction of local farmers in India. I wanted to volunteer my time doing admin for a couple of hours a week to support the changes that I want to see, to stand for FREEDOM, which is one of my biggest values. I did not want to protest, but rather RALLY for the changes that I want to see in the world. And I expressed wanting to volunteer to do that.

Well, my spiritual friends did not like this. Each of them went around in a circle saying the following:

“Why don’t you bring back ‘Kelli Light’? The light has gone out in your eyes.”

“You need to do a soul retrieval.” (one friend whispered to my husband), “I think there are 5 retrievals that she needs.”

“Maybe there is dark energy there to be released.”

“I think it’s some past-life energy stuff coming up. We can look at that and release it.”

“I have a great heart meditation. Want me to play it right now? It’s really good.”

Wow. As I am writing this, it sounds like a sitcom. I may write another article next about this, “Spiritual Bypassing: A Cause for Inaction.” Even though I truly believe it was all out of care and concern for me, it felt like I was being ganged up on. That I was not allowed to feel upset with what was going on in the world, and should not want to do something to make it better. It was suggested by one person that I focus on the teachings of Abraham Hicks and just focus on me feeling better.

I am not one to cry easily, but I started crying.

I was reminded of a story I heard about the Babemba tribe in South Africa. When someone did something wrong in the tribe, “All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.”

Only I felt this IN REVERSE! It seemed like everyone put me in the middle of the circle to tell me what was wrong with me!

But then something amazing happened. One friend walked around our group, sat down right next to me, and hugged me so tightly. Or maybe it was me hugging her so tightly!!!! I know that I was hanging on for dear life. She told me in my ear, “It’s okay. You’re okay. Everything is going to be okay.” She repeated it a few times. I felt her pure love and care for me, a fellow human being, in that moment. I had never been so seen, heard, or understood as I was at that moment. It felt like pure love and acceptance to feel that it was okay for me to have thoughts and feelings that were different from the group. She loved me anyway. I felt that love and acceptance so completely.

In one night I experienced such ostracization. It felt so bad. And a moment later, due to the unconditional love of a friend, I experienced the deepest, purest feeling of love and acceptance than I ever had in my life. The contrast was awe-inspiring. I think that ultimately it was worth it to be ganged up on, to then get to feel the deep, heartfelt acceptance that followed. Would I have experienced it without the preceding event? I don’t think so!

Every harmful experience comes with a greater capacity for deeper feeling, understanding, and wisdom. Often, on the other side of pain, is a relief that is equal to or greater than the experience.

If we look closely, most times we will find that our most painful experiences lead to our greatest outcomes. We gain fortitude and resilience, we may ask for help, or sometimes receive help unexpectedly. In hindsight, most things make sense. We come to understand with wisdom what was not available to us previously.

What do you think? Has this been your experience too?

If this resonated with you, please share it with someone who needs to hear it.

Remember. You are loved. You are okay. Everything is going to be okay. Big, tight hug coming your way right now. 




Kelli Russell
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    Posted at 01:24h, 06 December Reply

    Beautiful story.
    I hear what you say – I can not immediately pull a set Iliad theme
    I will briefly talk about 2 experiences that may not fit exactly with your theme but they do for me so I assume that counts- for me anyway ‘I’ve are simple but for the picture.
    ((1) the first is that I’ve worked in hospitals for a long time. I was ahead of the childbirth education department at one medical center. I love teaching childbirth classes. I had my four children at the time where you had kids without medication. Epidurals have been utilized. I will say that I’ve had no greater experience than the great hours of more pain than you can imagine. Then the hours convert to the joy of pushing, and suddenly the thrill and ecstasy of having your baby born.
    And I heard about that time and time again for my tit the teachers were under me in the students

    (2) this is a general category and it’s something that all of us experience and it’s all a matter of awareness. I’ll delete my latest example is that I had a bad cold and I’ve just gotten over it for a week and a half. I had no smell no taste neither one was available to me both since his were gone. I was concerned at first it could’ve been Covid, but it wasn’t so I live with it and I couldn’t taste anything I ate, so I ate less and that wasn’t the worst thing but I wondered if I would ever get it back and I saw how much richer it was to eat when you could taste what you were eating it made it so exhilarating when suddenly I ate a fruit strip a few days ago a strawberry fruit strip dried fruit strip, and I could taste it because of the sugar in it I could taste it and it was so exciting and it was so I so appreciated being able to do that being normal for me. Since then my taste has come back little by little, and I appreciate the taste of food hundred percent more than I did to never have that I had never lost my taste. So those are my two examples.

    The second was like when you’re sick and all you want to do is be well and you forgot to be grateful every day for when you feel good that you remember that some after your sick. We would all do better to remember it every day.

    • Kelli Russell
      Posted at 21:18h, 06 December Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. Yes, the contrast is so powerful, isn’t it? And a good reminder to appreciate wellness when we have it (rather than missing it when it’s absent). WoW! Four childbirth experiences of your own, and you helped so many other families as well.

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