Leveraging Your Deepest Wound

We’ve all been through hell in one way or another. I’ve lived 60 years and I’ve met one person, a 30-year old woman who told me nothing bad had ever happened to her. Just two months later her husband ran off with a co-worker.

Stuff happens. You know by now that it happens to all of us. Some think that our experience was so beautiful, before we came here, that we wanted to visit Earth just for the contrast.

Well folks, for now I’ve had enough contrast. How about you? Are you ready to return to bliss?

I think the doorway to bliss runs straight through the pain and understanding offered by our deepest wounds. Whatever that profound life experience was for you, you would be well served to leverage it so that you could benefit from it.

Normally when we say “it’s all good” – it’s after a big hurt when we are coming to terms with a disappointment or an outcome that at the time was devastating.

You’ve paid the price why not claim the prize?

The wilderness constantly reminds me that wholeness is not about perfection…. I have been astonished to see how nature uses devastation to stimulate new growth, slowly but persistently healing her own wounds. Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness–mine, yours, ours–need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life. Parker Palmer

Parker Palmer is a very wise teacher. He understands the value in devastation.

How about you? Are you leveraging the gift of your deepest wound or are you still running from its pain?

We don’t have to hit bottom to really learn these big lessons but it certainly gets our attention.

You could be leaving gold on the table. If this idea appeals to you just ask these three questions.

What’s good about my wound?

What has it enabled me to see that I could never have seen without it?

What message might I see if I dared look?


  1. hi tom ~

    i love this post – i totally agree that with each devastation comes a gift, if only we can be aware and open and trusting enough to hear the wisdom whispered by that gift.

    i just posted a blog that demonstrates the power of creatively responding to even the most painful experiences – a song was born from the pain my heart felt in response to the murder of a young, innocent man.

    it’s what we have left after the devastation – our power to radically respond by receiving a lesson, the great gift of wisdom, a deeper of understanding of this mysterious and beautiful life.

    thanks for the great post – here’s to devastation transformed by insight and clarity!
    ~ julie

  2. Hi Julie – Yes I can see that you get this lesson well. I visited your blog and read your post. I listened to the song and it was very moving. You have a beautiful pipes.

  3. I love this message as well. Everytime I experience some sort of devastating letdown in my life, I always make sure I make it “worth” it. Lost your job? Get a much better one. Broke up with someone? Find someone who will treat you better, and establish an even better relationship.

  4. It can also help to value what we learned or developed as a result I think.

  5. Henway – That’s a very take charge way to deal with devastation. Very powerful. God show man.

    Evan – I think so too. We must look for the value or we may repeat the experience of the devastation.

  6. After growing up in a family with incest and alcoholism, I have chosen to take those lessons, some of which were devastating at the time, and use them to reach out and help others who were also hurt and children and may still be struggling as adults. This is how I chose to take back my personal power and to turn the bad into something good to my benefit and the benefit of others. I truly believe that what doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger. Mended means stronger than the original. We don’t have to stay broken. The best gift that I got from incest is compassion for myself and for others.

  7. Hi Patricia – Yes that’s an excellent example of not only seeing the good but positively changing the world by inspirational example. Nothing really totally destroys us does it? So it really is all good even though it’s tough to see it at the time.

  8. I think the doorway to bliss runs straight through the pain and understanding offered by our deepest wounds.

    Yes, well put. This is alchemy or tantra in a nutshell.

  9. I loved the quote you shared by Parker Palmer — “wholeness is not about perfection.”

    I think a lot of people hide in personal development because it makes them feel whole and they think they have found a way to avoid pain. Then they get caught in self help ways when they become too strict in their regiment and/or beat up on themselves when they fail to meet the expectations they have set. I know because that’s what I do 🙂

    I love being able to look back on tough times and watch the light turn on when I recognize what I was learning. When I am in the middle of tough times I remind myself of this and it helps me to keep going through to the other side.

  10. Hi Duff – Welcome! Yes if it were used as a mantra at least then folks would question what good lies beneath or behind the challenge. suspect that they’d get a great lift out of that practice.

    Hi Davina – Yes if we could only stop the beating up of ourselves and the judgment that leads to it. It really is curious how we first think that we are doing something wrong rather than questioning the method first. I agree on the reflection. When I’m in a tough time I always remember the temporary nature of the challenge. It all passes and most often sooner when we look for the good. 🙂

  11. I like the way you unfolded this point. A lot of things clicked.

    I think a big pain in our life is when we have conflict with our mental models, and we explain things to ourselves in a negative way, that’s disempowering and unforgiving.

    Loss is tough. The most effective path I’ve found is enjoying the time you have with people and writing your life forward, a story at a time.

  12. Chris Edgar says:

    Hi Tom — that’s funny, I just wrote about this sort of thing as well — I’ve been realizing how much I learned about people from being a kind of lonely and withdrawn kid. I didn’t feel like I fit in, so I did a lot of observing. That was painful at the time, but I realize it gave me a lot of understanding of the human condition.

  13. Hi J. D. – Conflict with our mental models is an interesting way to see it. But noticing the conflict isn’t all bad. In many cases there is a new found power and realization there that allows us to construct even stronger models.

    Hi Chris – I read your post, must be a whole lot of pain going on. 🙂 It’s one thing that gives us credibility as coaches. Observation is a powerful practice, I agree.

  14. Hi Tom…love you & Suzanne at Vservices…
    I am seeing how all my deepest wounds were meant to be…I have become a psychic medium, I see energy patterns in physical bodies, and try to live at higher levels of awareness.Although this might sound fascinating, the road has been humbling & very difficult.
    There is only one way to view this from a higher level of awareness.We are all one, we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, and death is a door not the end!

    Namaste Deb

  15. Hi Deb, I agree. We are all one and realizing that in joyous experience is one helluva good time!

  16. Samantha Dermot says:

    Some people use their deepest wound to improve themselves. While some can’t really take the situation, they simply choose to be in a corner and think continuously that they are the most unlucky person on earth!

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