‘Ice to Water, Water to Steam’
It's a technique for releasing pain, courtesy of Jamie Catto

Permission to Hurt

Note: I am going through a rough time right now, for reasons I don’t want to share because they will totally expose me as the complete loser I really am.
So… I’m giving myself permission to hurt. It’s the one thing helping me keep it together. Hope it helps you as well.

‘Ice to Water, Water to Steam’ It's a technique for releasing pain, courtesy of Jamie Catto
‘Ice to Water, Water to Steam’
It’s a technique for releasing pain, courtesy of Jamie Catto

You have permission

Permission to hurt.
Permission to want to deny the hurt.
Permission to not want to acknowledge the hurt.
Permission to want the hurt to not be there in the first place.
Permission to want everything to be different.
Permission to believe nothing will ever be different, ever.
Permission to want to be done already with this hurt.
Permission to throw a temper tantrum and cry your eyeballs out.
Permission to not know why you’re hurting.
Permission to believe stupid things that make the hurt worse, but which you can’t stop believing right now.
Permission to want to be on your own for a while.
Permission to not have to explain the hurt to anyone, not even yourself.
Permission to acknowledge the hurt and let the pain flow out of you.

Space to Hurt

There are few “spaces” in our world where it’s ok to hurt.

Remember me crying my eyeballs out at a church? (Yeah, churches are cool like that.)

What are “spaces”?

The world of spiritually inclined self-help talks a lot about “space” and “building space”. But what is it?

“Space” to feel pain, is a time and a place where it’s OK by you (and ideally by others as well) to feel pain. Essentially, we’re talking about times when it’s ok to cry.

Example. After tragedy strikes, people are usually quite understanding. They won’t judge you for needing to cry and be on your own. And they won’t try to “talk you out of it”. There’s “space” to feel sad for a while.

Another, for me, is arriving to a different country after a huge flight. I need space to collapse, cry, break down, and essentially do nothing for a few days. This space is “non negotiable”. I need it. I can’t be “talked out of it”. And, as you can imagine, our society is not so understanding about people needing this kind of “space”.

We are expected to “keep going” and “work hard”. Indefinitely. Which is impossible.
Eventually people break down. (The more sensitive break up sooner.)

The key to avoid this? Building up space where it’s ok to hurt.
And the key to building that space? Permission.

Give yourself permission to hurt

And give yourself time for the pain to flow out of you.

You can try picturing your pain as a “block” of ice in your body, and using this technique I learned from Jamie Catto:

The genius Taoists constantly give their full presence to scanning their whole body, locating any blocked or hard-to-describe discomforts, whereupon they say ‘Ice to Water, Water to Steam’ and literally use their imagination to SEE that place dissolve and the steam leave their body.

So, to summarise…

  • Give yourself permission to hurt
  • Create a space where it’s ok to hurt
  • Then work with the hurt to release it

Ice to water, water to steam…
Let the pain flow out of you…