A Ritual for Honoring Pain

I’ve been at kind of a loss as to how I should proceed with my blog.

I love writing and I love sharing my journey – and I also feel like what I’ve been posting lately (when it isn’t poetry) has been really preachy and leans toward oversharing rather than actual vulnerability. (Thanks to Brené Brown for that little nugget of wisdom.)

So I’m going to try a different approach.

I’m at a place in my life where I need to focus on healing. I have amazing things ahead of me – I’ll be starting seminary next year and I have a lot of other new and exciting opportunities in the works. I am thrilled for where I am going, and I also really need to deal with some of the painful things that have happened up until now.

The thing is, I’m going to be two years sober in July, but I’ve barely begun to address the reasons why I drank in the first place.

Those reasons are many and complex and hard to wrap my mind around, and there are reasons why I need healing that have come about since I stopped drinking. While I know the world can and will not stop for me to heal, I can make a space to honor my pain and work through it a little bit at a time.

“During the stages of crisis, awakening and reclaiming your life, it’s important to make friends with your pain. Though you don’t have to invite it to take up residence forever, it can be very helpful to give it a respected place in your home for a little while.”
-Rev. Carol Bodeau, The Mystic’s Map

I’ve read a lot of sources that have that same message of honoring pain, but not necessarily any instructions on how to do so, so I created a ritual to help me honor my pain.

A Ritual for Honoring Pain

Recommended Materials:
-A quiet place
-Lighter or matches
-Sage or palo santo
-Two different colored pens

Optional Materials:
-Music or nature sounds
-Healing crystals of your choice*
-A blanket or other comfort item

*I recommend rose quartz or smoky quartz – just be sure to pair the smoky quartz with selenite or charge it in the sunlight after for cleansing

1. Choose one thing to be sad, angry, or hurt about.
2. Go to your quiet place and set the intention that you will focus on that one thing.
3. Light the candle.
4. Write for as long as you want or need about your chosen topic.
5. When you feel you are finished, take a moment to pause.
6. Take the second color pen and write yourself a short blessing or prayer about this pain.
7. Read the prayer back to yourself and close the notebook.
8. Thank your pain for what it has taught and will teach you.
9. Light the sage or palo santo by the flame of the candle.
10. Blow the candle out and bless your aura and your space with the sage or palo santo.

Repeat ritual daily or however frequently it is needed.

I did this ritual today and found it to be really cathartic. I plan to make it a regular practice. It seems like a lot of steps, but the whole thing took less than 15 minutes.

I chose to do my writing in front of the altar I keep in my room. An altar is just a space that you keep sacred. My altar has some flowers, incense, candles, angels, and a chalice because I am a Unitarian Universalist. The box my chalice sits on belonged to my great-grandmother. I try to keep the space free of things like laundry, miscellaneous papers, toy cars, and my cell phone. I also keep my crystals here, and the flowers on the window are flower crowns I’ve worn and dried.


The candle burning in the photo above is one I light when I am writing. The one I used for the ritual is a purple reiki-charged candle that I picked up at Yellow Sky Emporium. I chose to cleanse my space and aura with white sage, which I keep alongside palo santo in this beautiful lotus votive holder that was a gift from my friend Christi.


I’d like to stress that while I consider myself a writer, you do not have to in order to make use of this ritual. I am sharing my experience with it so that others can use it or pieces of it for themselves. If any part of it does not work for you, please change it to suit your needs! This is the blessing I wrote with my ritual today.


I plan to honor my pain through this ritual daily for now, and maybe less frequently in the future. I’m also incorporating a life coach and regular reiki sessions into my self-care routine starting Monday, and making a very intentional effort to slow down in general. A dear friend sent me a post this week that said, “You’ve come so far – it’s ok for you to rest” and I intend to do a lot of that right now.

As for the blog, I don’t expect many posts for a while. Maybe some poetry or short reflections, but I’m going to make a significant effort to be present for myself, my son, and my other loved ones as much as possible, which will mean less time staring at computer or phone screens.

I am so excited for what’s to come, and so relieved to be taking what time I can to focus on healing so that I might be as well as possible for my next adventures.

Blessed be.

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