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THE FIRST LETTER – HOW TO HANDLE PAIN
in the deep black sky
even though a million miles apart
the sun still finds a way
to bring light to the moon,
and you expect me
to leave you in this darkness?
I Won’t !!
I see you trying hard to cover up your pain, to pretend it doesn’t hurt to breathe. That, with every beat of your heart, your chest aches and tears burn deep down in your throat. It doesn’t matter if you saw it coming or not; it hurts. The pain feels so deep, so primal, that you don’t know if you will survive it. I understand that emotional pain hurts as deeply as physical pain, and I know you are trying to make it through this swamp of icy-cold fear. This fear threatens to shut you down forever and the pain threatens to drown you. I see you trying to control the pain, gasping for air, drowning in this pool of despair, but I also see you far too comfortable being alone, suffering through this.
You are drowning, drowning in emotion, drowning in a tide of what you feel you cannot control. I know you understand that peace is on the shore and that the shore is within reach, but like those drifting out to sea, those who are consumed in the moment, you are panicking. Terrified that you will never breathe again, that you will be dragged under once again, and some invisible force will take hold of you and pull you out so deep that the shore will no longer be an option. I understand the emotions and feelings that are causing you pain are like waves washing over you. They pull you under, overwhelm you, tire you out until you feel nothing but exhaustion. I see you with the lifebuoy in your hand, your will to live slowly extinguishing while you decide whether floating in this sea of pain will be easier than the effort it will take to get you to shore. I am waiting there for you with a blanket of love to wrap you in tightly. I am with you even when you finally decide that the comfort of the shore requires too much effort. When you choose to hold on to your pain, not realizing that it is the one thing that both keeps you afloat and threatens to eventually drown you.
I see you suspended in your loneliness, choosing to wallow in your pain rather than swim to shore. Your friends call out to you from the shore; they reassure you that you do not need to face the pain alone anymore. And I see you turn your back on them, crying in shame, deeply uncomfortable with what is happening. I know that you fear both the safety of their support and the comfort of being alone. I see the tears flow down your cheeks but you have become so used to the pain that you fear no longer feeling it. Your eyes beseech me; they ask why I do not swim out to you, why I do not ease your pain and help you through your exhaustion while I guide you to the shore. The thing is, I know that you shouldn’t go into the water with someone who is drowning. Your sheer panic and desperate need to be saved may drown both of us while I seek to pull you ashore. So I have thrown you the lifebuoy, dear students, and I am here, comforter in hand.
Right now, you need to start kicking, not to keep afloat, but to propel yourself to the shore. I will be here, helping to pull you in. I will listen to your cries of pain and I will weep with you, but together, we will find solutions and you will keep swimming to shore. I will call out instructions: Stop swimming, put your feet down. You are waist-deep, almost there. Keep talking to me and I will help you find the positives, the reasons you should allow yourself to be healed. Keep wading through the pain; knee-deep now, you are almost there. I am here, affirming that your pain is real but helping you find incentives to keep moving towards the shore. Ankle-deep, you no longer need the lifebuoy. Let go of that which caused you this horrible, intense pain, and allow it to drift back out to sea without you. Keep your eyes on me; don’t look back. Remember the pain but do not allow it to take you back in. Find comfort in me and in your friends.
I will wrap my blanket of positive affirmations around you and together we will create warmth. Together we can acknowledge your pain but affirm that there are solutions. I will encourage you to write down all the things that are causing you pain and help you find peace. But first you must acknowledge that although the negative emotions were not caused by you, staying adrift in an ocean of pain was your choice because you were comfortable there, and that you understand you can never be comfortable in your pain again.
Know that if you ever find yourself drifting out, away from the shore again, I will be here for you. And when you are safe and no longer drowning, I will be here to help you recover. To help restore your positive energy and pull you through this so that one day you may also help others who are drowning. All you have to do, dear students, is start. Kick. Swim to shore. I am waiting for you. I will help you; just start.
Your new beginning awaits.
Dr. Sudhanshu Bhusan
Professor JK Business School