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Writing Prompt: Tending the Pain Garden

Have you ever met someone who seems addicted to their own pain?

Trauma may be what they know, or feel most comfortable with. Familiarity can be a false love – which is how we can become accustomed to keeping and tending our own little pain garden. Just like weeds, the stories in our pain garden are familiar, insidious, and help hold together the plot (as in story or the land we sow).

It is why people joke around that “they married their mother” or why adult children of alcoholics sometimes unconsciously choose a partner with similar unpredictable behaviors in their adult life – it may be bad, but it is what feels comfortable.

Imagine your pain as a 3 x 5 garden – what is in there? The red poppies of thwarted desire, the desiccated vines of hunger? The showy roses of damaged pride? In mine, I have the controlling trellises of perfectionism.

Writing Prompt: After imagining your pain garden, see what could grow there instead that is more nourishing. When you next feel the pain of unrequited desire, consider creating a new story to take its place.

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