How to turn painful memories into useful lessons

As I started yoga teacher training last month, I was overwhelmed by the strong female relationships I was forming. So many beautiful souls, making genuine connections. Caring about me and letting me care about them. I have a lot of pain around being in female groups. From past college friends, to sorority politics, and feeling left out by the cool kids. This pain comes up when I form new bonds in groups.

I wrote this stream of consciousness poem about painful memories of the past. I still feel pain, although I know they are just memories. Some have faded away with time and they still come up occasionally.

I am have climbed out of the river of memories, and I am sitting in a ship. I built this ship and I created this ship. It is supported by my memories in the river. Although they can not touch me anymore, they still support my current creation. They are part of my current reality.

My current life is an accumulation of how I interpret my past situations and lessons. When triggered with a similar situation or reminder, I see them as real. I feel them again, and the memories are real in my heart. I want to see them as lessons, instead of active pain points. I want to transmute the pain into something productive.


Instagram: KarlaCheese 

Instagram: KarlaCheese 

Memories that have faded

into the river,

now float down.

Once ruled my ship,

now are seen below.

From above

they are not so big,

not so important,

but still there,

hanging around

in the river.



This is how I dealt with each painful memory:


1. Feel it

Imagine each situation - visualizing the person who hurt me.

In my minds eye, I see the situation, and feel it.

I open up to the pain, and I let it take me to a place of pain.


2. Choose it

Instead of closing the heart, open even more.

Cry harder. Be angry. Feel small.

Open into a new way of thinking:

See the other as myself, for they are also in pain.

Two pained persons, hurting each other.


3. Let it go

In my minds eye, I wrap that person in a a gold and white light and forgive them and cleanse them of pain.

In my minds eye, I wrap myself in a gold and white light and forgive myself and cleanse myself of pain.

A long night of thinking, journaling, and crying. I feel better.


4. Fill it up

My heart still hurts, but now from a new expansion and openness, not from pain.

Gratitude for the learning.

Gratitude for the other for being a teacher.

Gratitude for myself for accepting myself as a student.

My heart is open and free.

Fill the free space with Gratitude.


I hope this gives you power to transmute your old painful memories into a neutral past experience.  


Peace, Love, and Sat Nam