My discovery of a beautiful pain + road to radical self acceptance

It was the end of the summer and I was injured.

“No sweat,” I figured. Nothing a little yoga wouldn’t mend in a couple of days… but for some reason, it didn’t. After a massage, Acupuncture and Ayurveda  it only got worse. This had never happened to me before. I was terrified.

I had big plans. I was set to go to my friend Hagar’s wedding, take a business trip to Northern California, head to Arizona to do some yoga, fly out to New York for RHH Live and finish out in Charleston where I’m speaking at Kris Ward’s event – AY Live.

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” So true. (click to tweet this quote.)

It wasn’t the threat to my big plans that got me. It was more the timing around doing the necessary, time-consuming work on an old wound I thought I’d healed. When healing knocks you gotta listen.

Unraveling starts with the tiniest trigger.

If you’re like me, you probably ignore the little messages because you are an activator until they overtake you completely. Don’t worry. There will be a way for you to work through this. Be present within yourself. It can open you to these triggers, these places that need healing.

Clues come in all shapes and sizes.

It was not the injury that started this unraveling, but an entirely separate event.

It was time for my friend’s wedding. My body was hurting. I was dealing with worsening nausea from the pain.

Before the rehearsal dinner, I felt so sick I nearly sent my regrets to the bride and her family. Knowing panic wouldn’t solve anything, I quieted myself. I asked the pain what it wanted me to know.

I heard TRUST.

Listen to the voice inside.

Last minute something inside said, “GO!” When that happens, I listen.

At the dinner I watched both families support their children. LOVE was in the room and expanding. My heart busted open as I watched. There is nothing in the world more healing than immersing yourself in a place of good energy like that. Love and laughter are the best medicine.

Next day was the wedding. I still felt a bit woozy, but  I took it easy and felt better. Later on that night at the ceremony, more love and heart opening. I witnessed such beauty and couldn’t stop crying with joy for the families. It was magical almost like a dream.

A beautiful pain.

I still felt pain, but a new pain. It was in my heart. I know from the work I do and teach that embracing any pain, emotional or physical, is the way to heal any wound no matter how old it is.

Later that night, I looked on with the bride’s father as she danced with her sister under the dreamy spotlight. He turned to me and said “Look at those girls. They are incredible. They are wonderful people. I cannot take any credit.”

There goes another trigger.

My nausea immediately returned. My body trembled. I did everything to be in the love, and only felt more ill. The love was foreign, to me because my own father hasn’t been in the picture since I was 5.

Jung on father daughter relationships.

A mentor of mine recently mentioned described Jung’s take on father daughter relationships. The daughter’s development, whether her leanings are feminine or masculine, is a direct result of her relationship to her father. If the father is more focused on ‘masculine’ traits- accolades, accomplishments, results, then his daughter reflects them. Similarly, if he focuses on her emotions, she will exude more ‘feminine’ traits.

This one caught my attention. I remember saying “Then where does that leave me?” I barely had a father. No one asked how I felt. They wanted to know how I did.

Another trigger was set. Another clue…

HEALING is a mysterious process.

Next day I woke up feeling sick. My body ached. I was hung over emotionally. I cried and still wasn’t sure why. I was so tender.

We had one more event, a picnic in the park. I felt unbearable, was unbearable and was going to stay home. But the voice inside said “GO!”, and I listened.

My hubby said “You can stay home.”

“I have to go.” I replied. Something was moving me.

I felt as heavy as a storm cloud. My entire body was sluggish. We made it there and I just stayed quiet.

It was party after party. I wanted to partake in the joy and only could feel this heavy ache. Little did I know, its source was about to be revealed.

We were packing up food from the picnic. I watched bread being stuffed into a plastic bag and imagined it bursting, leaving crumbs and crust everywhere.

We were talking about how beautiful the ceremony was, how moved I was by her parents love for her. It was a special love I’ve always yearned for — parental love. Something I “thought” I had made peace with not having…

Suddenly, I overheard about her bachlorette party I hadn’t been invited to.

The last trigger was set.

I lost it. No more holding back. OMG! What is this? I ran to the bathroom, said I was having pain in my hip to cover it up.

The veils came down.

I tried to talk to myself to keep it cool. “NO WAY,” said my heart, “I’m letting it go.”

I walked out of the house to get some fresh air and wailed. I cried a deep pain, mourning a deep loss. I began to feel the pain and see the beauty. I began to accept what was, and stopped stuffing it into a plastic bag to seal it up.

My husband came out to comfort me and I collapsed in his arms. I could not stop this primal cry for my soul’s evolution.

We drove to the house for the wedding clean up, and I couldn’t go in. I sat and cried. Together my husband, I discovered my phantom pain.   [check out the pic of the double rainbow that was above us.]

We all have them. YES, you will be able to heal them.

I cried in his arms, my face was all snotty. Afterwards, he said “That was so beautiful. I saw your heart more than ever before.”

I felt the loss, was grieving my losses, relationships that ended and had to let it release. Once I did that, what came to the surface was something I never felt. I wanted to quit. WHAT?

I never, ever, ever want to quit.

I had to let this go, let it move through me and began to carve my way back to radical self acceptance.

Accepting my situation. Accepting everything I felt. Accepting the ugly. Accepting my wanting to give up. Accepting my pain.

This path towards a beautiful pain and radical self acceptance starts with grieving. Then you can see beauty that leads to joy. This is the way to sustainable healing. Otherwise, the triggers start on the lowest grade and move up until they break you open.

The most important part is to accept those around you. Accept how they love you. Accept what you do not have. Accept what you do have. Accept what is.

I feel blessed to have a husband and friends who I can process my deepest healing with. They provide judgement-free zone. And if I did not listen to my pain, to that voice, who knows where I would be today? The triggers that lead me to heal an old wound around my father issues, losses and struggles no longer brings me pain – it gives me a new understanding of joy.

I found the only way to heal is to go inside, even if you don’t know WTF is happening. Don’t be afraid.

If you’ve been pushing down pain from your past, not processing deep feelings, not sure of your triggers or what your phantom pain is, I would be happy to support you.

I have some slots open for you to set up a complimentary strategy session and we can begin your process to radical self acceptance.

I know how painful it is to have those triggers set off. So let’s clear you up and take time for you. It’s free of charge, and I promise you: it’s worth it.




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  1. I don’t have the proper words to express what I am feeling so I will simply send my gratitude for this wonderful post.

  2. Thank you Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! Xo

  3. What an amazing post. I can relate to your pain and how you’re in the process of healing, always. Most days, like yourself, I have more then a lil pep in my step but when those nasty trigger’s appear it can shake me up. I do my best to employ my tool box (yoga, quite time) and so on. But the tears, shame at times do resurface. However, just knowing that other empowering women have the same vibration from time to time makes me rise to the challenge. Your posts are so generous. Thank you.

  4. I have tears rolling down my face right now.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your experience with us.

    Much love to you.

  5. Thank you so much for your vulnerability, Hillary- both during this event and in sharing this story (a generous gift) with us. I believe every experience that opens up those old wounds is there to do exactly that: open them up so they can properly heal instead of being loosely patched over by the ego’s bandages. So brave of you to face that pain and move through it! Love it, thank you for sharing. xo

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Helen you are welcome. We all have them and I feel this is in the way for most women to become who they are afraid to be. Thanks for commenting. xo H

  6. Cynthia Englett says:

    What an amazingly beautiful post Hillary, you are an inspiration! 🙂

  7. What Kait said. Amplified.

  8. Wow…

    Even as I’m reading this, I can see areas in my own life where I may be holding in some feelings. I don’t have the time (right this second) to examine them, but after reading your powerful story, something tells me I need to.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hillary, I wanted to thank you again here.

    I was DRAWN to reading this post as I was just waking up this a.m. and getting my 3 year old’s hands washed and teeth blushed in the bathroom and I kept going back to my iphone to read more of your story and more of your story.

    I love that you shared this and I love and respect how you worked with your pain and old triggers in such a real, powerful and essential way. We all have our own versions of this and we need to know how to follow the triggers and feel it fully so we can come out the other end and move forward with more love and acceptance for what we had, did not have, what we have now and how we want to continue living our lives to the fullest degree.

    And, I am So happy you found your husband and he found you, what a gift you are to each other. Thank you, thank you for doing this work and bringing it to the world!

  10. Beautiful. Real. Raw. So flippin’ honest. And very well written.

    Thank you for sharing this. I have so much opening up with my father right now, it’s very apropos.

    Much love,

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thanks KC! Keep me posted on what is going on with you. This happened around the time we connected on the upper limit issue — I see there is something deeper we need to heal in order to be that more realized woman. xo Hillary

  11. Such a powerful story – it reminded me about the pain I felt at various times in my life for the exact same reason.
    Thanks for sharing.
    xx Denise

  12. So precious, Hil. What a courageous share. I was right there with you. Brilliant writing. So excited to give you a huge hug soon!

  13. Hillary, I felt compelled to leave you a comment and let you know that I found your story very moving. I have so much respect for who you are and what you do. Your honesty is inspiring! ~ Scott

  14. Hey Hilary!

    Wow, the rawness and openness of your writing really tugged at my heart! Thanks for showing us how being vulnerable and fully experiencing our pain is the first step to move beyond it. I can relate to both your experience with denying physical pain and the healing necessary in the father-daughter relationship.

    Hugs to you!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Hey Marion! Going deep and raw really moves mountains. Love to hear more of what you learned from the experience. Hugs to you too! Hillary

  15. Oh Hillary…Hillary…Hillary…

    I feel you! I am about to write in my blog about how we are living in the land of “the big spin.” Nobody just owning their fears and pain or even sometimes their joy they just “spin” another story around it. So glad you are keeping it real sistah!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thanks Lisa! Please send me a link to your post, can’t wait to read it. My pleasure — R E A L is the only way. xo

  16. Hillary, although I knew what you went through prior to reading this, I seriously teared up several times reading it in your words. You’re moving people woman. Thanks for sharing your pain…because they become gifts to others…little reassurances to other people dealing with buried pain.


    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thanks Anne for being there and commenting. It’s from the heart and of the heart which I feel is the only way to heal and be real. xo H

  17. Hillary,
    This is a very moving post. Your writing of the experience too me right there with you. And I too have been working with releasing some very deep wounds and seeing it all, even when it is painful. Thank you so much for your inspiration!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Susan thanks for stopping by! glad you are releasing those wounds, be gentle through the process. You are welcome love, glad to be on the journey with you. 🙂

  18. In admiration of the rawness of your post. I too have had father issues and only realized it after he had a massive stroke. He is still alive, for the record, which is how I found out my fear. He is in a nursing home, in a wheelchair, and his speech is incoherant. He is however, very happy. It is when I visit him and he shows any amount of disapproval that triggered me. I thought it was a natural feeling. It was not. I dug and dug and did self hypnosis and had my colleague do hypnosis on me and realized I was scared shitless of my dad. How could that be? I dealt with this I thought (much like you)……so needless to say, I get it. I think the most confusing for me initially was how could I be fearful of someone who is literally unable to harm me? But I get it….
    Thank You for sharing.

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