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It occurred to me last year that you cannot heal pain without first feeling pain, cannot heal suffering without first suffering yourself. With this understanding I have let myself feel, richly and deeply, for perhaps the first time since I was a young child. I flung open the gates, unlocked the portcullis, and let what was outside come in. At first it was liberating, exciting even. Then, as the months carried on, it grew increasingly painful, ultimately terrifying. I began to experience panic attacks. This was completely new to me! This week, perhaps exacerbated by the extreme heat that blanketed my region, I felt something in me break. Perhaps break is not the correct word. I felt something inside me give way, and in giving way I learned something about myself that I never realized. I cannot do it alone. I need others. This may sound obvious, but it was not to me, far from it. I've always been stoic, a real stiff upper lip kind of guy. I've always felt that I could reason my way through life, through all challenges before me. And I always looked down upon the emotional and saw them as weak. I was wrong on both counts. Reason and stoicism do not make you strong. Emotion and feeling do not make you weak. It is the balance that brings strength. It is the balance that heals. The road is long and the trek is hard. I still feel pain and the pain still carries suffering, but I feel I have finally crested the hill and I can see the blessed water in the distance.