I saw this week’s #ClarityGem embroidered onto a wall hanging at a silent retreat (Yes, this is a thing. It’s a place where Kristen and I go every once in a while to be purposefully silent for hours. It’s like a glorious vacation of the mind. It also allows me to temporarily live out my childhood dream of being a nun from The Sound of Music, which I understand was a very un-cool ambition, but what can you do?). It rocked my world.






I was struggling when I went to that silent retreat. I’d been in a funk for a while and was exasperated with myself. All I wanted was to feel better, and I was annoyed that I couldn’t lift myself out of the rut.

And then I saw this on the wall, and I immediately thought, “The pain of becoming … what exactly?”

I’ve pondered it a lot, and here’s what I think:

There’s a lot of pain involved in becoming who you really are … the pain of having to choose between what’s right, and what’s easy; the pain of telling people what you really think; the pain of confronting truths about yourself that you haven’t admitted before … it goes on and on, and it all hurts.

But that struggle is essential to joy, because the ability to experience deep and lasting happiness depends completely on how much you’ve made peace with who you are. And we must go through that struggle to find that peace.

So instead of rebelling against the pain — instead of suppressing it, avoiding it, or clamming up about it — it’s OK to feel it.

Getting to a place of being truly you hurts, no doubt about it. But if the pain of becoming is essential to the joy of being, then all is well because you’re in pain, not in spite of it. It means you’re on the right track.

And if you can accept the painful stuff as “part of the process,” then your demeanor softens a bit. You get calmer, and you slowly learn to see the purpose in everything … even the pain.

twitter-bird The pain of becoming is essential to the joy of being. –Jean Vanier #ClarityGems

How is this #ClarityGem sitting with you today? Leave us a comment on to let us know!


Sometimes it’s just better to avoid long blog posts and cut straight to the point!

Think of #ClarityGems as your weekly shake of the good ‘ole Magic 8 Ball … you never know what might bubble up and how it might be exactly what you need to hear today.

And instead of just a beautiful, inspirational, and shareable image (which is a nice start), we’re giving you some quick thoughts about how to interpret it … because inspiration without action is pretty, but kind of anti-climatic.

Tweet it, share it on Instagram, or forward it along to someone who needs to hear it today … and tag us (@ClarityonFire) to let us know how this Gem is inspiring you!

Much Love,

Rachel + Kristen

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