Today’s email is a throwback to one of our greatest hits, originally sent October 18, 2023. Enjoy 🙂

It’s October 2019, four years ago almost to the day.

I’m slumped in a chair in the middle of the Amazon jungle, halfway through what has turned into the most difficult retreat of my life.

I rock back and forth as howler monkeys cry out in the distance.

I’m sweaty, exhausted, and honestly, a little scared.

I’ve never been challenged like this, not in any of the 100+ retreats that came before.

I came here thinking I’d seen it all, but the jungle is wasting no time showing me that my journey has only just begun.

Sitting next to me is a seasoned practitioner, ten years older than I am, who really has seen it all (or at least a whole lot of it).

She tells me not to worry, that they’ve all gone through this, and I can feel the wisdom in her voice.

She’s not just offering encouragement, she’s offering the truth:

This is the path.

To reach the light you must go through the darkness; there is no other way.

Then she gives me one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever received:

“Progress is not linear.”

On this journey, getting better often feels like getting worse.

Pain is a sign of progress, because our deepest wounds must be opened before they can truly heal.

Being reborn means first we must die.

Progress is not linear.

Those words still hang in my mind like a talisman, four years later.

Today, I look back on that moment in the Amazon with overwhelming gratitude for the fire I walked through to get here.

The fire that forged who I am.

As they say in the jungle:

“The pain is the medicine.”

The pain we go through today allows us to someday help others who are going through that same pain.


This is the path.

Through the darkness is the way to the light, progress is not linear, and your pain will someday be the medicine that you give to the world.

– T

P.S. Pair today’s message with this clip about resolving emotional pain & trauma.

(see 9:15 for the first time I ever introduced “the pain is the medicine”)

“She doesn’t get to be a healer because the gods bestow powers upon her, but through the prolonged, rigorous, all-consuming struggle of her own self-healing… You don’t teleport up the mountain, you climb.” – Jed McKenna

By admin

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