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scar_quoteOut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Khalil Gibran

As human beings we avoid suffering and pain. It is natural that we are drawn to comfort and security. However, pain is inevitable. Buddha stated this directly when he is said life is suffering. However, Buddha also stated that suffering, and life is impermanent. All of life, all beings are in a state of change. We are always in a transition. When we cling to the past, or what life should be we become attached to the illusion of permanence. Life is not permanent. It is constantly changing. It is filled with happiness, with loss, with broken hearts, with love, with joy, and with tears. We are an embodiment of all of these experiences, a walking billboard of scars and beauty marks highlighting a life that has been lived, journey’s that have been taken.

Yet we hide these scars denying they are part of us, somehow telling the world that we are fine that life is always OK. We talk about the weather and we play reasonable and safe. We use words like someday, and never again, and I need to protect myself. We play the game of looking good to the outside world while we suffer inside, constrained in our self expression and our love. We hide our scars to the outside world but carry the wound with us everywhere, letting it impact how we live, how we experience the world around us. We keep people at a distance so they do not see our scars, only the mask of illusion we wear to tell the world that our perceived life works. In turn we do not let anyone in, nor are we part of another’s world. We play this dance of permanence and illusion, as if to showcase only the highlights of our lives.

It took me a long time to embrace my scars. Literally and metaphorically. I did a face plant into a broken milk glass when I was 2 years old which resulted in over a hundred stitches and multiple follow up operations to the area next to my left eye. I was immediately self-conscious, but then my first girlfriend in 5th grade took this to a new level. Upon our breakup she tore off the puka shell necklace I had bought her scattering the beads across the playground and followed me back to class pulling her left eye down and calling me scar face. It took me many girlfriends before I would allow one to stand or sit to the left side of my face. I would wear sunglasses inside to hide my scar, my perceived weakness. This seemed so real then, so threatening. I was so concerned in looking good as if others would not accept my differences.

Thinking about this now is humorous to me. Our scars and experiences make us who we are. These are our individual imprints that tell the world we have lived, that we in this current body experienced life. It is easy to hide, to sit alone on a couch with what if, and someday, and if only thoughts filling our existence. Our lives flash by safe and secure as if a beautiful sailing ship never left the dock. We long for freedom, we long to let the wind rip into our sails while we crest the wave and then dip into the dark unknown. This is life. This is full self expression.

Embrace your scars. Embrace all of it. Fail as many times as you can because it is in these failures, these scars that you are pushing life to the fullest. Our scars do not define us. They are gifts of experience. They are roadmaps of character and courage. As Khalil Gibran stated ‘the most massive characters are seared with the most scars.’ Live fully, put yourself out there. Love with all of your heart even if it is broken. Experience life to the fullest.

For in the end we are simply a traveler passing through and each and every moment is perfect and exactly as it is meant to be. Every moment is a gift and every scar worth embracing and showing to the world.

I bow to the divine in you. You are beautiful and I love you.

Be well. Be Love.

Call to Action:

      • Embrace your scars. Embrace all of it. Live your life to the fullest. Let the world into your experiences.
      • Fail. Keep making your plate bigger. If you are not failing you are playing safe in this world.
      • Put your heart out and keep putting it out. Every heart break is a gift, a scar to embrace.

Thomas D. Craig

Author A Cup of Buddha

Seeker. Adventurer. Warrior