“Maybe that’s where you put your pain.”   

This past weekend swirled with activity. My children, their friends, and I went to the beach on Saturday to enjoy time together before my daughter flew back to Korea.   

Jesse and Elya, Malibu Beach


Then we ate dinner before taking Elya to the airport. I walked away from my precious daughter watching her wipe tears from her eyes. My heart ached inside as I resisted the compulsion to run back for one more hug. Even happy times precede sad partings.   

Elya, Jesse, Monique, and Josiah


Recently, I noticed the connection between my tendency to overwork and my attempts to deal with emotional pain. I wondered why I could not be like other people who are quite happy with going to work and coming home to watch television. On the weekends, they celebrate, purely and simply.   

In contrast, I always have a dozen projects going while I envision a different future than my present reality. My tendency to do this perplexed me so I asked myself a series of questions in an attempt to understand:   

“JoDee, why can’t you be like other people and accept your present career? Why do you always push yourself for more? What’s with these crazy dreams of becoming a published writer?”   

The immediate thought that answered was, “Maybe that’s where you put your pain?”   

“WOW! I thought that was pretty profound.   

Yes, I have noticed that pain never stops as we go through life. Throughout my years spent recovering and rebuilding, veins of pain marbled the muscle of my efforts. Training to become a teacher and working hard at mastering the craft encompassed a fifteen-year process riddled with pain. Travail, sweat, call it want you want but I call it pain. Now I embrace the pain of having my children far from me as they travel the world.   


Yet the common vein that always parallels my pain is the exercise of writing in order to put my pain somewhere. Writing enables me to grieve on paper and transform my despair into activities that benefit others.   

My latest read


Up until the 19th century, doctors practiced bloodletting. “Bloodletting (or blood-letting) is the withdrawal of often considerable quantities of blood from a patient to cure or prevent illness and disease.   


I want to create a new term I call painletting. With painletting, we use writing to drain away those agonizing feelings that threaten to disease us with bitterness. Then, we transform our sadness into hope for others. We create projects and purposes that can change our world.   

10 Replies to “Painletting”

  1. What an interesting moment of self-realization! Could writing also be what brings you happiness now? Maybe it was teaching for awhile, but now your interests are slowly transforming.


    1. Amanda,

      Reading your insight made my heart momentarily stop. I think you wrote what I fear is happening but don’t quite know how to reconcile. Although I am still passionate about helping youth with literacy, maybe writing is my destiny.


  2. Love this JoDee: “the common vein that always parallels my pain is the exercise of writing in order to put my pain somewhere. Writing enables me to grieve on paper and transform my despair into activities that benefit others.” And painletting makes so much sense… I think you’re on to something!


    1. Cheryl,

      Thank your for the complement, both for my daughter and for me. Knowing that you found meaning in my musings touches me. What a gift to have other writers that appreciate the experience of writing and truly relate with what I’m trying to describe.


  3. Painletting? What a concept. I think I can relate it to myself as well–worth some reflection this week.

    I see your drive and never being satisfied as a positive and not the sign of one lost.


  4. Brilliant! Again! Love the painletting concept. Parallels to bloodletting are fascinating – pain has to be directed out, we have to be careful not to infect others with the results and above all to know when to stop “letting”. I think that as we must have blood in our body we need a little pain in our soul. Its what makes me able to recognize and respond to the pain and needs of others, and reminds me to avoid causing pain to others.

    Now, about the marbling. I first thought of the beautiful and expensive stone. But then being a former 4-H Beef leader and lover of premium beef I thought of the desirable marbling in meat that gives it the best flavor and tenderness. The quest of all breeders is to produce the best marble-to-muscle ratio. So it is with our hearts.

    Well done.


    1. Izzie and Linda, WOW! Your comments deserve the attention of a post featuring your insights. Do you have a problem with that? I had the meat metaphor in mind when I wrote the post but did not know about the marble-to-muscle ratio. Excellent!


  5. Painletting. Brilliant, JoDee. I don’t know many people who go to work, come home to tv, and celebrate the weekend. Call me crazy, but that sounds boring as hell. And unevolved. You are neither. Rock on. 🙂


  6. If God speaks to me in words and visions that I can understand and apply, and then He builds on that with words and visions for you, does that mean that I should feel possesive or territorial? NO! Take whatever you can use that’s come through me and run with it! With my blessings. We are still greater than the sum of our parts 🙂


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