Alexander Sylvester

Introspective Musings

# 5

Necessary Pain

explore, create

Our experiences, stories and introspective journey's are most powerful when shared and discussed. It is here that I want to share an intimate, personal experience with others instead of clawing through the noise of social media feeds. Couple with the visual art I've produced over the years, Introspective Musings is the bridge between audience and artist; a written account of how these visions come to be.

Necessary Pain

Heartache, 11x14 ink on paper, 2020

There’s something cathartic in allowing room for pain. There’s something about embracing anguish, fear, anger and everything in between that never feels quite right, but necessary all at once. There’s something about the process of opening your wounds so they may be properly cleaned and stitched back together. Somehow this makes healing at least minimally tolerable.

Often it comes in tsunami like waves, one after another; relentless torrential onslaught that is eventually met by a strangely serene calm. Followed by reflection and introspection, as a means of fortifying the spirit for another trip ‘round. Waves crashing, calm settling. Back and forth, until skin thickened and spirit revived. 

We need pain, we need loss, we need hurt. It’s our beacon of contrast which allows room for the work required to grasp onto the traces of life affirming inner strength. Without that contrast, we are too easily seduced by stagnation. And falling for the trap in which progress and growth can not escape, we become weaker as we forfeit ourselves to passivity. 

I know it hurts now, I know that it feels like the endless depths that pain permeates seems to traverse through the infinite. I know how you feel, for I feel it too. Because in this particular year we’ve been plagued by a default of stress through disease, political upheaval, corruption and a constant stream of negative experience through exposure to the rest of the world's woes. Any and all new difficulties or disruptions to our day to day status quo comes at a higher price, as our lives already have experienced a great deal of sorrow. But even without these things, you and I would still end up experiencing individual emotional distress in some sense. 

So please be kind to yourself. Feel your pain, experience your anguish and allow it to pass through you. Allow room for your heart to break, allow time the necessary grace to carry you forward. Cry, scream and clench your teeth if you need to. Exude emotion, bleed yearning for what once was. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be upset. As the cliche goes, life finds a way. We learn to use our seemingly unbearable emotions to build resilience and live another day. 

Allow yourself to feel so you may remain human for a while longer. 


"Allow room for your heart to break, allow time the necessary grace to carry you forward." Click To Tweet


I have a feeling, feel free to call it whatever you choose, that has been brewing in me more and more about the relationship we have with this idea we call “Coincidence”. This feeling stems from being dead center between a place of spirituality and cold, scientific rationale. Deep down it’s not lost on me that we are wired to see patterns and make connections, as it’s benefited our innate instinct for survival and evolution of thought.
Serendipity - Life's Rhyme Scheme
There is no easy way to say what needs to be said, no simple way to convey the emotional landscape traversed in what feels like an endless stretch of time. Each day I attempt to put one foot in front of the other, in hopes that a promise of healing and progress will be achieved; that the effervescent light of purpose and life will rush back to me, cutting through the thick and viscous soup often known as dread (dressed in Grief’s clothing).
A Note from the Other Side
Allow room for your heart to break, allow time the necessary grace to carry you forward.
Necessary Pain
I've been thinking about what it means to be within an "apocalypse". When does one start and what does it look like? The word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apokaluptein, meaning to "reveal/uncover". Instead of the immediate cataclysmic imagery of war, famine, death and disease, what if it's more nuanced than that?
Apokaluptein (to reveal)
This week's post is a brain dump, a reflection on how anxiety tends to feel when living in the middle of an episode.
Detox (Self Inflicted Harmony)
How do I find the words, the strength, or the volition to trudge through the mire? For I know that the only way out is through, but I am paralyzed. How do I bring myself to lift my head from the muck where I’ve fixed my gaze? There’s a comfort in feeling as low as the ground beneath my feet. How do I navigate through the trenches without a map? It seems as if I am los? How do I know when it’s over? The process feels timeless, as if bending between past, present and future.
On Grief
It’s easy to allow our sense of introspection to fall to the wayside eleven and a half months out of the year, only returning to the bitter fruits of one’s yearly journey when they’ve gone past ripe. It’s become culturally embedded into many of us to approach the last week on the Gregorian calendar before our big annual reset to reflect on past successes, mistakes and trajectory moving forward. 
Growing Pains