Healing Emotional Pain: The Safety of the Other Shore


The other night my son and I watched The Other Shore, a fabulous documentary about one of my heroes, legendary ocean swimmer, Diana Nyad. I am somewhat obsessed with her because although I love the ocean, I am equally terrified by it. One of my biggest fears is falling off a cruise ship, which is ridiculous because I have never been on one, nor do I have any desire to be a passenger. I even have dreams about it.

You see how irrational fears can be?

So, here is this warrior woman who willingly immerses herself in large, open bodies of water and self-propels her way across them. It makes me nervous just thinking about it but I envision these ocean crossings as a beautiful metaphor for the way she has chosen to handle the trauma of her childhood. At least that’s how it appears to me, because why would any human be swimming out in the ocean with sharks and jellyfish? The miles and miles she travels through the water must create a sense of distance from the pain and imbue her with an incredible sense of power over her destiny.

I wish I had been graced with her will but I am damn sure that no pain I have encountered would send me swimming across an ocean. In the past, I preferred to numb my pain with wine, or ignore it. Now, I write about it all here on my blog. It’s my way of swimming, only safer.

We happened to watch this on the day after the news of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death.

I am not much of a celebrity watcher, but I do admire talented actors, especially the ones who transcend a role and disappear into the movie, leaving me to experience the story without the distraction of the “Hollywood star” on the screen. I especially appreciate actors who work their craft and live their life outside of the spotlight. Meryl Streep comes to mind. I know very little about her, but I will always go see her movies, because I know it is going to be worthwhile.

I had the same affection for Philip Seymour Hoffman. I knew nothing of his pain.

When I think of his death, I am deeply saddened for his young children, who now bear the weight of how he died. That’s the tragedy about these unnatural deaths – they leave an unfortunate residue on the people left behind.

So many questions for his family to unravel. I can’t imagine having to do it in the public eye.

As I watched the powerful triumph of Diana Nyad as she reached the other shore, I couldn’t help but wonder about pain that consumed Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is a question I often ponder – how is it that some of us can move beyond the trauma of our past, and others are sucked down into its darkness and destroyed? I struggle with my own demons, and although I know I have the choice to continue moving forward each day, I often stumble and fall prey to the things yet unhealed in my heart.

It is my hope that the soul work I have been doing these last few years, and the alignment with my own inner wisdom, has in some way connected me to a divine power that will keep nudging me onward to better shores.

I believe trauma is the great equalizer in life. It has no regard for age, race, gender or socioeconomic class. It arrives unbidden, takes many forms and bears the uncomfortable reminder that we do not have control over everything, despite our attempts to convince ourselves otherwise.

What I have come to understand over these last few years is this: life is not fair. It can be difficult and unjust, but choosing to engage with the world while holding this knowledge, is where we can step into the essence of being alive. Struggle creates character. Struggle grants us the luxury of knowing what to carry with us, and what to discard.

The human capacity to change is endless, and wherever you are on your healing journey, I hope you continue to swim toward the safety of the other shore. May the pain of your struggles ignite a new way of being and become the fuel that carries you ever forward.


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

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