Aliyah Washington’s intersecting journeys for healing and the truth have led her to embrace a low-fat raw food diet and marked perception change, which kindled a dedicated meditation practice. These lifestyle changes have enabled the 29-year-old Canada native now living in Ubud, a town outside Bali, Indonesia, triumph over almost a lifetime of sickness and ascend in spirituality. Aliyah is now helping others around the world turn on the bright lights inside themselves and inspiring them to reach their peak potential on her website, PerceptionTrainers.com, and through her YouTube channel and Aliyah Mystery School.
Aliyah Washington Suffers from Poor Health from Birth
Born in the small town of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Aliyah Washington was born ill. “Upon delivery, they discovered that I only had two tubes in my umbilical cord rather than three,” she said. “Which set the doctors off looking to make sure I had all of the internal organs one is supposed to have. Luckily, I had all my parts intact, but I was small, cold and needed to be put in an incubator for the first several hours of my life.”
Aliyah Washington suffered from colic and frequent ear infections as a baby. At 3 years old, she suffered from full-body eczema, with colic continuing to plague her. Aliyah also suffered from chronic stomachaches, skin issues, asthma, frequent colds and flus as well as chronic stress. “I was a 6-year-old that my mom sent to the guidance counselor because I was so high-strung,” she said.
Aliyah Washington was also “incredibly emotionally sensitive,” feeling responsible for the happiness and well-being of others. Aliyah describes herself as “deeply religious” throughout her childhood, saying in one video she began inquiring about God and heaven at age 1 despite the fact that neither of her parents were religious
“In most families, it is the parents that drag the kids to church, but in my house, I was the driving force,” she said. “I would spend hours in my bed alone at night crying over the pain I saw in the world, wondering why I couldn’t fix it and praying endlessly for God to show me how to end the suffering that was all around me.”
In a Nutshell: Aliyah Washington
Here’s a snapshot of Aliyah Washington’s favorites:
- Fruit: I have to say durian, but if I am allowed to have more than one fruit then star apples and mangosteens are my other “can’t live withouts.”
- Exercise: Yoga.
- Book: The Essene Gospels of Peace.
- Film: The Sound of Music.
- Album: I love gong and Tibetan bowl music.
- Place on earth: Wherever I am usually! I always think I have found heaven, and then we move and I stand corrected.
- Thing to do: Talk, think and write about the meaning of it all.
A Seeker, Aliyah Washington Is Looked to for Answers
At 12, Aliyah Washington kicked off her first juice fast, determined to “hear the voice of God,” she said. “I was essentially in a constant state of prayer and meditation, always studying human behaviour and wondering why things were the way they were. I was the kid that everyone came to with all their issues—I can’t even count the number of times students and teachers came to confide in me—even if we weren’t friends. I always seemed to have an answer, too. This was the magical part of it. My connection to the mystical realms was very real and very powerful from the get-go.”
In junior high, Aliyah Washington gained a lot of weight and, at 14, spent the better part of a year on a couch because of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. “I had high blood pressure, my hormones were totally out of whack [and] my stomach issues had developed into what must have been full-blown colitis,” she said. “I had a chest infection that lasted almost the entire winter, and most days, all I could manage to do was sit and stare out the window. I was lonely, depressed and listless. I felt like I had nothing of value to offer the world, as I had spent my whole life watching everyone around me suffer greatly, without being able to do anything about it.”
Aliyah Washington was also suffering from tremendous conflict. She was bullied by friends and even adults in her life—and this came to affect her feelings about herself. “Being so emotional and so incredibly intense was not something that most people took to,” she said. “I was constantly being told I was too much, too loud, too intense, too emotional by all the people in my life and had developed a serious case of self-hate. I was labeled ‘prophetic’ at a young age and often told people things about what they were doing and how it was going to work out that they did not want to hear. Many wanted my insights, until they touched a nerve. Then they wanted to blame and shame me. … I hated everything about myself.
“… I was not very fun to be around as all I really cared about was deep conversation, getting to the root causes of things and discussing the Universe—not exactly the life of the party,” she said. “I desperately wanted friends and family to love me but had no way of making myself acceptable.”
Aliyah Washington Launches Her Healing Journey
When Aliyah Washington received a diagnosis of her ovarian cysts, she snapped into action, wanting to heal herself. It was 2003, and she was 15. “I felt like maybe, just maybe, since I could not change my personality, emotions and could not make myself ‘fun’ that if I could just make myself thin that I would be loved,” she said. “My body, in my mind, was so broken, so sick and now it was fat—and since I could not change anything else about myself, my body became public enemy number one. I truly believed I would be able to hear God, get all my answers, have friends and be able to save the world if I could just get thin and healthy.”
Aliyah Washington first ate a high-protein diet, cutting out processed carbohydrates such as grains and sugars, eating only meat, fruits and vegetables for six months. She lost 20 pounds. Over the next three years, she tried scores of diets, including the Blood Type Diet and Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover. Aliyah also began exercising to the point of “addiction.” “I was able to remedy a few of my health conditions but was physically not much better than I had been before the dieting craze started,” she said.
In Aliyah Washington’s dietary research, she stumbled on an article online about folks who ate only raw foods. She printed the article and showed it to her mother. “We both looked at it and said, ‘Those people are crazy!’” she said. “But secretly in my heart, I felt like this was an answer for me. By the time I was in grade 11, in 2006, I felt intuitively called to become a vegan. … I went 100 percent vegan overnight, and it was amazing. I felt so happy, so connected, so on the right path. I devoured cookbooks, making recipes and indulging in lots of sweet potato fries, miso gravy and meatless “meatball” sandwiches on sprouted grain breads and bucketsful of hummus. … I was feeling mentally better and, physically, I had fewer stomachaches, but my health was still not great by any stretch of the imagination. I felt like I was getting close to the answer, but I still wasn’t there.”
Despite some gains in mental and physical health, Aliyah Washington was stuck in self-loathing. “My obsession with my body, with health, with my weight, with food and exercise had reached pretty extreme levels here,” she said. “I was a very busy student, getting straight ‘A’s, being in every dance show, musical theater show and drama performance inside and outside of school, holding down a part-time job and still managing to have a social life, yet, somehow, I still managed to spend most of my time thinking about how much I hated myself.
“I was living a kind of double life,” she continued. “On the surface, I was a ‘normal,’ high-achieving student. On the inside, I was a lonely, sad, desperately seeking mystic who had no other method of controlling her impulses to cry and run away from the world than to control her food intake. I loved and hated food—it was my escape and the cause of all my suffering at once. I had a sense that there was some connection between my physicality and my spirituality and connection to answers and God, but I was unclear of what this connection was or how it was meant to play out.”
Aliyah Washington Adopts a Raw Vegan Diet
In summer 2006, Aliyah Washington, at 17, read Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis and decided to never eat cooked food again. She also read Diet for a New America by John Robbins, which confirmed what she believed about being a vegan. “This is a theme in my journey: I usually intuitively make changes to my life and then read about the who, what, where, when and why after,” she said.
Aliyah Washington purchased a dehydrator and Champion Juicer so she could make raw granola and banana “ice cream.” “For the next six months I felt free,” she said. “Liberated. My stomachaches stopped. I had energy for the first time in years. I felt free with food—all the restriction, dieting, having to ‘control’ myself. I seemed to be totally alleviated with this transition. All the compulsive dieting and eating stuff seemed to melt away, and I could just relax and enjoy.”
Aliyah Washington graduated from high school in 2007, six months early. When she turned 18, she boarded a plane, bound for bible school in New Zealand. The school was to have facilitated her raw vegan diet, but upon arrival, all the staff had turned over. Aliyah worked out an arrangement in which the school would provide some fruits and vegetables, with her filling in the rest. “This was how I stumbled into the world of low fat raw foods,” she said. “You see, without a dehydrator or access to a kitchen and living in a pretty rural part of Auckland, New Zealand, there was not a lot of options for making raw granola, nut cheese, dips, spreads or even salad dressings. My diet shifted to one based almost entirely around fresh fruits and veggies.
“Then, halfway through the school semester, the head honcho found out what I was doing, and he told me straight to my face that my diet ‘was from satan’ and that I was to stop immediately and eat like everyone else,” she said. “He forced me to eat a piece of cake in front of everyone. They took away the money they had been giving me, and that was meant to be the end of my raw veganism. During this time, I think I was the most depressed I had ever been in my life. Being so far from home, not being able to connect with my fellow students, wanting so badly to hear God and feeling even more disconnected than ever left me with a sense of hopelessness I didn’t even know was possible for a human to feel. I remember at one point I was laying on my bed, starving, with nothing at all to comfort or distract me and feeling that if I could survive this, I could survive anything. This was the first time I ever gave ‘into’ a not knowing—and it was the catalyst for my awakenings later on in life.”
The school head underestimated Aliyah Washington, who wound up skipping breakfast; eating an apple, orange, banana and handful of spinach for lunch; and having more fruit for dinner. She remained wholly raw for the final five weeks of her stay. “During this time, although I was certainly not eating nearly enough, I actually started to feel amazing,” she said. “My digestion was better than ever, my skin totally cleared, and I lost weight. I returned home in April 2007 10 pounds thinner with a whole new set of traumas and a whole new level of willpower and determination.”
Aliyah Washington Struggles with Anorexia
Over the next 18 months, Aliyah Washington struggled with anorexia. “The forced starvation during my stay in New Zealand had taught me how to finally control my intake, and I ran with that,” she said. “I lost a significant amount of weight, whittled my diet down to almost nothing, and spent all day and all night thinking about my body and food. … I had no way of coping with life and my sensitivities to everything. I hated myself so deeply and felt like there was nothing to be done. Dieting and anorexia were actually the two things that kept me alive during this time in my life. They gave me something to live for. Something to focus on. Something to feel that I had some say over. They helped me totally hide away all aspects of myself and my personality that had been so deeply rejected by others for my whole life. It was a prison but also a safety.”
Aliyah Washington admits to being in denial about her suffering from anorexia. She strived to convince others that she was on a healthful diet, restricting calories for longevity. She earned a holistic nutritionist diploma during this time period. “I would get up early, walk on the treadmill, reading my nutrition books, go to work and not eat all day, come home to work out some more, eat a small dinner and do it all over again the next day,” she said. “I was fully consumed and obsessed and had almost convinced myself that I was fine to keep being this way forever. I was diagnosed officially at the age of 19, and was told that my heart, liver and kidneys were shutting down. I denied that I was as sick as they were telling me I was. Then one day, as I was out on my daily walk, I heard a voice in my head loud and clear say: ‘If you keep doing what you are doing, you are going to die. Or you can decide to get better, and you will have a really cool and amazing life.’”
That day, Aliyah Washington broke her commitment to being 100 percent raw and ate hummus and steamed broccoli. She made a meal plan based on a vegan food pyramid and stuck to her new diet. “I gained 50 pounds in three months, and all of my old health problems and symptoms returned,” she said. “My stomachaches came back, my skin broke out, I was puffy and bloated and constipated all the time. I had done what I was supposed to do to get better, but I felt worse than ever.”
Aliyah Washington Makes Major Life Moves
In summer 2009, Aliyah Washington embraced a low-fat raw food diet again and resumed calorie restriction but could not lose excess weight despite the addition of heavy exercise. Over the next three years, she made some big moves but concedes she struggled. She moved out of her family home, moved in with a boyfriend, moved to another province in Canada, departed from Christianity and explore spirituality in her own way and became independent.
Aliyah Washington got a job as Young and Raw’s holistic nutritionist, developing programs and articles for the website. “I was starting to build a life, but my body was falling apart,” she said “I was still eating a low-fat raw vegan diet, but I was not stable in it at all. I would spend weeks eating next to nothing then binge on raw food treats that I would make for my boyfriend and sister until I felt like I was going to burst on the weekends. I picked at food without actually sitting down to eat. I exercised obsessively. My health was declining again, and it seemed like I just could not make anything work.”
Aliyah Washington was diagnosed with low thyroid hormone production. She would suffer from yearly lung infections, which lasted for several months. Her colon function also suffered, lending to chronic constipation. She also faced inflammation, feeling continuously sore and swollen. “I was constantly obsessing about my diet, hating my body and seeing it as this broken machine that just wanted me to suffer, and every morsel of food I put into my mouth was a mental battle,” she said. “I was constantly trying to ‘fix’ my body with food, thinking I should do this or that—never free. I really felt that raw foods were the answer, but I had not been able to crack the code on how to actually make it work.”
In Thailand, Aliyah Washington Experiences a Eureka Moment
During Aliyah Washington’s first trip to Thailand, in 2012, with a boyfriend, her life changed. She had long wished to spend time in the Land of Smiles, and one day, while in a restaurant with her partner, overlooking the sea, feeling the sun’s rays wash over her body and eating the most delicious watermelon she had ever enjoyed, an “a-ha” moment came.
“I had a dream job, freedom like I had never had before in my life, and I was totally and utterly miserable,” she said. “I felt horrible in my body, and all I could think about was how fat I felt. In that moment, I realized that, as of that day, I had been struggling with my body and diets for a decade. And I was exactly where I had been 10 years earlier. Same weight. Same self-hate. Same physical symptoms. I realized, in that moment, that perhaps I was never going to crack the code on being thin and perfectly healthy. That [despite] all my trying, I had never figured it out, so what made me think I was going to be able to? In that moment, I realized that I had two choices: learn to love who I was just as I was or spend the rest of my life possibly fighting a battle I was never ever going to win. Then and there I put down the sword of self-hate, sat in the ‘unknowing of what to do next again’ and started to get to know my body and my self. Being in the unknowing was the source of all the answers that saved me over the next months and years of my life.”
Aliyah Washington then stopped any form of dieting and began learning to listen to her body. She launched a meditation practice, connecting with herself daily. “I came up with tools and techniques for really getting into why I hated myself so much,” she said. “I began to recover all the painful memories and experiences from my childhood and actually process them. I started to question my beliefs in ways I had never done before. I started moving from a place of believing my body was on my side and wanted to be well rather than believing it wanted to be sick. I started to eat to feel good rather than to be thin. All the binging stopped. All the obsession stopped. I got really real about who and what I was, and everything in my life changed from there.”
Aliyah Washington made adjustments to her diet, adding in salt and chia seeds, and consuming more juices after coming to believe that a strict low-fat raw food, sometimes referred to as an 80/10/10 diet, wasn’t ideal. She still stuck with a wholly raw vegan diet, as raw foods made her feel best. She also scaled back on exercise, focusing on yoga and walking, activities she enjoyed the most. These days, Aliyah continues to practice yoga upon rising each morning and then walks later in the day. She also enjoys dancing.
Watch Aliyah Washington in the Perception Trainers Video ‘All Things Meditation’
Aliyah Washington Launches the Perception Trainers
After a time away from Thailand, Aliyah Washington moved back to the country for four months, launching her company The Perception Trainers and writing her first book, The Perception Diet. This book contains the tools she had intuitively discovered and used to heal her mind and life. “I had seen at that point that my eating disorder was not about food at all—it was about not letting myself be myself due to all my limiting beliefs and having to be brave enough to be myself even if others don’t like it,” she said. “Life has never been the same since.”
Aliyah Washington describes Perception Trainers as an extension of herself and life, what has challenged her, what she’s triumphed over and how she lives her life. “Much of what I know has come from contemplation, observing what others and I were doing that wasn’t working, going in to look for another answer, getting those answers, trying things out, then sticking with it if it worked or ditching it if it didn’t,” she said.
All along, Aliyah Washington has been buoyed and even inspired by her own and others’ suffering. “I am a firm believer that all spirituality—all revelation and awakening—should not only be mystical, but also practical,” she said. “As above, so below. If we are truly seeing truth, it should lead to a life experience with less suffering. I have always known that there were ‘laws’ to the way the world worked and that our suffering was due to rejecting them. As we awaken, we should become genuinely more harmonious with life. We should be able to see where we are causing our own suffering and how to alleviate that suffering through changing ourselves. We must approach our beliefs with an awareness that often times they are wrong unless we are getting the results we want in life. If we are not, it is something in our perception that first needs to shift. In that perceptual shift from fantasy to reality, from trauma (how I think life ‘should’ work) to real reality, we find a way of living that can create joy.”
Aliyah Washington Has Designed Her Life Around Her Passions and Rebuilt Her Relationships
Aliyah Washington has created her life to serve her passions and desires and has found fulfillment. She has spent “countless hours” meditating, “really finding who and what I am and making the changes to my life that needed to be made so that I could feel free in myself,” she said. “I have found that connection to God I had always been seeking, and it was through reconnecting with my body and myself, learning to be in that surrender, in my emotions, rather than trying to get rid of them, and spending lots of time in the not knowing.”
Aliyah Washington and her husband are nomadic but desire to build a sustainable property for themselves in the near future. She doesn’t watch any television or have any connection to media other than Facebook and Instagram, for her work. “I have fully shifted pretty much every relationship in my life and how I relate to others,” she said.
“I have let my body lead the way, and over the past five years, I have healed pretty much everything that was ‘wrong’ with me through intuitive means physically, mentally and emotionally,” she said. “I go in for my answers, follow my guidance and then generally find the ‘book’ or ‘teaching’ to confirm what I know afterward.”
Watch Aliyah Washington in the Perception Trainers Video ‘Who Are You To Live The Life Of Your Dreams?!’
An example of this came when Aliyah Washington read The Essene Gospels of Peace in 2016. She describes herself as being “blown away” that it outlined precisely how she had been living her life. “My body had led me there on its own,” she said. “I don’t live a normal life by any stretch of the imagination. I am odd on all levels. I have found my love for that. I have abandoned all convention in favour of peace and ever-expanding growth and awareness. It was a hard road and it took a lot of courage to abandon everything society tells us we are supposed to be and have, but I would not change any step for the world.
“I know myself, I trust myself and I know that anything and everything I have ever needed or wanted to know is accessible from within and nested in reality itself—all I have to do is look to see beyond my own limited perceptions,” she continued. “I honor this vessel and know it is my connection point to all that is … [and] the cleaner and clearer it is, the more it is facilitated in expressing how it wants to express, the more all things flow for me. I have learned to embrace my intensity, my emotional charge and all my ‘awareness,’ and rather than trying to fix or change those things, I live them fully. I am in no way saying I am complete or whole at this point—I know life is a journey that never ends—but I can say for a fact that I am on the path I came here to walk. My body is well like it has never been in my life. My mind is clear. My channel is wide open.”
A Raw Food Diet Has Helped Aliyah Washington Heal
When Aliyah Washington completed the 23andMe genetic test and ran her results through Promethease, she learned that she has every “fat” gene a person can have. She has an extremely high genetic predisposition toward high blood pressure, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, colitis, bowel cancer, ovarian and breast cancer as well as low immunity. Additionally, all her female cousins on her father’s side of the family have had breast, color or kidney cancer by her age, with all being overweight or obese and infertile.
“I do not believe I am ‘defying’ my genetics; I believe I have created the conditions for my body not to have to adapt to life with disease,” she said. “Disease is an adaptation that helps us live out of alignment with truth and not die immediately. I do not need disease, as I strive for alignment.”
Aliyah Washington has has fully healed her colon and has no sign of cancer. She also has low body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. “In fact, I have astounding levels of health and vitality for the first time in my entire life!” she said. “I am more healthy and vital now than I was as a child, as a teen and as a young adult.”
Aliyah Washington credits a raw food diet for helping propel her farther along her path in life. “I will always be grateful that I found this path, that this body knew what to do, and that I was wise enough to learn to listen,” she said. “I know now that my body was never broken or sick; it was simply not being given the conditions it needed to thrive. I have adjusted everything in my life to facilitate my health, and this has opened the doors to my life being in alignment on all levels. Everything I have sacrificed to be here—all the acceptance and love, all the security and the known—has been worth it to live feeling connected, whole and healthy. There is no separation between our physical being and our spiritual, mental and emotional beings. They are one.”
Aliyah Washington highlights that a raw food diet has instilled in her the strength, clarity, energy and capacity to transform her life on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. “I have been able to heal emotional wounds that were ruling my behaviours for years, transform my vocation, travel the world and find my freedom in large part due to the electromagnetic nature of my diet,” she said. “I do not think that any [part] of my life would be possible without having transitioned to a living foods lifestyle the way that I have done it. It made me so clear that I was in a lot of emotional pain for a lot of years—there is nowhere to run from your wounds when you don’t have food to numb you—but this also caused me to have to change my life. I feel my connection to the Divine is what it is because of my physical clarity as well, which came about due to a raw food lifestyle.”
Zooming in on Aliyah Washington’s Diet and Supplementation Practices
On an average day, Aliyah Washington fasts the majority and then has 2 to 3 liters of green juice and a small juice containing beet, daikon, aloe and ginger. Afterward, she enjoys a meal of the single fruit or two fruits that call to her. Recently, she has gravitated to white mangos in Bali, but mangosteens, pineapple and rambutans also catch her eye. Occasionally, she’ll prepare a raw pasta dish with a salsa made with pineapple, pomegranates and dill. After this fruit meal, Aliyah Washington will eat nori and celery. If still hunger, she’ll eat some dried fruits such as figs or dragon fruit, “which is over the top here in Bali!” she said.
“I have been doing the “juice, fruit, savory veggies with nori, dried fruit” order for the better part of the last six years, since learning to listen to my body,” she said. “I used to need a lot more dried fruits, seaweeds, miso and heavier fruits to slow down the detox, as my kidneys were not strong enough to keep up with all the ‘awakening’ that comes with such a clean diet. I have learned to moderate the awakening and elimination in my own body over many years of experimentation.”
Aliyah Washington enjoys eating all fruits, saying her body lets her know what it desires. “That is usually what my ‘favorite’ is at the time,” she said. “I go through strong phases with fruits. I will want something for days or weeks on end, then one day I won’t want that particular thing anymore and will shift to craving something else. Rambutans, mangos, pineapple, longans, lychees and watermelon have been the fruits most often in rotation over the years. But I can always go for durian if its on offer.” 😉
With greens, Aliyah Washington in particular enjoys celery, spinach, romaine lettuce and arugula as well as the herbs basil, cilantro, dill and parsley. Aliyah doesn’t eat a lot of fatty foods. “I get most of my fat during durian season a few times a year,” she said. “Other than that, if I am eating lots of dragon fruits or figs, I get more fat than other times, when I eat less of those fruits. I have never been someone who craved a lot of fat; I have always been more into sweet things!”
Aliyah Washington supplements with a powdered multivitamin containing Vitamin B12 and folate. “I always felt like I needed the supplement, and then after doing the 23andMe test, I found out I have an inhibited capacity for converting folate into its usable form, so, again, my body was totally right!” she said. “I also love taking charcoal, chlorella, cilantro and other cleansing and detoxifying herbs from time to time based on what I am feeling.” In recent time, she’s used herbs to assist in detoxification.
Aliyah Washington Has Embraced Several Positive Lifestyle Practices
High on Aliyah Washington’s list of positive lifestyle practices is practicing self-love. Her will to tune into and listen to her body’s messages helped her tune into and listen to her “emotional guidance system” was the chief thing that changed in her life since she adopted a raw vegan diet more than a decade ago.
“To say I meditate feels weird as, again, this practice of still contemplation, going in and looking for answers has been a mainstay in my life for my whole life,” she said. “That being said, having a more ‘official’ practice is something I have cultivated over the last five or so years, with Kundalini meditations holding a large place in the practices that serve me.”
In addition to Aliyah Washington’s yoga practice, she engages in breathwork and ensures she spends lots of time in nature—in the sun, in forests and near water. She also enjoys her time in saunas and skin brushes every day.
Aliyah Washington Is Helping Change People’s Realities with Perception Trainers Work
As Aliyah Washington awakened, she became more harmonious with life. Along her beautiful, expansive journey, she found insight from religion, self-help therapies, New Age spirituality and Martha Beck’s and Bruce Lipton’s work as well as Jesus’ and Rumi’s words.
“But most of what I know has come from reality itself,” she said. “Trying things out. Questioning. Doing what I had never done or seen done before. I have spent a lot of time sitting in the ‘not knowing’ the answer to something, really feeling into my emotions—and having that lead to awarenesses. I have always known that I could know the answers to things from within, and so I have spent a lot of time going within! If something is true and real, we shouldn’t need anyone to tell us; we should be able to see, know and observe it for ourselves.
“… My mission is simply to see the peak of human potential met—in myself and those around me,” she said. “I hope to facilitate that awakening through being on the path and sharing my journey. People are the most fascinating things to me—watching our habits of self-destruction and deeply seeing how and why we hurt ourselves—then learning how we can remedy that pain and suffering through integration is my deepest joy. Truly, suffering has been my greatest teacher. I know what I know because of the suffering I have been through and through witnessing the suffering of others. I would never go back an ‘undo’ any of the pain, as it was the pain that led the way to knowing.”