That’s a proverb from the Maori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand. I’ve often referred to it over the years.
It seems to mean that the process of finding out who you really are includes a lot of giving up. If you’re a tree and being carved at the same time, well, you can expect it to hurt a bit at times. That means you can expect it to keep on hurting for some time.
Traditional Maori were known for their elaborate facial tattoos. As they lived their experiences the tattoos would be periodically added to to update their stories. Genuine bone chisels, no anaesthetic, genuine pain. Those who met them would know them by reading the stories that had been carved into their faces.
Live the life, become the story which will later be told. Your reward for doing your best will be a passage through pain, but by then it may not be the kind of pain you initially expected.
Make your right choice. ‘Trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity. For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the unseen… ‘ (Gibran, The Prophet).
It occurrd to me that the kind of suffering needed to get to heaven was my responsibility.
The rats which had come out to hear my speech applauded before running off as usual.