A fellow blogger posted this painful but beautiful poem recently to her blog, Boomie Bol. Her poems are consistently powerful but this one resonated with me in timely and potent ways.
I’m hurting emotionally right now for reasons that aren’t relevant to this post except to say it’s my own damn fault. Turning the hurt into words on the page is the only thing that makes sense to me at the moment. I’m not even sure I’m turning the hurt into words because I can’t bear to write about the thing itself. I am writing, though. I’ve been working on my novel revisions almost every day. I’ve also been making comments on the WP blogs I follow and the writing community on Twitter as I normally do although nothing feels normal. At first, I thought I was doing it all because I was trying to keep negative thoughts at bay but that’s impossible. Then I read the Boomie Bol poem and thought to myself, That’s it. I don’t want to waste my misery. I said before in another post that I don’t write because I want to, I write because I must. So, if I must write it seems natural that I should use my misery to drive the process. I think it’s what many writers do.
I didn’t want to blog because it feels like exposing myself at my most vulnerable. But I committed to trying to post at least once a month and I take that commitment seriously. I can’t get past the distress so it was unavoidable that this post would reflect that. I’m not going to promote it the way I usually do by way of an email blast and social media. I don’t really care how many folks read it or how many “likes” I get this time. I have to write anyway, and the WordPress community has always been kind to me so why not. Thank you for being here with me. Thank you to Boomie Bol as usual, for the truth in your words.
This too shall pass…
I had major dental surgery last week. And by major I mean 3 hours worth of work, gums split ear to ear and heavy sedation. And by sedation I mean out like a light, don’t remember a thing including how I got home. (Don’t judge, someone else drove me. Lol.)
I bring this up because the surgery caused me to reflect on pain, or more precisely, enduring pain. I was thinking that I’ve learned a lot over the years about what it takes to endure pain. It’s one of the life lessons that this blog is supposed to be about.
I’ve learned that although it seems counterintuitive, sometimes it’s better to accept pain than to fight it.
I was having a baby the first time someone tried to help me understand that. My nurse was wonderful when I had a C-section to deliver my youngest daughter. She came in the first night and told me not to fight the pain because I’d never win. She told me not to instinctively go into a defensive mode so I could stay aware of my body. She explained the need for pain as messages from the body pointing to the places that need attention. She said that pain is an ally not an adversary. She was very smart.
The next time I heard the lesson was from a therapist. She told me that what we perceive as the negative of pain is mostly fear. She told me to stay aware of my body tensing more at the memory of past hurt than the real pain itself. She said the worst part of pain, the memory of it, has already happened so there’s no reason to be afraid of it. She taught me to relax, breathe and that if I tried to focus on the center of the pain, I’d find it was much smaller than I’d feared. She was very wise.
My yoga teacher is young but she’s good at guiding a bunch of us Boomers gently through our poses. She tells us to breathe through our pain. (In our hips, knees and backs.) Breathe in to the center of it, breathe out and release it. It really does help when I’m trying to creakily hold a pose. She is very sweet.
So, when I went to a Buddhist dharma talk last year and the presenter discussed “being the pain” it resonated with me. He was saying the same thing as the other women were saying. And the lesson can be applied to emotional and spiritual pain as well as the physical. Staying with it and giving our “self” over to it is the only way we really know what pain is and what it means. And if we know that we can bear it, use it and won’t waste precious energy trying to beat it.