Pain is My Friend
A few days ago, an X-ray revealed an answer to a mystery that has been confounding me for 20 years. I would have these mysterious bouts of back pain, incapacitating me for 5-7 days. This last episode is lasting for 3 weeks. Was I overdoing it at the gym? Was I sitting, standing, walking incorrectly? Do I need to stretch more?
The X-ray revealed that I have osteoarthritis in my lumbar spine. And while the prognosis is not good, I am after all 62 years old and have lived an incredible life full of love and adventure.
In the past, each time the spasms would take over my body, I would want to curl up and wait until my back relaxed and I could resume functioning. Now I do not have that luxury because it's not going away. My back is the source of frequent pain. I have learned to flow through the pain. Strangely, the pain brings me more into the moment, into the beauty of this incredible world, and into the love I find so readily offered by so many. So many good people out there doing good things! Kind people, generous people, compassionate people going out of their way to lighten the burden on others. I see the fox family in my front yard and watch the kits grow into strong teenagers. I see the beauty in this place I call home and cherish the love of my husband.
So why is pain my friend? Somehow it has encouraged me to slow down, to be conscious of every move and each nuance of conversation. To be in gratitude for the small things I can do. When I drop something, it stays dropped until I feel flexible enough to plié (yes, childhood ballet moves come in handy now!) down to the floor. I have discovered I drop lots of things! Get a grip! I tell myself and then I drop another thing. Oh well. Leave it on the floor and go on to more important things.
Mostly I stay in a state of flow. I don't know how else to describe it. It has something to do with giving up control and knowing I live in grace. That this life can leave at any moment, things can change, people can change, climate can change, so I stay in gratitude for what I have even if just for the morning paper arriving when it is supposed to. It has to do with pausing before reacting. Thirty years ago my power animal gave me a spirit name: Soft Paws. At the moment I received it, I realized it had a double meaning. Soft Paws (I do have soft hands) and Soft Pause - take a moment between receiving and reacting and choose how to be.
I still don't like what I see going on in Washington DC. So as I notice the emotion of anger well up inside me, I acknowledge it. All feelings are there for a reason. Then I choose to focus on my immediate life. How I feel, what moves me to action in my community. What good deeds I can do right here and now. My healing practice is fuller than ever and I daily thank the spirits for allowing me to be an emissary between this world and theirs, a conduit for healing.
One thing I know for certain: what I focus on is what magnifies. While positive thinking can have its shortcomings, when it is systematically combined with an eyes-wide-open approach, it is the most powerful tool we humans will ever cultivate. So if you find yourself spewing venom at politicians (or anything, anyone) be very careful that you do not become what you despise. Take the high road. Resist and protest. Be the change. Hold the vision. Do not judge. Look for synchronicities - doors opening unexpectedly, meeting just the right person, finding the information you need unexpectedly. They are there for you and that is a clear path to your heart and to recognizing the touch of spirit in your life. Cultivate it. Persist.
PS Synchronicities is not in spell check - now what does THAT say about our language? OK, so the singular Synchronicity is in spell check- does that mean we are only allowed one at a time? No way!!! They are always happening.
Below: Mrs Fox and her kits. I have hundreds of pictures of them.
All as bad as this one. They move fast!
And those foxes are not all peace and joy. They eat lots of lizards, birds, and small rodents. They poop wherever they want - right now it is by the front wall. They dig up stuff. They play with skins of their prey - training I suppose. But they are funny and part of the great cycle of life. They have a place here as do you and I.