I hurt this morning. It’s ‘just arthritis’, and my spine aches, and I’m stiff even after this morning’s predawn yoga. It’s not new. Hell, it doesn’t even get in the way of a good time, generally. I feel it, however, and it intruded on my meditation more than once. Some of you are likely in pain, too. It sorts of goes with the whole ‘human experience’ package; this is a relatively fragile vessel, prone to injuries that accrue damage over time.  As excited as I am by how much the yoga and meditation do help…I still need additional pain relief to be comfortable much of the time. Taking pain killers comes with risks of its own, and even the Rx pain-killer I take doesn’t eliminate pain. I’m probably grateful for that, actually; how much damage could I do myself entirely by accident if I could not feel any pain?

Pain tells me something about my experience – both right  now, and the experience I have had over time.  Pain tells me something about how I am taking care of myself, and it tells me when there is more that needs to be done.

What pain is not, is ‘everything’, although it can certainly feel like ‘everything’ sometimes. Today isn’t that, I’m just thinking about pain in this moment, and feeling compassion for the myself regarding the pain I am in, and how it limits me (or how I choose to allow it to limit me), and I am thinking about the pain you may be in as well. Your pain also matters. Whether physical or emotional, the pain any one of us is experiencing in the moment may not be ‘everything’ – but it colors our experience, and may influence how we interact with, or perceive, others.  It’s so easy to get from ‘I hurt right now’ to ‘someone must pay for this bullshit!’ and find myself treating someone else poorly, because I hurt.  As I prepare to head into the world today I contemplate that and consider the pain other people are in, and hope that the effort to be mindful that we’re each having our own experience, and that for each of us the pain we are in, ourselves, is the pain we feel the most will keep me on track to treat myself and others with compassion and consideration – in spite of my pain. [That was a long and awkward sentence, my bad. Please read it again if you need to, before we move on…]

There’s not really more to say about pain. I’ve got mine. You’ve got yours. We’re all in this together. We’re each having our own experience. I’ll head out and do my best not to be unpleasant with people, and chances are you will to. If we should chance to meet, I hope it is pleasant for both of us, in spite of our pain. 🙂

"The Stillness Within" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow.

“The Stillness Within” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow.

I had a wonderfully intimate connected evening with my at-home partner last night – and that, too, in spite of my pain. We had dinner, and did a small bit of fun decorating, a little shopping, and something new. After we did yoga together, we also took time to meditate together. I am fairly shy about that, honestly; it feels very intimate on a level I lack language for, and it was wonderfully connected and calm and loving and… I definitely want to do that again. I’m not a yoga instructor; I practice because it works for me, helps me stay flexible, touches something in my heart, and helps me build emotional resilience, and recover a beautiful shape as I lose weight. I don’t think any of that means I have what it takes to go around teaching people something. My at-home partner really prefers to practice yoga with someone, rather than alone, and expressed some frustration with her lack of flexibility. Practicing together gave us a wonderful way to connect in a physical way, to share, to comfort, to enjoy each other; I was surprised that I didn’t feel self-conscious about gently sharing personal ‘best practices’ for some of the challenges she shared. It was a nice life lesson; we can each share what we know with the ones we love. Gentle coaching, loving communication, and heartfelt welcomed touch requires no certification.

It was a lovely evening to practice new skills. I found myself tapping new learning from some powerful books: Emotional Intimacy, Mindfulness for Beginners and Just One Thing come to mind. We shared new music suggested to us by our traveling partner with our yoga and meditation, which was a lovely way to connect him to the experience we were sharing. I don’t remember any pain from those moments, although I was in serious pain beforehand, and obviously so later, too. Funny how that works. How does that work? I’m glad it does.

Unfinished canvas...what will it become when the moment arrives?

Unfinished canvas…what will it become when the moment arrives?

Today is a good day to enjoy the moment. Today is a good day to acknowledge progress, however small. Today is a good day for love. Today is a good day to treat people well – even myself. Today is a good day to change the world.