Archives for posts with tag: pain is not a unique experience

It’s a lovely autumn day. I’ve spent it on mindful service to hearth and home, and some pleasant opportunities to enjoy the company of my Traveling Partner. We both seem to be having a very good day. I’m enjoying that, unreservedly. I’m also in pain.

The forest beyond the deck, on an autumn morning.

If I allowed my physical pain to stop me from getting things done or enjoying my experience in every moment I am experiencing physical pain, I’d have to just give in. Do nothing. Enjoy nothing. Go nowhere. That doesn’t sound like the best possible way to experience life, so… mostly I choose differently. It sometimes feels like an endurance race. A test of will. A hex. Today? Today it feels like a lovely autumn day on which I happen to be in pain. Verbs. Choices. Practices. Self-care.

We each walk our own hard mile. Sometimes it’s not “well-paved” or “smooth and level”. Sometimes that hard mile is miserable, tedious, or painful. Sometimes it feels endless. Persist. Endure. Choose. Don’t like the outcome? Try choosing something else. Begin again. If every mile of this journey called life was easy, effortless, and on an obvious path, it would likely also be incredibly dull, and certainly there’d be damned little reason to grow, to learn, or to change. So… there’s that.

There’s also this pain, but… it’s wrapped in a sunny day, and I feel wrapped in love. 🙂 It’s enough.

I woke with difficulty this morning, and didn’t sleep well. I don’t hurt as much now as I did when I went to bed. The twinges of arthritis pain that begin the day are likely to be a sign of more pain, later on. It’s hard to be anything other than uncomfortable – just the physical discomfort itself, is uncomfortable, I mean. Kind of obvious, I know. It’s just that my mind, foggy with the struggle to fully wake up for the day, is focused on other things (if it can be said to be focused at all, just yet).

House hunting moves forward a step at a time. The work week continues. Lunch with a friend sometime this week. An evening with my Traveling Partner, maybe even tonight. Days. Days filled with moments. I remind myself to make a doctor’s appointment. Then I just go ahead and make it, online, rather than stalling still/again.

A fairly ordinary Tuesday begins here. A quiet morning like so many quiet mornings, a cup of coffee, a few minutes writing, some time for meditation, a few minutes tidying up before heading to the office… the days are days. What changes is my perspective, and my choices.

Today is a good day to begin again. I know there will be verbs involved. I know that I am having my own experience. With some practice, today is enough. 🙂

Thinking about the future. “Here it comes…“. It is a morning with a theme song. 🙂 It’s also 4:30 am. So… a theme song, and headphones. Again this morning I am thinking about the reality and the fantasy, considering options, considering needs, considering what it takes to take care of me, over time. What do I really need, versus what do I yearn for but can so easily do without? I continue to plan this next move, and in the planning I find my anxiety and stress about it greatly reduced.

I ended the evening last night in great pain. Yoga, physical therapy, acetaminophen, medical cannabis, a hot soak in Epsom salts, meditation… I did the things, it was still a struggle. I managed to avoid reaching for Rx pain relief, though, which is a win. I woke without much pain, in spite of the very rainy morning and the chill in the air. My calves ache from muscle cramps during the night, a weird new development along life’s journey. The thought distracts me with the idea of pain, and I find myself mentally listing all the things that hurt, or are uncomfortable, and before I know it – I’m completely immersed in the experience of pain, and actually hurt more than I did minutes ago. We really do create a lot of our experience with the power of our thoughts and our words.

I take a moment to breathe, relax, and let go of (at least the thought of) the pain. I set a reminder to call my doctor for an appointment to discuss changes in my health, and pain management in the coming winter months. What’s to be done about the neck fracture recently identified in X-rays and a CT scan? That’d be good to know…

Pain again? Damn it. I change the music to something more defiant. Sometimes it helps to tell pain to fuck right off. No bullshit. I have an entire playlist of music with big beats and great grooves that all basically tell someone, or something, to fuck right off with great enthusiasm. Some days defiance is what it takes to move past the pain. I remind myself to be very mindfully aware of the things that don’t hurt, and the moments I am not in pain – however brief. Soaking in those experiences, savoring them, appreciating them fully helps preserve the memory of not hurting, and improves my implicit experience – otherwise, over time, I’d slowly lose touch with having any experience other than pain. This morning, I teeter on the edge of pain; when I am not thinking about it, this morning, I don’t hurt nearly as much.

This morning is a good one for music and dancing, for yoga and another cup of coffee, for meditation (on a timer – it’s a work day!), and for taking care of me. On the other side of the work day… a quiet evening. In between: rain, meetings, spreadsheets, questions, an important task hand-off, deep-diving some puzzles, lunch, thoughts of love, a couple miles of walking, and a new look at a view of the city I love. Each day a new beginning, a step on a much longer journey to becoming the woman I most want to be.

Every day has its own qualities, its own joy, its own suffering. Begin again.

Every day has its own qualities, its own joy, its own suffering. Begin again.

Up at 4 am works for me; I don’t fight it. There’s time for coffee, time for words, time to change the tone of the morning, and regain the leisurely feel of the morning that I enjoy so well. Today is a good day to take care of this fragile vessel that serves me so well. Today is a good day to slow things down a little bit and enjoy the morning without rushing. Today is a good day to embrace what matters most: perspective, mindfulness, sufficiency – and love. 🙂

I woke up tired. I hear the sound of an unattended alarm clock going off, it’s been doing it’s thing now for about 10 minutes. I wonder if its owner is sleeping through it, or walked away having forgotten it was only snoozed, or… I’m sure there are other options in the gigantic database of possibilities and assumptions that makes up some portion of my brain. This  morning I only flip through them casually, and readily acknowledge they are all fictions until and unless one of them turns out to be ‘true’. There’s no assurance that any of them are true, ever, they’re just stories, generally. That’s what a lot of our experience is made up of – stories we tell ourselves.

I slept restlessly, and not very deeply. My arthritis kept me alert and uncomfortable much of the night, and I often found myself flexing my back repeatedly in my sleep – the way I did the night I broke it. The sensation wakes me again and again, feeling vaguely disturbed with the visceral reminder of that painful event. I’m okay, though, just a bit groggy and not very well-rested. No agita or weirdness to it, which is nice. I could do without the headache. I am still unsettled by daylight savings time, and it may take weeks before that isn’t a thing…until next fall. Spring doesn’t seem quite as bad, at least not in the abstract.

I had an interesting conversation with a young non-voter yesterday. She had suggested that voting seemed pretty pointless to her, and expressed her discontent with the way the nation is run. I pointed out that if the only people elected are old rich white guys, then choices, programs, and changes we get are limited to those favored by – and which favor – old rich white guys. We talked through the potential impact if ‘all the young people’ voted, or ‘all the women’, or ‘all the any-particular-uniquely-identified-demographic’ actually. It may have been a light bulb moment for her to realize that there is power in numbers – and the numbers always begin with one. It was an affirming conversation for me, too, but I find that conversations that end in favor of the opinion I have myself generally are. lol

Meditation didn’t quite shake off the irritability this morning; pain makes for a pretty irritating start to the day. My traveling partner sticks his head in the door and gives me a merry good morning greeting. He hears something in the tone of my reply and inquires what’s up. I admit to the pain frankly and simply and get a sympathetic smile and a good-natured “I’ll leave you alone…” It truly sucks on a level I lack language to express that a being so dear to me finds the only positive option on a morning like this is to keep his distance. I can’t fault his reasoning; it is the wiser course. It still sucks. I am grateful to know a love that respects my needs, even when doing so means distance. Love rarely walks hand-in-hand with reason, and I am privileged to love someone who makes that look easy, most days.

I hear the espresso machine grinding beans for shots that aren’t mine. It is a warm and comforting sound of hearth and home. The day begins.

I have no idea what these are... I find them festive and unexpected.

I have no idea what these are… I find them festive and unexpected.

Today is a good day for meditation, and taking time to nurture contentment. Today is a good day to manage pain with great care, and be mindful that I’m not alone in hurting. Today is a good day for sympathy, compassion, and kindness – sharing those doesn’t diminish the quantity on hand. Today is a good day to make good choices, and for harnessing my will to my values through my actions. Today is a good day to meditate more than I planned. Today is a good day to be kind to myself, because kindness kicks ass and I could use some as much as anyone. Today is a good day for perspective, and awareness, and consideration – but every day is, isn’t it? Today is a good day to change the world.