Notes on the Journey

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Acceptance of Pain

I haven't written for a bit, and then, today, it felt like something was wanting to be said.  My own physical condition, and a line written in a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, whose blog I subscribe to, and who I follow on Facebook, both conspired to trigger my way in.

In a poem posted today called "Receiving," Oriah wrote this:
Posted: 09 Jul 2015 07:57 AM PDT
Is there anything sweeter
than that moment when pain stops?
Like a ladle of clear, cold water
soothing the parched throat;
or the moment of infinite spaciousness
when my neighbour's leaf-blower is silenced.

And. . . .this too shall pass.

That thought makes me laugh out loud,
helps me check the impulse
to hold on to the sweetness,
knowing there is nothing
that needs to be grabbed
nothing that can be gripped by wanting,
only that which can be received.

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer (c) 2015

It was the first line that grabbed me:  "Is there anything sweeter than that moment when pain stops?"

Today, I could really relate to that.  We all live with a certain amount of pain.  Physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain, there are many types of pain and none of us are immune.  Pain is part of being human and being alive.  But, it's how we relate to our pain that makes all the difference.

I've had migraine headaches since my twenties.  Sometimes ripping through me with a vengeance, blinding me, turning my insides into mush, and sending me to bed for days at a time.  Life suspended.  Writhing in anguish so that all I could think of was wanting to die to escape the pain.  I've tried various medications to ease them, and have found some that are able to relieve the symptoms with very high consistency.  But, sometimes, they don't work.  Or, at least, they don't work right away.  And, all I'm left with is the pain.  Today was one of those days.

A migraine has an onset of symptoms that lets you know it's coming.  For me, there's a stiffness to my neck and shoulder muscles, a general tightening that won't let up.  I start to yawn over and over and feel sleepy.  A deep tiredness overtakes my body.  Sometimes, my vision is impaired and gets spotty, and I want to retreat from all light and go into total darkness.  It might be accompanied by nausea as my body does what it needs to in order to empty itself in whatever way necessary.  The sooner in this onset that I'm able to take the medication, the sooner the symptoms get arrested, and the greater chance I have of escaping the debilitating pain of a full-blown migraine.  If I wait too long to take the medication and the headache has a chance to get a grip, then the whole situation deteriorates and it takes the medication a long time to overcome the pain.  Today was one of those days.

Even after years of experiencing migraines, I still hesitate to take the medication sometimes, thinking that maybe I won't need it, maybe the headache will not be so bad or will go away.  It doesn't make any sense.  I always need the medication.  The headache is always bad.  And, it doesn't just go away.  Or, at least it doesn't just go away before having its way with me.

I've been studying and practicing energetic medicine for many years.  I went to an energetic medicine school throughout a period of two years to study with an amazing healer.  I've taken many different classes over many years and studied many different protocols of energetic medicine and healing.  I did it to heal myself.  I thought I'd be able to learn how to stop the migraines and the other physical conditions I live with.  But, I was wrong.  I think I've affected things and lessened the severity of the symptoms over the years, but I have not stopped them.  What I have done, though, is grow as a person through all of my experiences learning about healing and trying to heal myself.  It has focused me and kept me moving in ways that have been very beneficial.  It has helped me to understand myself and Life in very deep and expansive ways.  It has given me understanding and compassion for anyone who suffers for any reason.

I do believe we create our reality.  Sometime consciously and more often, for most of us,  unconsciously.   The cause of why my migraines happen continues to elude me.  Why they continue to be of value to me is not obvious.  But, continue they do.  What is the wound within me that causes so much pain and manifests itself in the physical as a migraine?  Why am I not able to really see it for what it is?  What is it that I resist so strongly?  What is it that I'm so unable to accept?  What is it that I'm so incapable of loving free?  I might never know, which is something else I struggle with accepting.

So, one is left with learning to live with the pain.  There is a story of Guru Ma healing a leper by licking his wounds; and, as she licked his wounds, they healed.  She healed all the wounds but one, which she purposely left, and when asked why, she said it was because if she healed all the wounds, the person would forget...forget the grace of the healing, the energy of the Life that healed, and the one through whom the healing took place.  But, with one wound still in place, forgetting would not be possible, and awareness and gratitude would remain.  Who are we to question the gifts that we have been given?  Why do we think gifts only come in nicely wrapped packages?

Pain is a difficult gift to receive and accept.  Pain does not usually engender gratitude.  Pain is a partner to whom surrender is a struggle.  But, we must learn to dance with it none the less.  I struggled with the pain of my migraine today for hours before I was able to just let go and be with it, at which point I fell asleep.  Finally.  The sweet escape of deep sleep.  And, when I awoke, hours later, the pain was gone.  I awoke to that sweet moment of the pain having stopped.  Such grace.  And, through the struggle and release, the surrender to the dance with darkness, I reached a place of peace.  One step closer to awareness.  One step more into alignment with the truth and value of the pain.  One step farther into acceptance.  One step closer to love.  Some days the window opens.  Some days we're able to see.  Today was one of those days.