Today, I was grocery shopping and at one of those self checkout stations. I was in the middle of bagging my groceries when I suddenly dropped a bag of red potatoes. My breath was forced out of my lungs by what felt like a sharp karate chop across my upper back, that sent lava-like heat all the way around my rib cage to my chest. I froze at the end of that exhale. Suspended. I couldn’t reach down to grab the potatoes I had dropped. I just stared down at them. I think maybe I was making a crazy pain face. When I’m in pain, I get very, very wolf-like. I hide it and I look for a way out. A way I can slink away without notice and lick my wounds, alone. Only this time, a checker spotted me, and asked if I was ok. Of course I said, “yes” and that it was *only* or *just* a spasm. I’m still reluctant to ever say, “no” or ask for help. Aries Moon anyone?
Humbled by pain and unable to lift my own groceries, I accepted some help and was assisted out to my car. Once alone, I sat there remembering: Oh yeah, I walk with this thing called chronic pain and illness. Though sometimes it creeps down and hides so deeply below the surface that I cannot see it and it almost feels lost. Then, it only takes one moment, one second, one movement to remind me sharply of it’s presence. Like it wants to remind me not to get too high, too free or too loose. Like a leash or a seat belt, violently strapping me back to it’s reality. Again.
For the past several months, I have been experiencing less pain, less fatigue and less symptoms overall. I honestly feel that a combination of treatments, including energy medicine and a daily yin practice have really helped manage it all. My classes have been going really well. I have not needed to find subs and have been more consistent with life stuff in general. This may sound simple to you, but it feels like soaring to me.
Presently, this is the type of pain shakes the big and the small stuff right out of you. All plans, the little worries, anxieties, doings and the like – gone. Here I am forced into not doing, but simply being. Occasionally wondering if this new pain will be one that stays or goes. Like I have said before, this causes me to be undeniably present. It’s not a gift. But it is something that demands I pay very close attention to it. I’m listening. Learning to listen is a deep study.
This is something like *pain wisdom*. Not knowledge of, or compassion for, but a true to life, first hand experience of what it means to live with and through physical pain. No amount of magical thinking is going to make it disappear. I cannot green juice or namaste my way out of this. Nor will chanting, or the power of positive thinking change my joints and organs back to the way they were. This is a knocking down and a lying still. It’s also the clawing at, grasping onto and dragging my way back. Not allowing pain to take away the love or the sparkle or the hope in each inhale. This is time for the real work. I call this Wolf Time.
Sending out so much love and support to everyone else experiencing pain and illness in all it’s many forms. It is by this experience, I continue to be more and more motivated to work with others. May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.