Fourteenth in a series
We who live with chronic pain feel powerless a good bit of the time. Not only can we not control the pain -- it is chronic: by definition, out of our control -- but we are disabled in aspects of our lives that pain-free persons take for granted: travel, work, exercise, daily and basic choice. It's worth a good whine every now and again, and I do indulge, as my husband can attest. But one cannot whine very long without seriously damaging one's self-esteem. So, what is left to us chronic-painers?
The same thing that is left to every other human being on this planet, that's what is left to us.
Long before I began living with migraine disease, I'd read various authors -- Anthony de Mello, Melody Beatty, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron -- who all said essentially the same thing: when it comes right down to it, the only control any of us have in our lives is the control we exert over how we accept and bear reality.
This being the case, we with chronic pain are no different than any one else. One of the realities of our lives is that we live with chronic pain. It is a difficult reality, no doubt. But we can choose to take it out of the victim-mode of this chronic pain is ruining my life and into the empowered-mode of this chronic pain is a reality I can choose to accept and bear just like every human being.
Suddenly, we don't feel so alone: Our task, our lot in life, is the same as any spiritually-evolving and -maturing person. We don't feel absolutely powerless: We do have a choice.
We can choose how we deal with our life circumstance. We have power over our own reactions. We are in control of our Selves.
Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, makes a case for the human ego being the root of our inability to accept our reality, our Now. My previous several posts have been discussing this. He says that coming out of a mind- or ego-identity (he uses these terms interchangeably) brings us along on the journey to spiritual enlightenment.
Our life circumstance, chronic pain, can become a doorway to our spiritual enlightenment. We can choose to let our pain teach us to live in the Now, to open our hearts to reality, to show us the freedom of accepting what is. And all of the spiritual teachers I know say that this is the path to inner peace, to a loving heart, and to becoming a compassionate presence in this hurting world.
What more could we ask?
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Carol D. Marsh
- With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90 days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.