29 July 2014

A Burden Shared

I wrote in yesterday's post about how the prospect of a new (to me) treatment for migraines had stirred up some ambivalence and emotions that surprised me. Today, I will have that treatment at 12 noon.

(For other migraineurs: I have been diagnosed with occitiptal neuralgia, which may or may not be contributing to the migraines but certainly is causing me pain in the back of my head. The treatment is occipital nerve block: an injection of local anesthetic and steroids into the base of the scalp where the occipital nerves come up through the neck.)

The 12-Step program has a saying, "A burden shared is half a burden." In my long acquaintance with the 12 Steps, I have come to appreciate the intuitive wisdom in sayings that may seem, on the surface, to be trite and simplistic. And yet here is yet another instance in which one is proved true.

After writing yesterday's post, I felt relieved. After an email from my sister-in-law, a comment from a dear friend, and a conversation with my husband, I felt heard. And this morning, I feel better than I did yesterday. There's no magic. I am still aware of ambivalence, and am a bit more nervous now that the treatment is just hours away. The change is mostly in how I handle the ambivalence and nerves. Today, I'm able to simply accept them without worry or upset. It's what the Buddhists call equanimity, about which I have posted before. Equanimity offers a spaciousness in life, a perspective that is calm and understanding and, in a weird way, joyful.
Photo by William Marsh

Jesus talked about the peace that passes all understanding, which is surely the Christian version of equanimity. It really is the wisdom of the ages, and how grateful I am that I have been exposed to it.

Thank you for reading this post. You can leave a comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.