When one learns to live with pain, one takes a chance that the grip on one’s life necessary to live with pain will become a living appendage itself. In fact, it is not just physical pain, but cognitive, emotional, and spiritual pain that become a living part of us. When this happens, divesting ourselves of than pain can be tantamount to an amputation.
Shortly after my “hip-replacement” surgery and I was no longer feeling the pain in my hip that had become a regular part of my life for nearly four years, I was suddenly overcome with emotional release. It did not last long, as I had lots of other pain to deal with, but I trust it was a clue about what was to come—what I’d need to release to actually be well.
I remember wellness, I remember the freedom of it, the joy, the wonder. It is amazing to have so much energy so freed up—it’s like winning the energy lottery. But I took on a kind of mortgage, an energy payment drawn from wellness to manage pain. In this case it was necessary, in many other cases, it is not.
I know people who are consumed with responsibility—taking care of business. The problem is it is a truncated responsibility as it does not seem to include taking care of them. I know people who could care less about responsibility, to themselves or to others. The problem is that outlook takes energy from well-being simply because so many of the things we ignore on a regular basis don’t actually go away. When one sweeps problems under the bed, the problems are still there.
And then there is control. It seems to me that we are obsessed with control. Somehow being able to control issues is deemed as powerful. If we can control, we can predict. Those are powerful columns—support beams in our house of cards. Here’s the problem: Control takes a lot of energy and is often unnecessary in the first place. Like the principle in martial arts, one’s energy is much more efficiently allocated by going with the established momentum. If someone is charging you, no need to charge back, best to use their energy for your own behalf.
The point is that energy works best when it is allowed to flow freely. Control as we practice it is akin to blockage. Control works best when we learn to move with the particular wave we’re riding. In other words, one doesn’t control the wave, one controls their ability to ride it. What we do is try and control the wave itself. There is a difference between getting a grip as in being cohesive and getting a grip as in clamping down. Okay for the former, ixnay on the latter.
I’ve spent some time managing pain and think I’ve done a fairly good job at it. I’ve not done so well in other areas by clamping down rather than going with it—without resentment. A positive benefit of this surgery is not just the release of my hip pain, but a return to letting energy flow freely and riding it rather than being swept by it. We all need to keep in mind the pattern of rhythms—things come and things go and the real trick is to be in the right place at the right time. There is joy in that skill, and a release from so much that holds us back, that makes us as clumsy in our manifestation as a new-born. Only in our case, it just isn’t cute—it’s pathetic. I’m not saying we won’t have troubles to ride, just that we won’t add to them.
Here’s to keeping our slate clean, but our awareness sharp.