Coping with Pain…of all sorts

Being alive has it’s own hazards and happinesses.  Pain – physical, mental, emotional – is one of those undesirable yet unavoidable hazards of living.  We all experience it and yet many athletes & non-athletes seem to live with it on a daily basis.  In an interview last week after the first round of Decathlon competition, 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist & US Decathlete Trey Hardee (@treyhardee) from Birmingham said that he’s been injured since 2003 but that’s normal and he was feeling good about his performance so far.  Pain-free is rarely the norm of athletes and even non-athletes of today.

I was reminded of my own journey of pain & healing (repeat) this week when I woke up with a stiff neck and shoulder.  A pain that plagued me from my 25th birthday until last year when I started seeing Dr. Lou Ann Hedden, a amazingly gifted chiropractor in Hoover.  Over the past year the pains left and the strength increased.  I went from 3 visits/week to 1 visit/month over the past year.  Then on July 6, 2012, she suddenly died.  The past 5 weeks have felt like forever and yet I haven’t “needed” anything except moral support.  With the re-surfacing of this “old painful friend,” I am reminded of how much pain I used to be in and how much relief I have experienced the past year.

Now the turning point, I need a doctor again & have a few names from people I trust.  But I feel disloyal, as if she were still here and her death was just a joke, a mistake.  The therapist in me knows this is the DENIAL stage of grief and there is no way around it except through it.  So I cry in sadness and in deep, heartfelt gratitude for how she helped me, then I pick up the phone and call Dr. Ellen Witt to begin a new journey with her and continue on the healing journey I have been on for years.

When the pain comes, let it come in.  And here the words of Rumi…..

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.~ Rumi 

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