Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: pain

Struggling Thru Pain

Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

You know what?

There is no lifestyle or choice you can make that will bring you a life with no pain or struggle.

Life is pain and struggle.

We all work through it our own way. Cry. Scream. Rage. Isolate yourself. Do whatever you need to do to ease it as it passes through.

And then get up and keep going.

Watch for the sparks of joy and happiness along the way. Blow them into tinder and watch them dance in the flames for a bit.

The pain will come back again, but so will the joy.

Pain, Cats, and New Books!

cat, books,

My Shadow, Abe

Back in September, my sweet husband, in an attempt to help me, bought me a Chromebook to write on. I had complained over the summer that between him talking to customers on one side and the boys and their antics on the other, I just couldn’t focus at my desktop in my office. If I had a laptop, I could take myself out to the trailer and lock the door. Alone in silence, without the distractions of, “Where’s the butter?” “Have you seen my red shoes?” and “Have you tried deleting the app and reinstalling?” maybe I could better focus on writing and make a go of this author thing. Laptops are expensive just to buy for an experiment, so he got the Chromebook as a test. If taking it out to the trailer alone proved to be helpful, then it would make sense to buy a better laptop for me to use.

Now, before you get disgruntled with my husband’s lack of confidence that I NEEDED the laptop, I’m notorious for wanting to do things and then getting bored or losing interest. We’ve been married for twenty years and known each other much longer. He knows me, sometimes better than I know myself. Once again, he made a good decision in going cheap before jumping in with both feet, but not for the reason we thought!

Since the beginning of November, my right elbow and wrist had started hurting. I’m not talking a little. It has been painful to the point of tears. After attempting to scoop cookies out onto a tray for Christmas, my arm was shaking in pain. Ibuprofen did nothing, but CBD oil helped a bit. It would start to subside but come back in full force anytime I forgot about it and reached to grasp and turn anything with my right hand.

I was becoming discouraged, to say the least. I thought it might be arthritis. I am getting older and the weather at the beginning of November had turned cold and wet suddenly, and it has stayed that way. I was considering going to the doctor to see if there was anything she could do. Maybe I have elbow cancer and there is something they could do to save me if I don’t wait?

These are my actual thoughts. I hate doctors and do everything I can to avoid going, but anytime something hurts, I instantly think it’s the end…but I still don’t see a doctor. I’m convinced that’s how I’ll die. Something will bother me for years, I’ll try to ignore it, attempt to cure the ailment myself, and finally break down and make an appointment. Then they’ll tell me that I have only a few weeks to live, but I could have been saved if I had only seen a doctor earlier.

But I digress.

This morning, when I  sat down to get back to a regular habit of writing every morning (for the sixth time this month), I picked up my Chromebook, set it in my lap, and started on my journal, my wrist immediately started to ache worse than ever. That’s when it dawned on me. You know what else started the week my wrist started hurting? Nanowrimo. It’s the first year that I made the commitment to write every morning from 10am to noon and I was keeping it. By day five, my elbow started hurting and I blamed it on the cold weather and age.

These are the things we do, people. You’d think it would be obvious what’s to blame for our troubles, but we live blind most of the time. I can’t believe I didn’t see that. A friend even suggested that it sounded like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and I just shook my head, “I can’t imagine what repetitive wrist action I do that would do that!” Maybe it was because it started in my elbow and not my wrist?

Today, I’m back at my desktop in my office with the door shut and earplugs in. Not being able to hear really helps. It’s like the world is shut out. The bonus is that I’m right here with my notebooks and more coffee when I need it! Oh, and that cat. He keeps walking over my hands between my face and the screen because he’s a cat and his mission is to drive me bonkers! I’d lock him out but then he’d just scratch up my door to get in.

And now on to what I thought I’d be writing about this morning! I started reading Nick Hornby’s “Ten Years in the Tub” a couple days ago. How is it that I come across just the book I need at just the right time?

I picked the book up at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago, right off the shelf, not even out in the middle with a “Must Read!” sign on it. I was browsing through the shelves and there it was. A book about reading books? A book about what he’s reading and why? It sounded like a decent way to find some new interesting books to read next year!

I’d never heard of Nick Hornby, but when I posted a picture of the book on Facebook, as I do each time I start one, a friend said she loved his writing. Intriguing.

Diving into it a few mornings ago, I was instantly happy I bought it, and even happier that I decided to read it now, in the last few days of the year, even though it’s a fat book and I won’t finish it before January 1st, so I won’t be able to add it to 2019’s book totals. Yes, it’s all about the list and making it look as good as possible.

Speaking of that list, I’m really excited to get started on my January 1, 2020, post! It will be the third year in a row that I’ve welcomed the new year with a tally of the hours, pages, and the number of books I’ve read over the past 12 months. I know you’re looking forward to it! Don’t worry, I’ll compare the previous year’s totals!

Back to Nick Hornby’s book about a reading list! How lucky is this guy to be paid to do exactly what I’ve been dreaming of doing, what I love doing? And then I got sad. He already does it. Why would I do it? But hold the freakin’ phone a moment! He’s a totally different person, from a completely different background, reading entirely different books. What I read, why, and what I think about it, comes from my personal perspective, my journey, my voice. It’s not the same. That’s like saying someone already wrote a book about space travel, so why would I?

Self-talk. It’s what I do.

I’m going to wrap this post up, but before I go, let me just give you a heads up. This coming week, I’m going to post an “Hasta La Vista, 2019!” essay and another about my precious reading statistics. The latest Star Wars movie (and a trip to Disneyland) has inspired some deep Jedi thoughts, but I have to finish watching all the old movies with my son before I see the new one again before I can really do that essay justice, so have patience Padawan!

Last thing, I promise, my goal this week is to post SOMETHING every day of the week, even if it’s just a few words. Prepare yourself to be inundated!

Happy Monday to you all!

Metaphysical Shit

I had a few moments of clarity yesterday while I was talking to a friend online. I thought I’d take it and write something a bit more cohesive, but I really liked my train of thought and wanted to share it as is.

I can’t imagine our loved ones who have passed away, living on “the other side” aware of all our bullshit, passing their time waiting for us to arrive. I refuse.

I imagine that when we die we join the bigger meaning of time as a whole, so we can see all of it at once and understand as God does. We are moving in time, so we can’t fully understand what is going on. We make ourselves nuts trying. But when we die, we go to God (or step out of time).

Those that have gone before can see what we are, our whole lives, all at once. It’s comforting to me. They know what can, has, and will happen all at once and then we’re dead and join them at the same time. There is nothing hidden by the passage of time.

The “taking up into the air” that Jesus spoke of, in my opinion.

That’s the shit I sit and think about.

What next? We can’t really know. We are part of the physical, moving through time. We can’t see outside our own moment. We can’t really remember our physical past that clearly. How could we know the future?

Here’s where it gets even weirder.

You know why I think we are always trying to hold onto the past and plan out the future?

Because we are really are from something outside of time and space. Our soul knows it but our physical self is stuck and can’t see outside of it. I think Jesus knew something of the sort and tried to tell us but we keep putting it back into our physical frame of reference.

So…what to do with it? No idea. I keep trying to enjoy the physical world, love people, regardless of their shit, that “living in the moment” crap people talk about.

Jesus tried to tell us but telling humans what waits for them outside of their reality is like trying to explain what color is to a blind person. It’s impossible unless we use our imagination.

I feel like we missed the point of just about everything He said.

That whole “the grass is greener” thing? It just isn’t. We know that. The better job. The better house. The better anything. Forget it. Unless your life is really shit. But then, how can we ever really know? I go round and round.

Death and all that comes after is outside our understanding and frame of reference. No one can explain it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the life we have now. But then why was this life created? No idea. Can’t know that either, I guess.

What about being with those you love in heaven? Are we some kind of ant farm, or what?

Everything we understand now, like marriage, procreation, today, tomorrow, money, fairness, will be gone. We won’t care or we’ll understand what was actually going on and move on to something else.

I don’t think it’s as simple as comparing it to something we create, like a game or toy.

I believe we are created for something beyond what we can really experience where we are. I don’t know how or why. From my experience on this earth, I just feel it. Too many things make sense when you step back a bit and look at them honestly, too many things are connected and deeper than we first experience.

To me, it’s like this: You can’t explain color to a person blind from birth. He’ll take his imagination and try but he won’t really understand until he can see himself. That’s where we are. Blind. My hope, what I believe from all the spirituality crap I’ve read and tired to understand, is that when we leave this physical place, we’ll be able to see the reality of God, whatever that is.

For now, I keep loving what I have, opening my heart to hear more than words, using my imagination to wonder, and not holding on to anything too tightly because none of us gets out alive.

What’s the purpose? What would God make it so difficult to know Him or living so painful?

I don’t have answer to that. Anyone that does is selling something. I do know that when I began to quiet my mind, spend time meditating, praying, and learning to focus, things were clearer, just out of reach but clearer. I found acceptance of what is. That there is not happy with out sad. There is no joy without pain. They are two sides of the same coin.

Eight years on anti-anxiety medication taught me that part. When I was on them, I wasn’t sad anymore, but I wasn’t happy either. I was neutral. It was not a healthy place to be. There was no growth, nothing got better. It just stagnated.

And then this morning, I came across this in my morning reading:

From the book “Depression is a Choice” by A.B. Curtis: “Nathaniel Hawthorne, in The Marble Faun, posits that sorrow may be ‘merely an element of human education, through which we struggle to a higher and purer state than we could otherwise have attained.’ He suggests that we travel ‘in a circle, as all things heavenly and earthly do,’ in and out of sin and sorrow, and thus return to our original self ‘with an inestimable treasure of improvement won from an experience of pain…bringing a simple and imperfect nature to a point of feeling and intelligence which it could have reached under no other discipline.’”

That doesn’t give us license to inflict pain on others. That’s just cruelty. There are so many painful things in this world naturally without intentional cruelty. Making sure your child learns not to do something by inflicting pain, is not helpful. Helping your child through the natural pain of a choice is.

So here I sit, working through my own anxiety, trying to learn patience. It never ends…well..until you die. Or does it?


“Whenever you suffer pain, keep in mind that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it can’t degrade your guiding intelligence, nor keep it from acting rationally and for the common good. And in most cases you should be helped by the saying of Epicurus, that pain is never unbearable or unending, so you can remember these limits and not add to them in your imagination. Remember too that many common annoyances are pain in disguise, such as sleepiness, fever and loss of appetite. When they start to get you down, tell yourself you are giving in to pain.” — Marcus Aurelius

I never understood this idea until this past weekend when I had a chance to practice it. Funny how that works, I read and study constantly and sometimes I wonder why. Most of the time I don’t even have an agenda for my reading. My books, articles, and podcasts seem to come at random. But then, there I am moving through life, and I recognize a situation and think, “This is what they were talking about!”

I was in a situation this past weekend. What that was isn’t important, but let’s just say it was a typical family get-together. Anyway, there I was, sitting amongst some of my relatives in a restaurant when I began to grow uncomfortable. Too many people I didn’t know, too much being nice, uncomfortable clothes, I really didn’t know what it was. I needed a break, so I excused myself and went outside for air. I texted my husband and we went back and forth a few times. In the past I wouldn’t have gone in the first place or, if I did go, I’d have had an exit strategy, but this time I didn’t have my usual escape plans. I took a deep breath and went back inside.

My escape was blocked, and, in the past, my next behavior would have been to get angry or “piss on” whatever was going on, but I realized something as I sat there, I could choose to just “be there” like the Stoics said. This isn’t unbearable, and I could just let it happen and do nothing, not react. So, I tried something new, something I’d learned from the Marcus Aurelius. I just played along and watched. I let it all wash over me and away. I came home and described everything that happened to my husband, complaining as I went, and then went to bed.

The next morning, I realized that I’d learned something. I hadn’t left and made people feel awkward. I hadn’t lashed out and made people feel angry. I had listened and learned instead. I realized it was only me that felt any pain. It was only in my head that a tragedy was occurring. There was no need to make everyone else feel it. They are not bad people doing bad things, they are just different. We only have different tastes, that’s all.

I’ve been rather estranged from my family the past ten or so years. It’s been difficult, but I think things are changing. I think I’m finally growing up. Maybe the next one will be more fun. I’m hoping so. Family is too important to lose over anxiety and differences of opinion.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: