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Living with Pain
10/3/2005 4:18:18 AM
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I was asked the other day by a dear friend what had I learned over the past several years since my neuromuscular condition impacted my life. It was a genuine question and quite frankly one which I did not personally address in such a specific way. I thought for a moment continued our conversation until in a flash of inspiration if realized that by living a life with pain I had learned several things. Like many some of the things I learned took years of preparation while others were instantaneous. Some spoke to me in whispers while other shouted so loud I thought everyone around me could hear them scream.
One of the things I learned was that life is not pain free and has limitations be they physical or mental. Many limitations are self inflicted wounds produced by the scars left over from learning the hard way or confronting imaginary dragons of our own imagination. Many of life's pains are brought on by decisions we made and the consequences those decisions produced.
I learned that living with pain causes one to focus on the present moment and shrinks your horizon so that what you see lies only what is around you. The future becomes less important and the past becomes a blur that is impossible to discern. Pain brings about a certain concentration that it can only bring. It's like placing one foot before the other and watching carefully where each foot will land. You begin each day with a can do it attitude because the consequences of hiding from life become too real.
Living with pain causes you to 'feel' instead of think. Your mind no longer functions as it did before pain arrived but instead makes you acutely aware of living from a feeling center as apposed to a thinking center and clears away the clutter that thinking creates. You feel each moment, feel each decision you make, and feel your life as never before. Your thought processes become dulled and they slowly fade and become subservient to your feeling self.
Living with pain also brings about depression, a want for solitude, and a need for understanding. It is understanding that I find the hardest to deal with. What I mean by understanding lies in the understanding of others of the difficulties you face each day. Such understanding is not pity nor is it looking for need but it is the desire to be understood as the total person you are. To be understood is to be accepted for the person you are even with the limitations and frailty that pain brings to your life. It is to be not forgotten or laid aside but to be allowed to function as you can to the fullest possible for you.
Living in pain is a gift in that your world changes as you become a softer and gentler soul who understands the uncomfortable moments in life and works to turn those into moments of inspiration for others. Living in pain has given me a new perspective on life and the importance of loving, caring, and being. Pain can be a beautiful thing if you listen to the lessons it brings in your life. I can also be a living hell if you resist its call or forget to accept yourself as a person of beauty who happens to have limitations and is living his/her life as fully as possible. The choice is up to you.
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