Feeling Pain, Having Courage

Recovering from a major physical illness, injury, or condition can sometimes be pretty frightening, or frustrating—if you start believing some of the troubling thoughts you might be thinking.

I’m lying in my bed, that I’ve hardly left for more than five minute intervals to go to the bathroom, for six days now.

I didn’t really know about how some of this process would unfold until actually experiencing it: burning sensations, aching and throbbing, pins and needles, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, muscle cramps, numbness.

Can’t I just skip over some of this part?

An incredible moment here for The Work, on pain, sickness, treatment.

  • this is taking too long
  • I hate nausea
  • I’m afraid of the pain
  • I just want this whole thing to be over with
  • this is sooo deeply discouraging, I can hardly stand it
  • I need to be strong (tough, relaxed, calm)

Fortunately I have also present this part of the Mind that can question my own thinking, this part that is here observing, even while the other part protests.

Is it true that this nausea and pain are awful?

Yes Yes Yes. I hate feeling sick all day, I hate throwing up, and the pain in my leg burns.

Can I absolutely know that its true that what is happening physically here is terrible?

Yes! Although I can feel that I might not know the absolute truth. It may be good that this is all happening, because that’s the way balance comes back into alignment.

I am not in charge of whatever this thing is that’s called sickness, treatment, or pain.

It feels overwhelming in some ways, but not 100%.

How do I react when I believe that I’m afraid of the treatment, the operation, the recovery, the diagnosis, the nausea, the pain, my future physical condition?

Yikes. I’m discouraged, upset. I see images of still being in bed many days from now. I see myself shriveling into a little ball, never coming back to normal life, dying. I get mad at my husband for going to the store for alternative medication too slowly.

Yes, it’s true. I called from the bedroom “you haven’t left yet?!!”

I get sudden urges for the nausea to stop that feel like an emergency. I need the anti-nausea tablet ASAP. I need to stay awake. I keep drifting off. I wonder how long it takes to develop bed sores.

But who would I be without the thought that this is truly terrible, or that I can’t handle it, or that it will never end?

Very softly, there is something that shifts attention to the present rather than the future, and expands. Dishes are being emptied, I hear clinks and jingles of silverware getting put into its drawer. Music is playing in another room. There is a sound of wind in the pine tree out front.

I feel the pressure and support underneath my back of the bed. My eyes scan the room and look again at yellow roses on the dresser.

A beautiful Norwegian calendar on the wall reads “DESEMBER” and I keep having a little joke with myself “dis-member”. I feel fondness towards the crutches leaning against the closet door, my little helpers.

“Now, sweetheart, close your eyes, and go to the place where you are very, very ill. You feel like vomiting. You’re in terrible nausea. Now see if you can locate the place that doesn’t care. The place that really isn’t bothered by it. It’s there. See if you can locate it—the part of you that is unaffected. The part of you that just watches….. It’s a part–no matter how much pain you’re in–it’s witnessing, watching….. That’s the one that cares nothing for control. So let that one grow. It cares nothing for control.” ~ Byron Katie

Without the thought that this is truly terrible, hell on earth, a disaster, uncomfortable…whatever the situation?

Yes, there is a witness. Seeing this situation with a big heart, encompassing it with compassion and Not Knowing.

I turn the thoughts around that feel so stressful:

  • this is taking just exactly the right amount of time
  • I love nausea
  • I’m not afraid of the pain
  • I do NOT want this whole thing to be over with
  • this is so deeply encouraging, I can definitely stand it
  • I need to be weak (tender, anxious, the way I am)

I consider these turnarounds. I love nausea? Really? That just can’t be true, no way.

But what if my stomach and body are giving me a very important message? What if this really is taking just the right amount of time for my own enlightening process?

What if there is something vital, deep and good about finding that place inside that isn’t upset? That can let go of wishing things to be other than they are? 

“My grandmother who passed away a few years ago used to say to me jokingly, “getting old is not for wimps.” She was well aware of the challenges of an aging body, and while she never complained or felt any pity for herself, she knew firsthand that aging had its challenges as well as its benefits. There was a courage within my grandmother that served her well as she approached the end of her life, and I am happy to say that when she passed, it was willingly and without fear. In a similar way the process of coming into a full and mature awakening requires courage.” ~ Adyashanti

Today, I am willing to feel this physical experience that doesn’t exactly seem pleasant. I am willing to trust the unknown, to trust the life force that is doing all this.

I am willing to let go of needing relief NOW. I look forward to directing my thoughts towards the place that isn’t upset, has no concern, the place of peace.

The place that doesn’t believe every thought the mind thinks.

Much love, Grace

8 Responses to Feeling Pain, Having Courage

  1. Be well. You are – and continue to be – an inspiration. And try to remember that this is a temporary situation. As in, ‘this is just temporary.’ Because it’s true:)

    Healing light and laughter sent your way-
    JB

  2. Grace, thank you for sharing from your place or perhaps space of healing. Your openness and honesty in sharing your process continues to inspire me.

  3. Grace,

    Just what I needed to hear today. Things happen in their own good time, but in this case, I do hope it all heals smoothly and quickly for you.

    Love Grace

  4. Grace…
    Thank you for the courage to live your work at the most challenging time. Proof that you really walk your talk. It inspires me to do the same in my own life. I send you much love and healing energy…xo

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