I gotta be honest…it took me a while to see the beauty in my pain. I’ve felt frustrated with the pain- why now? I’m too busy for this! Fearful- how bad will it get? Will I be able to function? Jealous- so and so doesn’t have this pain, how come they get to just float through life never considering how difficult it is for me? Guilty- I’m ruining the good time. I must cancel another plan. I’m spending too much money on pain relief that doesn’t even work. I’m a burden. And pitiful- I’m alone. No one understands me. No one wants to be around me. I’m a downer.
It never ever occurred to me that there was beauty in my pain and indeed beauty in where it showed up for me. Since diving into the mind/body connection though, I can see how my symptoms correlate to my emotions. Generally, I take on the weight of the world, I feel overly responsible for others and their happiness (co-dependent much?) I am a helper to the n’th degree both for my family and my community. I have literally cried about not being able to be “fun enough” while ON VACATION. One of my driving factors in my PFLAG work is that I want to make my corner of the world better for transgender children and teens…and now that corner is four states big, and let me tell you, it’s heartbreaking work sometimes. I completely felt that if I did a better job, talked with the right state senator, said the right words to the correct person that I could indeed affect the lives of thousands of transgender youths. Is it any wonder that my back hurt carrying all that? It seems predictable in retrospect. When I first started meditating, I would often focus on meditations around calming anxiety. Many of these would involve visualizing what my anxiety looked like. For me the image was always twisting coiling brown smoke wrapping its way around my insides, choking my very breath. Hmmm…who was it who was diagnosed with phantosmia…smelling smoke randomly with no cause? Oh yes, it was me. Beautiful, right?
But observe the process. I don’t have to stop doing my advocacy work (and indeed, I have not) or trying to be fun on vacation or even stop feeling anxious as a baseline. I just have to REALIZE THAT THE EMOTIONS AROUND THOSE THOUGHTS ARE NOT SCARY, ARE PERFECTLY NORMAL, AND DO NOT DEFINE ME. There is nothing to dread here. This allows my whole system to calm down and the fear, pain cycle is interrupted.