Opportunities in Our Pain

Whatever happens in our lives, there’s opportunity to learn.  Often we get so caught up in what’s happening we lose sight of the big picture.  We let the pain, trauma or drama define us instead of holding on to the definition we have for ourselves.  We create more problems focusing on our problems.  When we focus on what we can learn and the possibilities inherent in what happens we have more opportunities and the problems work themselves out with time as they normally do.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, I recently broke a rib.  I can feel pain with every breath and when I cough, the pain is overwhelming.  I’m trying to recover from a cold that had an associated cough.  I could focus on the pain and how the situation sucks.  I could focus on my klutzy nature that allowed the rib fracture to occur, but, why?  I find it no good to focus on such things.  When I go about my business, the pain recedes into the background.  It’s still there and continues to act as a reminder of not just my mortality but my complacency towards being aware of my body and it’s position in the world.

The fact is, we all need to be aware of what we’re doing even if it’s going out to pick up some dog doo.  Paying attention to the details is something we have to do to be safe. Details make us successful.  Details are the art of life.  I didn’t pay attention to walking outside in my flip-flops and walking on the edge of an raised platform.  I didn’t pay attention to where my weight was in my foot.  I allowed myself to be distracted by something I saw in the neighbor’s yard.  Gravity took hold and my little tumble sent my chest crashing into the edge of the ramp I was walking down. Ouch!

The situation is ripe with opportunities for learning.  My wife and I discussed putting up a railing to hold on to as she has slipped on the ramp when it was icy in the winter.  I’m reminded of the need to do more body work and practicing martial arts which helps with body awareness.  Every breath and movement allows me to be aware of just how much the ribs are involved our moment to moment activities.  The tickle in my throat is an opportunity to find the stillness within, that meditative state where I observe and choose what to do with my body.  When I do cough, I have the opportunity to focus all of my attention on coughing deeply to clear my lungs while staying as relaxed as I can with my chest.  When I focus on all these opportunities, the pain becomes secondary.  It’s still very much a part of my current experience, but it does not define me.  And in doing so, I can go about my life in a more relaxed and joyful way like I normally do.  Of course there are moments, the pain is overwhelming, but it’s just another opportunity.

painful opportunity
pain, trauma and drama are just opportunities to learn provided we don’t allow the pain to define us.

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