I saw a funny one on Facebook the other day that tickled my funny bone – water is good for you so I started my day off with water … heated up … in a mug … poured over fresh roasted grounds … coffee, OK – I had COFFEE.
Sipping coffee in the morning before 5am, slowly waking surrounded by the gentle warm waters of the hot tub, gives me time to think. I thought how fragile the human body is … water just a few degrees warmer or a few degrees colder can be uncomfortable and water that is icy or water that is near boiling will kill us.
It seems like there is a healthy range for everything … too much money and too little money, too much power and too little power, too much pleasure and too little pleasure … and I guess the same goes for too much pain and too little pain.
Too little pain and we aren’t pushing ourselves enough to our limits – to change, to stretch and to grow is painful in it’s own way. Too much pain and our whole body physiology changes and sets up a new pain pathway.
It’s hard to describe chronic pain to those who don’t have it. And for those who do, the manifestations are all different, but my chronic pain is like physical PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
You’ve heard of the torture where you are given an electric shock … you have been shocked and it’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt and you can see the person holding the shock button. You watch them with fear, wondering when the next wave of pain will be delivered.
Chronic pain is actually like that. You didn’t have control of the initial cause of the pain and it was horrible. It created a pain memory that is unable to be forgotten. There is anxiety because you don’t have control over when the pain comes. Fear is also mixed in because you don’t know when or how intense the pain will be the next time. There is the memory of the pain constantly replaying in the depths of your subconscious mind, sometimes surfacing, sometimes just below the surface. That memory is like a trigger of it’s own … the nerves seem sensitized to deliver the next pain cycle. And then there’s the actual pain from the rawness of whatever happened. It’s all mixed together, all feeding on each other, making even something small into something much worse.
But I’m interested in learning how to break the pain cycle so my body can come back into balance and I can push through the little pains of life and stretch and grow and change with adaptability. Of course if you’ve been following me, you know I use warm water to help with pain, and plant and animal therapy too.
And I’ve come to a place where my body is feeling good again, so I decided to take a women’s self-defense class this weekend … 3 hours of commando defense training. It stretched me to my limits and I wondered if I made the right decision when I twisted my neck out of a sideways headlock position. I’m aching a little bit but so far it’s not triggering the chronic pain response.
But the whole combination of experiencing the limitations of my human body and knowing there are bad people out in the world led to this mornings contemplation of how fragile we really are here on this earth … fragile to the power of nature, fragile to the evil of others, fragile in our own accidents. I found myself holding my breath for a moment and then I gave it over to God. My strength is not really my own, my real strength is in my spiritual connection to God.
I don’t have control of everything and that causes an anxious feeling until I remind myself that we are all in the same boat. We are all on a brief journey through time and we all die. I can’t control everything that happens but I can concentrate on how much good I can do before that happens. Mind, body, and spirit … I was in touch with all 3 this morning. And with a good cup of coffee, it has been a good start to the day.