not medicating pain

we have a general notion in our culture that pain is to be avoided.  when it comes to the biggest kinds of pain-- surgical pain, pain from a major accident, debilitating chronic pain-- i am in full agreement.  but what about the every day pains that we all experience?  what about the pain of sleeping funny and ending up with a stiff neck, or the pain of making a difficult decision, or the pain of dealing with something that feels out of our control in our lives?

we tend to medicate.  we medicate with ibuprofen, we medicate with wine, we medicate with facebook and netflix-- we do what we need to to lessen or take away the pain.

yet pain is the body's way of giving us a message that something is going on with us that we need to pay attention to.  if we have a headache, it may be that we need new glasses;  it may be that we have been looking at the computer for too many hours;  or it may be that we need to take a look at our stress level and really do some thinking about how best to proceed in the big picture of our lives.  in order to truly listen to the pain and what is being told to us through the pain it seems to me we need to surrender to it-- accept it and be in it and listen-- rather than fight against it.

the aches and pains of the heart seem to be no different.  when we are feeling blue, experiencing angst or ennui-- having a glass of wine will definitely make a difference, though not always a positive one.  pausing, listening, taking time to be in the pain and consider what is really causing it-- that seems to me to be the best course for addressing whatever it is that is causing the pain in the first place.

sometimes, of course, there will not be an answer.  sometimes we are in pain for reasons that are outside of our control.  sometimes it is the very uncertainty of life that causes us pain.  and yet-- even then-- making friends with the pain rather than trying to mask it or make it go away will often best help us to understand what is going on in that moment.

does it sound like i just had dental work?


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