So, I had a bad pain episode.
In fact, I had the worst pain episode that I've had since I regained my health in early 2011. We were traveling on Saturday, which entailed a lot of walking. Then on Sunday, I took a four-hour yoga workshop with Andrei Ram where I sat on my foot for about an hour, listening. (The workshop was so transformative that I'm still processing it. More on that soon.) By Monday, I could barely place any weight on my foot.
Which, you know, is really, really bad news. I guess I thought I was done with that. I mean, I've had other one-day pain episodes, but nothing like this. I went to yoga, I went to acupuncture, I went back to yoga --and finally, I felt something shift (just as I went into the plow pose) and the pain began to ease.
Just like that, the clear-coated sealant on my nerve endings wore clean off. I felt like I was a giant exposed nerve walking around. Tiny unkindnesses undid me. I was exhausted with trying to hold it together. I could hear the pain in my voice. I could see it in my face.
Pain is such a tricky animal, though. While I think my tolerance for pain --especially that kind of grinding, soul-sucking, relentless pain--has diminished, my coping skills have increased. For one thing, I was able to separate out the hatred I have for that PAIN from hatred for, you know, MYSELF. It's really easy, and I've fallen into this trap before, to hate my body for betraying me in this manner. This time, I managed to stay kind to myself. To visualize healing flowing to my poor, damaged foot. To have some compassion for how hard my body has been working to hang on to the joy and gratitude of my regained health.
What worked for me this time was to picture the pain like a squatter in my house that I couldn't seem to evict, and I was just watching him trash the place. (My pain is a male. I have no idea why. I'm calling him Newt. I'm sure it's a pure coincidence. I'm sure of it.) He kept setting fires, trying to burn down all I'd built so carefully and I was trying not to panic. I kept taking steps that I knew to be successful in evicting him the last time--yoga and acupuncture, and I even took the girls to the garden store to buy plants for this year's garden.
Finally, he left, but not without some last minute nastiness.
I went to bed at about 9:00, exhausted. And at about midnight, I was struck by a really wretched stomach virus. (I'm calling it Santorum...)
It's been quite a week.