A Bad Pain Day

I hurt. Everywhere. If I focus on any part of my body, it aches. Some more than others.

chronic painPain eats away at my body, chaining my limbs with exhaustion and making the smallest movements a monumental effort. I get out of bed through sheer force of will. I eat only because I know my body needs the fuel, not because I’m really hungry. Nothing is appetizing, and nothing tastes good. Today, ibuprofen merely takes the edge off, making it possible for me to go watch my son take his test and receive his yellow belt in karate.

Thankfully, after going back to bed for four hours, I feel better. My pain level has decreased enough that I can be up and at least sitting at my computer. And also, very gratefully, I don’t have bad days like this too often. I have far too many friends for whom this is a daily, or almost daily, occurrence.

It is frustrating when my body hurts and I am not physically able to do the things I would like to be doing. It is frustrating that pain is virtually invisible to others, even my loved ones who know me the best. There’s no meter on face that shows my pain level. There’s no broken limb or bandages to indicate an injury. The only outward sign is how slowly I am moving, and the occasional grimace on my face.

As I said, most days aren’t this bad, thank goodness. However, because most days the pain level is manageable, when I do have a bad day, it’s harder for some to believe that I’m truly in pain. And it can be harder for me to accept my limitations on high pain days.

Chronic pain also makes recognizing and dealing with acute issues more challenging. Because I live with pain every day, I don’t always recognize when something is wrong. That’s how I didn’t realize I was having problems with my gall bladder for almost a year. On the other hand, sometimes the acute problems are more intense than for others, because the base level of pain makes the addition of anything worse.

I’m not sharing this for pity, or advice. I have strategies for dealing with pain. I share this so that those who have never dealt with chronic pain can have some understanding of what those who deal with it daily go through. And have compassion for those who say they are having a bad day.

In the words of Shane Koyczan:

…the most valuable thing I ever learned was to believe people when they say “Please.”

This is my voice, there are many like it, but this one is mine.

~Shane Koyczan, This is My Voice

And sometimes, your voice just needs to be heard.



Time Destroys All Things

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

~One of Gollum’s riddles for Bilbo in
The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkein

I had an insight this week while I was meditating on Kali. One of the places I researched is, of course, Wikipedia.

The name Kali comes from kala, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means “the black one”. Since Shiva is called Kala – the eternal time, Kali, his consort, also means “the Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, Kali is considered the goddess of time and change.

Besides the nature of so many of the images we have of Kali, could this be part of the reason we in the West are afraid of Kali? Our society seems to value youth and beauty above all else (except money). We create endless products to slather on our skin, ingest into our bodies, or worse, go under the surgeon’s knife in an effort to preserve the appearance of youth. The media constantly determines what it beautiful for us, and women in particular starve and torture themselves to be more like the images we are shown. And yet all of these, youth, beauty and money, vanish in time.

eyetimeAs a Goddess, Kali is eternal. As time, she really is “dancing the world to destruction” because everything eventually crumbles and decays. Her dance goes on, heedless of our protests or pleading.

The only thing that stops Kali’s dancing in myth is Shiva – in one story he stops her by laying down beneath her feet, and in another version he turns himself into a baby and his crying interrupts her. For me, time seems to stand still when I am with my lover. And nothing else matters when my child is crying.

In both of these stories, love and compassion stop the destructive dance of time. Through the eyes of love, all things are made beautiful. Age no longer matters. And looking with compassion, I am able to find beauty in (almost!) every experience.

My heart is full to overflowing from these realizations. I wish you much beauty this week!