There is a fine, fine art to being in pain and not falling apart.
I have had several challenges in the last month. I was facing deadlines,
different areas of my life were flatlining, others were soaring,
it was real.
There are about four things that I have identified that have been
integral to being able to be in pain and not fall apart. They are
faith practices, a community of healing, self care and time.
What ever your faith practices are, you will have to rely on
them a little more than usual and perhaps get into them a little
more intensely than you normally do. When your spirit is sideways,
and you have been brought to your knees, in many ways faith is all
Community of Healing
I don't go to the hardware store for bread, I wouldn't go to the zoo to
get a loan. I try and go to the proper places for the proper help which
means that try and see out folks who are a little more spiritually advanced
than I am when crisis mode has me against the wall. I have about six people
who are more spiritually more grounded than I am who I can reach out to
when I am trying to make sense of something. This is new for me. I learned
last year that I needed these folks in my life, when I saw a friend who had
his own community of healing and realized that he dealt with things entirely
differently than I did, and he was far more sane and stable.
These six people are comprised of friends and family, others are people
in a self help fellowship that I am a member of and then there are folks in my faith
community. In terms of being in pain, the only way through it is through
it, and I hate it. Not above, under or below, but through. There may be
moments where you feel like you are falling apart, and that is okay, it is
a part of the process.
Just like my dear friend and colleague Tracey Rose mentioned
to me today, "You have to sit with the feelings because as long
as you fight them, they continue to get stronger." I was floored.
I looked at the phone, like, she crazy. However, I didn't disagree,
I listened and it helped. I sat with them, listened to some Al Green
and some new Kanye, it was uncomfortable, but ultimatly I felt transformed.
Self care entails doing kind things for yourself. This may be watching
The Cowboys, making cinnamon rolls or going to the movies. There is also
an element of not beating up on yourself when things don't go the way
you expected them. In many ways there is a kind of grace to it. For
me the ultimate self care is a pedicure and brunch, but with the economy
being what it is, the $30 spent on a pedicure and fancy eggs and toast
can used on a cell phone bill, a metro card, or my perpetual
library fines. The general idea is that you take some time to be kind to
Being in pain and getting through it takes time. Giving that the holidays
are upon us, being around family can be both comforting and amazing,
however it can trigger old wounds. Getting through the pain takes time
and in many ways, being around family shows us that if we don't deal
with it, it will be sitting there waiting for us, whether we like it or not,
year after year. The notion that all this takes time is arguably, one
of the most challending for me to deal with, and perhaps for you as
well. For me it entails accepting that I only have control over myself,
my actions, my thoughts. While I may want things to happen in the
time that I want them to, I simply can't make them. Thats a fact of life.
So I struggle. I struggle with sitting with it, getting the work done that
needs to be done, and I am so grateful for when the pain is lessened
a bit. When that happends, it feels like a boot has been removed
from my throat, and dios mio am I grateful.
I hope that these help you. I'd like to hear what you think
about my suggestions.
How do you cope with pain?
The big three, alcohol, sex, rage?
Do you shut down?
If you have tools, who taught you?
Biany, Joseph, Marquette, Matthew, Pathanapong,
Raquel, Salina, Tracey, thank you for inspiring me to write this.