When the pain comes

it grabs my attention. It keeps me from thinking, from interacting with people. It’s invisible except for the grimace or the sadness or fear on my face. I am afraid it will last anywhere from 2 to 10 days like it does when this happens randomly about once a year. I want it to be invisible because I don’t want people to know and feel sorry for me and make me the center of attention, and I want it to be visible and for people to know so they can feel sorry for me and help me and make me the center of their attention. Pain screams out for that.

For me being recovered from chronic pain doesn’t mean it never happens. It doesn’t mean there isn’t fear or distress when it happens. It does mean it happens less often and less intensely, and when it does I can take care of myself and I can usually function. That doesn’t mean I have to do it by myself. Sometimes get help. I don’t have to depend on the help. I can use it to continue to work on my self and know my self. Nowadays it’s fashionable to use chemicals to change our chemistry and our consciousness. I prefer to use my thinking and to work on my self.

Yesterday when the spasms in my back started I did a practice that my teacher Bruce taught us the other day. It’s kind of like imagining patches you put on different spots around your body. The patches do what I need them to do. I need them to quiet the nerves that are causing the electric jolt stabbing my back. My Alexander Technique practice helps me to put the patches on one after another and all at the same time and to get them to work. An hour later I feel knocked out, drugged, as if id taken a muscle relaxant. I lie on the floor because that’s all I can do, I can’t even move.

After a while I begin to move around slowly as if drugged. I rejoin the group for lunch, slowly bringing my spoon up lethargically, relaxed. Throughout the afternoon as I stay with the group the spasms begin to fade. I can function.

We go on our final walk together along the Abiquiu Lake, I activate the “extended release“ of my imaginary patches. I renew them over and over. I begin to lose my drugged lethargy and move more freely, my arms swinging and my shoulder blades gliding over my ribs.

The spasms seemed to go away. I was afraid to think they had. It could come back and jab me when I’m not expecting it. Ah there was one again… but minimal.

When we get to the rocks to sit I was afraid to sit but I lay down on a warm rock to rest and talk with the group. And the spasms didn’t come back.

Before we headed back Bruce told me about how his teacher would tell him about how simple and easy Alexander Technique is when he was working hard. I thought I knew that. But on the walk back I had a revelation. The spasms were gone and I began to put my body back into its usual way of being, it’s usual mode of operation. And I realized I didn’t have to. I could keep the patches on. And I felt the easiest in my body I’ve ever felt. That’s what they’re talking about. I think im beginning to get it.

Wishing you calm power,


p.s. If you’d like to read some of my other musings from my time at the Grace of Sense walking retreat, click on the links below:

Writing from New Mexico: blog 1

Discovering beauty

Walking in my body