Gifts Hidden in Pain

Hi Friends,

I have been managing moderate to severe pain in my body since I was a teenager due to bone and structural issues.  I have done so much physical therapy, yoga, swimming, bicycling, herbs, tinctures, vitamins, etc… much of which has helped me manage the pain, but nevertheless, I do not remember a completely pain-free day since I was a teenager.

 

Travel always exacerbates the issues, which makes travelling for me a real challenge.  A few nights ago, I was in severely intense pain.  After years of dealing with it, I have a pretty high threshold for pain.  After going three nights with almost no sleep because of the intensity, I was starting to break down and literally started crying.  I was exhausted beyond belief and the pain was only getting worse with each passing moment.  I went out in search of a place that would be open at nearly 11pm that would have some kind of relief (a frozen juice can to use as an ice pack for my lower back and neck and some kind of anti-inflammatory as I had run out.)

 

As I rode around from one closed place to another I prayed and asked the Universe to please, please, please help me find a place that would be open and have what I need and to help me get out of the pain that was all-consuming at this point.  I eventually came across a grocery store that was open until 11pm, and I had just enough time to get in—and thank all the powers that be, they had anti-inflammatory medicine along with the frozen juice can.  I nearly started crying again (those of you who know me, know I cry easily) but this time from pure joy and gratitude that some relief was on the way.

 

I walked up to the checkout with my two items and in front of me was a man with about 10 items.  I saw a hearing aid in his ear as he turned to me and kindly gestured with his hands to see if I wanted to go in front of him.  I smiled and looked him in the eyes so he could read my lips, and said, no thank you, I am fine, thanks so much and I signed “Thank You” to him as it is one of the signs I know. 

 

I chatted with the woman who was working the lane as I always try to do to show appreciation and interest in the person.  She asked me if I had their club card to be able to get a discount on the medicine.  I told her, thank you, but I do not as I do not live in the area, but I appreciated her checking.  She looked at me for a moment, smiled really big and said, “Here, I can do this,” and pressed a couple buttons, which gave me a discount anyway.  She looked back at me and said, “That is to go towards helping you feel better very, very soon!”  I was so deeply touched and humbled that she seemed to sense how much pain I was in and wanted to be a positive contribution in some way (just as the man in front of me also wanted to be a positive contribution by inviting me to go first.)

 

The first thing I did when I got out to my rental car was open the anti-inflammatory medicine and took two with my water.  I sighed with gratitude, as I knew it would kick in within the hour, and I would start to have some relief at least.

 

I pulled out of the parking lot, heading back to where I was staying and saw the man from the checkout walking down the street holding his bags.  I pulled over in front of him, rolled down the window and gestured would he like a ride?  He nodded his head and pointed to the direction he needed to go and I smiled and nodded my head yes, so he would know I was ok with taking him in that direction.  (And yes, before anyone decides to lecture me about the dangers of being on my own and picking up a male in the middle of the night, I am all too aware of the dangers, but I have also learned in my life to listen to my gut instincts which have always steered me in all the right directions if I am tuned in enough and clear enough to discern.)

 

He got in the car and signed for each turn as well as made sounds, and I nodded my head each time, so he would know I understood.  He finally held up his hand with the stop gesture and I stopped the car, turned to him smiled, and waved my hand goodbye as I said “Goodnight.”  Even though he could not really speak, his sounds were sometimes understandable and he said “Thank You” in a way I knew that was what he was saying and also signed “Thank You.”  I smiled really big, nodding, and signed “Your Welcome” although what I truly meant was, “My joy and pleasure.”   Although it was dark and not a lot of light in the car, his smile was beaming as he all of a sudden reached over to me and gave me the biggest hug!  As he got out of the car, I smiled to him and waved goodbye.

 

As I drove off, turning around to get back to where I was going, I burst out into tears again, but this time from such profound, humble gratitude.  I had begged the Universe for help with getting out of the pit of pain I was in, and so I was sent two human angels to help.  My interaction with the incredible kindness of these “strangers in the night” had literally pulled me out of that pit.  During my whole interaction with them, although my pain was still very present, it had lost its intense, making me feel like I had to throw up, wanting to die, feeling. 

 

So yes, the Universe had sent me anti-inflammatory medicine and a frozen juice can in the middle of the night to help me get out of the severity of the pain, but as an even bigger bonus, I had been sent two angels, one, in the form of a deaf man who spoke the language of the heart, the purest language for which words are never even necessary. 

 

As I write down this story, tears of gratitude are flowing yet again as I am present to the miracle of this man, the checkout lady, and that moment (I am SUCH a softy!)  I pray that they both receive the loving kindness ten thousands fold that so naturally are a part of them and flows from them. 

 

I am on tour right now and the pain gets harder to deal with each passing year.  But the gift of that experience reminds me yet again of the goodness that is all around if we only participate in it and share it with others.  The more goodness, kindness, compassion, love, joy, and peace we express in the world, the more we can be in the flow of those very same things. 

 

I am reminded that I want to see how many ways I can be an “angel” to others every day.  My invitation and request to you is that you do the same.  Imagine our lives, the goodness and richness available to us and to those around us if we look for ways to be anonymous “gifters” of presence, love, joy, peace, kindness, compassion, and service.

 

There truly are “Angels Among Us.”  And… they ARE US!

 

Love and Gratitude,

 

Julia

 

PS.  Click here to listen to my gorgeous inside and out Dear Friend and Sister Spirit, Jillian Speer and her song “Angel Among Us.”

 

http://www.myspace.com/jillianspeermusic/music/songs/angel-among-us-20176593   

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on April 18, 2013 at 2:45 am  Comments (27)  

Warning: Could Be Offensive To Some

Oh… i had the best intentions… i was going to write every day… well if not very day, then at least frequently… well if not frequently…           …            …………….

And as the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  i guess i have driven myself straight to hell at this point.  

Well, as i told my mother once (who is ultra fundamentalist conservative Christian), “i am glad i am going to hell, because the thought of spending eternity with most of the people who call themselves ‘Christians’ is my idea of hell (and for clarity’s sake, ‘Christian’ being a follower of Christ and yet how few actually follow Jesus’ life and teachings.  i am mostly super, duper down with Jesus–minus a few things– it is his hypocritical followers who make me want to throw up and scream and rage.)  And considering most of the people i admire and enjoy are also going to ‘hell’ according to Christian beliefs, i would much rather spend eternity there!  My kind of place for sure!”  ; )

But unlike my being ok with going to ”hell”, i am not ok with good intentions.  Good intentions without proper follow-through is for people who do not want to take responsibility for their lives or their roles in co-creating their reality and the world they leave behind.  Good intentions without right action and commitment is someone looking for excuses.

So, i am not looking for excuses or a “get out of jail free” card.  i am clear i made a well-intended commitment, and then i am equally clear, i did not keep my commitment.  i have a hundred and one very “good” reasons, but at the end of the day, i am committed to being much, much bigger than reasons and justifications.  i am committed to being a person of my word.  i am committed to being a person of integrity.  And i am clear that when it comes to my word around writing, i 100% failed to be a person of my word.  

i only wish i had a recorder in my head because of the 101 times i have “written” something in my mind.  It is the moving from mind to matter in the realm of writing that seems to be a stumbling block for me.  And yet, i love the writing process.  i love getting outside of myself what is inside so that i might more clearly look at it and learn from it.  And if it makes a positive difference for someone else, then bonus.  But since, i clearly have no integrity around my commitment to writing, i hereby end that commitment.  i refuse to pave any more roads to hell regardless of how fine i am with ending up there.  : )  

It was an interesting experiment.  One at which i failed miserably.  i am glad i tried even though i failed.  Sometimes that happens in life. But, i am committed to being a person of my word and since i clearly can’t seem to keep my word around writing, i must admit my failure and its impact and move on.  

For those who do consider themselves Christian, this past weekend marked Jesus resurrected from the grave.  Stories are very powerful, and i love when stories hold a deep meaning for us.  i do not adhere to the literal translation of the Christian story of Easter, but the mythology of it is poignant and powerful…  death is never an end… it is merely part of an ever-evolving transformation.  Just as in the other-than-human world, death is not an end to something, but rather it is food for something new to grow (think compost.)  So, too, this mythos of the Christ resurrected.  When we bring attention and intention to anything that is dying or ending, what we find is something new that wants to grow, emerge, and transform from the process.  Death is never an absolute end to something unless we miss the deeper meanings and connections that is life.  

So, the end of my commitment to writing is not really the end… it is just the beginning of something new.  What that new thing is has yet to show itself, but i can commit that i am looking forward to uncovering what that is and then committing completely to whatever “that” is.  

Here is to the rebirth possible for all of us when we hold ourselves completely committed to being people of our word and to recognizing that death is indeed an integral part of life.

Love,

 

julia

 

Published in: on April 2, 2013 at 7:33 am  Comments (22)