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,




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





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

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. (-:

  2. Julia you are an angel yourself so the whole world look rewarding to you. This comes out of your absolute positiveness and faith in mankind. You are the ambassador of goodwill. God Bless you.

  3. Dear Julia,

    I have read your book, been in awe of you for many years, belonged to “Circle of Life” (was it?) back a few years ago, and even met you with my kids and niece (who wrote a paper about you and Luna) when you were in Madison about 12 years ago. You are such an inspiration to so many people and tonight you inspired me in a whole new way! I never knew about your pain until I read this post and I am so sorry for you because I totally understand how pain can affect one’s life.This story touched me deeply and brought me to tears, (I tear up easily as well).

    I have a rare chronic genetic open-wound disorder. Basically, people with my disease have open wounds, much like 2nd-3rd degree burns, all over our bodies 24/7. Our skin cells are defective and so our skin doesn’t hold together or heal like normal skin. Sweat and friction makes it worse, and we are constantly battling infections and not sleeping due to pain and itching/discomfort. Over the years I have had to give up everything physical that I love…backpacking, xc and downhill skiing, gardening, dancing, swimming in lakes and rivers, canoing, kayaking, biking, certain jobs and lately, even walking. My oldest son remembers how I used to be and how active we were together as a family, but my youngest was too little when I started to get bad.

    As you well know, it’s like being a prisoner in one’s body but I am frequently amazed by the blessings having an illness brings…and as you said, the “human angels” that cross my path and enlighten me on my journey. I have developed such empathy for people in pain whether it be physical or emotional…pain is pain! I could go on and on, and it is a struggle, but I have learned that to see the disease/pain as a gift makes it so much more bearable.

    So, dear girl, my heart goes out to you. As I drove home from work on this rainy day, I couldn’t stop noticing the intense beauty of the trees on my way, still bare, but soon to burst forth with new buds…new life! And as I gazed around me, I marvelled at the incredible miracle of life! Even with pain…it is a joy!! A miracle!! Life…

    Thank you for this wonderful post Julia…
    Be well,

  4. LOVE YOU!!!

  5. Sending healing thoughts your way as well Sherry!


  6. Omg… I’ll help you. where you at? It’s been 2 years… time for some real bodywork.

  7. Such a beautiful post. You reminded me that there are miracles everywhere if we slow down enough to look for them. I hope that the pain you suffer can be lessened if not eliminated soon. Sending love and blessings to you! Karen

  8. Thanks Jet. i am on the road in full-on travel mode. i am feeling better. Thanks for thinking of me ; )



  9. Love it Julia. Love it! Thank you for sharing this inspiring, everyday miracle. There are angels among and within us. : )

  10. This is a beautiful story, Julia. This reminds me of a time when I drove you to Sausalito from Oakland. It was on my way, as I was going to SF.

    You said many times, “you don’t need to take me all the way to Sausalito. I can take the bus from SF” (fyi, you had a huge bag. luggage, really.)

    You were very insistent and many times you said, no really I can take the bus from SF. And for a moment I almost considered it, as I didn’t want to make you feel bad. Smiling as I remember this. 🙂

    Then I thought, no, *I* need to be insistent. There is no way you are taking a bus from SF to Sausalito with a huge heavy bag! AND I thought (it is funny how I’m remembering the small things.. ) I thought “if she can sit in a tree for 2 years, the LEAST I can do is drive her to Sausalito!” 🙂

    So I dropped you off in Sausalito. And… when you got out of the car, you said…

    “Thank You” And I said “You’re Welcome” although what I truly meant was, “My joy and pleasure.”


    Kelly (Lierly) Kim :))

  11. Hola, Julia, el dolor es la parte visible de un gran iceberg, entiendes? es un tema muy complejo pero hay tecnicas que enseñan a utilizar el dolor para eliminar las impurezas del cuerpo. Si te interesa el tema yo puedo ayudarte. Un saludo muy cordial desde España, Barcelona.

  12. Thank You Kelly! ; )

    i have had such a hard time learning to receive people’s kindness and generosity. ; )

    Thanks again for that loving support all those years ago, for all the ways you have been a support over the years, and for this lovely post!



  13. No estoy seguro pero creo que has respondido a mi comentario, aunque lo has hecho con un poco de ironía, no importa. Como no te conozco no puedo opinar, aunque después de lo que hiciste no me extraña que estés escarmentada. Puedes reirte de mi si quieres pero te aseguro que el dolor es una puerta de dos direcciones.
    He escrito un libro bastante chulo en el que hablo de todo esto, te gustaría leerlo? si te apetece te puedo enviar una copia. Está escrito en castellano, claro.

  14. Pain is intensified by aloneness. It is always and easily mitigated as we step outside our own need to meet the needs of others. Thank you for sharing this story, Julia.

  15. it’s really touching dear see you seen the positive sides over pain…
    ..its allways a brute force in life… allways bitter to handle…
    but you heard some sweetness in it… 😉

    but what especifically, as far anyone told you,
    it comes from due to bone and structural issues?

  16. You need to keep a bag of frozen peas on hand. If you have a food saver or seal a meal gadget you can mix 1 part alcohol to 3 parts water, this gets tricky but it is do able just seal the bag carefully & freeze then it is on hand when needed. They lay flat so not to take up too much freezer room. Take care you are well love by so many.

  17. This is what I’ve written today as an explanation to all the lessons I had to go through
    It is a speech between me and me

    “..Learning is always painful
    Learning a lesson is always something difficult because one has to move from a stage of ignorance, regarding a certain thing, to a stage of knowledge, regarding that same thing
    That “new” thing is to be stored, incorporated, embodied
    It takes effort ; and the lesson is as much more challenging as you’re far away from learning it
    If you are very unripe about it, the lesson is very heavy
    But there is no need to carry with us the burden of the memory of the “effort” or “pain” suffered to learn
    It ‘s like riding a bike or learning to swim or learning a new language, it is useless to sit there and think about the effort it took to learn that particular thing
    Each step requires an additional effort, the more mastery and skills are required, the greater the effort
    You have learned that lesson, you’re enriched, your individual progress is advanced, this is what is important
    Man is an individual always destined towards progress and evolution
    Okay, you’ve accumulated so many lessons and, along with them, much pain
    It was inevitable otherwise you could not grow .. without pain, nothing “remains” inside, doesn’t it ?
    You’ve been called to change several things and you did it, you’re still doing that
    And do not look for the reason “why” this has happened and what are the lessons that you had to go through, they are part of your journey up to your complete “healing process”
    Now keep with you what you have learned, it is your gathering that will stay with you for ever
    Forget the past, look forward!
    Do not ruminate on what has happened, you have been taught something.. that’s it !
    Now that you have learned, go ahead, look ahead..”

  18. Hello Julia,

    A friend of mine framed a newspaper clip and picture of myself discussing “The Legend of Luna” to a group of middle school kids back in 2001. It’s been hanging on my wall ever since, and in between all those years, I’ve held a special place for you in my heart.

    Although my duties as a mother, caregiver to my ailing mom, and all that goes with having to fund a family have kept me from following up on you and your journey, I have felt your presence all along.

    This morning, curiosity got the best of me, and I came across your blog. I read your most recent post with tears flowing in yes, gratitude, but also in understanding. For when the trials of life get the best of me is when I bear witness to the love and care that even total strangers offer. Most recently, a man (many miles away) whom I’ve only spoken with on the phone, erased a bill that my mother incurred when she became very ill. He didn’t know me from anyone, but he did what he could to ease life’s burdens, and in doing so, reignited a faith in humanity that I at times I struggle to find.

    It’s an interesting, humbling ride, this life. Thanks for being here.

  19. So happy to hear of the angel in your life Karen!

  20. Jesus, not the universe.

  21. Hey, Nope. “Jesus”to you. “Universe”to me. “Buddah”to others. And “Allah” to others and “Jahewa” to others. It is highly destructive to demand that all people relate to the Divine in the exact same way.



  22. Hi, I check your blog like every week. Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up!

  23. Hi Julia,

    I read this post and then I read your previous post… the one you warned might offend folks. It didn’t offend me.. in fact, I agree with you wholeheartedly. It must have been harsh growing up with Christian hypocrites, when you’re a person of such loving feeling and integrity.

    However, I was so struck by something about these posts, that I thought I’d write to you. You said “ 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! ”

    Your mention of ‘throwing up’ in that post, after having said in this post that the pain made you want to ‘throw up’, made my inner ears prick up. I saw a connection, and I thought “Wow… could it be that the pain Julia is feeling in her body is in truth connected to the pain and rage she feels in her soul against these hypocrites? Could it be that she indeed has created a ‘hell’ of pain for herself to live in in response to their bullshit?”

    Julia, you have set an example of strength for all of us, and we are in awe of your commitment and integrity. You have power, tremendous power. Now, my dear sister, please turn around and look at this situation. The world loves you, I have loved you since I first heard about you living in Luna. I am humbled by your actions, and it takes my own strength to overcome my fear of saying these words to you… but you have invited Angels to speak, and so they shall. My heart pushes me to speak to you about what it sees.

    Here is a link to something which I believe will help you with the pain in your body. It will get to the root of the problem, as it has for tens of thousands of people, including myself. I will post the single link, but this will put you in the right direction. You can take it from here.

    with love,

  24. Thanks Cialis!

  25. Hi Della,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    i am very aware of the mind/body connection and have done a TON of work in this area including the touch technique you shared. The pain i am dealing with i have been dealing with for most of my life. It is due to very real physical issues. My thoughts, of course, impact how well i deal with the pain, but in this instance i talk about in this posting, the pain is 100% from very real physical challenges.



  26. I have a lot of pain issues, due to arthritic spurs in both of my shoulders. I recently read about turmeric on the internet. It seems that turmeric is probably more effective than ibuprofin, for inflammation. Just the ticket for my arthritis. I immediately noticed the difference. I can now throw a ball again, without pain. I take it in capsules, but I am studying how to make jamu kumyit, a beverage that people in Bali make from fresh turmeric root.

  27. Yesterday I opened a dicussion with my brother.. he said there are desires more important than others, attachments less invasive than others..A attachments, B attachments..
    I was pressed to respond.. what a drag !
    What the heck has this idea to do with the truth of attachments ?
    Attachment means only this : false happiness
    I agree, attachment gives great relief, comfort, happiness, sense of self-importance, security, etc.
    And it really can be anything, a beautiful house, money, sex, success, a lovely family, one’s own ego, a beautiful body, etc.
    When we feel good and secure and protected in connection with a given thing, outside of us, we are in front of an attachment
    But this kind of happiness is false because it depends on the maintenance of that attachment
    If it goes away, happiness goes away too
    In fact, attachment means to cling, to hold tight to something, to be “attached” to something
    And if someone tries to take it away or to threaten it, we start to defend and fight
    It is not something that we can avoid, we are called to fight, there is no shortcut or alternative, the ground under our feet crumbles
    Because it is the source of our happiness, we have roots in it
    But the other side of the coin is that any attachment carries dependence, it creates an addicted happiness, we can be happy at the price of becoming addicted to attachments
    And sooner or later we are forced to drop them, if we are to enter truth

    Anyway, we did not get to an agreement, we are still quarrelling over it
    I consoled myself with a short story, found in the web, an american indian story.. it is so tender, it deserves to be watched
    I’ll give you the link :

    All the best and happy holidays Julia
    Ciao ciao

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: