You may think I am crazy, and perhaps in some ways I am.
The thought of offering gratitude when you are in pain runs contrary to how we’ve grown up in the world and I was tempted to shy away from this post topic. But, I couldn’t, mostly because that’s where I have been for the last several days.
It’s one of those inexplicable cases where I felt fine one moment and not the next. No obvious precipitating event seemed to lead to my misery.
I simply had progressively worsening pain in my right groin area that made it extremely difficult to move, bend or raise and lower my right leg. As a consequence, I relied almost exclusively on my left side and upper body to carry my weight, causing additional problems.
I’ve had something similar to this happen to me before, but never with as much pain.
I tried to understand why this was happening to me. I recognize this is one of my default settings- needing to know the reason(s) for things in my life. But, I also recognize now how useless pursuing this line of thought is. It doesn’t resolve the problem, takes me away from helpful courses of action and even if I knew exactly how the problem occurred, what benefit would that serve at the moment?
So, I tried to take a step back and accept that something had happened and it was now up to me to choose how to react.
My first thought was to feel a little sorry for myself because I anticipated that the pain was going to be with me for several days, given how sharp and intense it was.
I’ve learned to try to follow my natural reactions, but not get caught up and stuck in them. So, I pushed a little further.
Yes, there was pain, but what else. Was there something hidden that could be revealed? Could I discover any reason(s) to be grateful for this experience?
Now that is a challenging question and one I don’t feel I was completely ready for. And yet, I knew it was important to consider it. So, I asked myself, what gratitude exists here for me?
The first thought that came to me was that there are folks who are available to me to help; my wife, chiropractor, doctor, family, friends, the pharmacy. I wasn’t alone in this.
I got into the spirit of this exercise.
Instead of being angry that I didn’t get my usual 7-8 hours of sleep, I was grateful for the four hours of sleep I did get. I was grateful that I would be able to seek medical help. I was grateful that my back was okay, despite the extra load placed on it, which is a huge thing for me.
I thought about the timing of this event and expressed gratitude that it had happened when it did, rather than during my recent vacations. It would have severely limited my ability to enjoy them fully. But it happened after them and long enough before our next vacation, so I have time to recover.
I continued listing reasons to be grateful and allowed my physical suffering to exist, but not to overwhelm me. I admit this takes a certain amount of commitment and concentration, but the value to me has been extraordinary, not only for this episode, but to carry with me into the future.
This idea may seem too challenging and not one you can easily accept, but had I not opened to the idea, I would not have discovered gratitude’s great power and beauty. I ask only that you consider seeing if it might offer you the same.
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2 Replies to “In Pain, Consider Gratitude”
..I absolutely admire how you have put my feelings into glorious words. Your ability to describe with perfect detail is amazing 👏.
…I have several friends who would be able to hear these thoughts. May I share?
Thank you so much for your kind words and yes, of course, by all means share this with anyone you feel might find some value here. Also, please feel free to invite them to come to my website, if you believe they would enjoy it. Many thanks, my dear friend.