It's Not the Bubble Baths of Life...
...that teach us anything.”
~ Pema Chodron
I recently had the privilege of being in mind-scrambling agony.
Nervy, hot, searing, throbbing, sustained pain.
So much pain that I couldn’t think.
I couldn’t connect with hope. I couldn’t find a single position to be comfortable in. I couldn’t walk, sit, bend (even nod) or stand. No amount of aspirin or ibuprofen could touch it.
I couldn’t sleep. My mind was bent on fear: what will happen if scenarios…. And on the other side of it – having engaged the medicine of healing – I’m so thankful. Thankful it’s over, yes.
But also thankful to have gone through it. Because, as one of my favorite teachers, Pema Chodron, lectured us while teaching on the topic mind management and anger, “it’s not the bubble baths of life that teach you...."
So what did I learn and how did the lessons come?
First, I got a big reminder of what my patients are experiencing when they seek my help. I got the chance to be in their boat, to increase my sympathy and compassion, to identify with how desperate and bleak things can seem and feel.
Second, I got the chance to test and work the system – the medicine I practice every day on behalf of others: Medicine is not something done to us or given to us to swallow. Those are just tools of the healer, efficacious and miraculous as they are. Instead, I believe medicine is the attention we pay.
Healing (which literally means “to make whole”) is a partnership with our potential. Getting well is a matter of offering the materials and cues needed for the body’s innate programming to take over. Medical science is constantly evolving and can explain a good deal about how things work and what goes on in the body.
But healing itself – the impulse to heal, the instruction set, the why of it all, remains a mystery. Every human, indeed every organism, is endowed with an innate intelligence or healing capacity.
We all have it.
And when we nourish that potential, it comes to life and heals us.
Our job is to give it what it needs to get the job done. Positive attention - our healers and rest, food and water, herbs and therapies, and the faith that we can heal - trips the wellness wiring within and the miracle occurs.
We recover. And hopefully, having gone through our pain and illness, our dark days and nights, and come out the other side, we are better stewards and appreciators of the enormous gift of life and health we experience most other days.