Today I am sick of writing. We all have days like this. Mine is accompanied with a lot of physical pain. What started as seemingly a simple upset stomach last Wednesday turned into a full blown attack. I had some writing I wanted to do, so I have struggled to carry on, as much as possible, through the pain. It has been a challenge and when I am in pain, my mood deteriorates. I work at not judging the experience, but it tires me out and, like a baby, when I am tired, I get cranky.
I find it hard to be grateful when I am in pain and struggling to carry on. I get resentful and think “why me?” I know the answer is “why not me?”
Life is a game. We get dealt things in life. A friend reminded me that God never gives you more than you can handle. I remember Reverend Jesse, my classmate at seminary took issue with that statement. It dismisses the very real mental health challenges that adversity can bring. He had two sisters who committed suicide. Life had given them more than they could handle. I have lost a lover and two dear friends to suicide. Life does hand out more than some can handle.
I think about what it means to deal, to handle things. It really comes down to coping skills and support. Some people have mental illness that makes coping more difficult. I am grateful that I do not have a mental illness and that this practice creates positive neuro pathways in the brain that helps me cope.
If you are struggling to cope, reach out. If you need it, find a suicide hotline and talk to someone. For those suffering depression, please seek help. No substitute for medical attention for the seriously depressed, gratitude practice can help.
And, it works for those simply in a funk, too. When I began, I found it impossible some days to think of anything good in my life. I thought of my pillow, a hot shower, dry weather and a lot of times, I thought of soup. I promise you that if you keep working at it daily, it will help you cope. It will not guarantee you more money or health, but it will help you cope with the challenges that life has dealt you. And by being more grateful, evidence suggests that relationships can improve and you may find you are no longer playing the hand you’re dealt, alone. If you’re struggling, please don’t give up. This message to you can count as one of your three things today. You can find two more. I know you can. Make it a game and enjoy the seeking. Maybe you can make a bowl of soup. That always helps me.
I am grateful that I have mindfulness training that helps me observe, without attachment, meaning and judgement, the physical sensations in my body. And I am grateful that I got out to see Kt- on Sunday and he was back in good spirits. He made me laugh several times and it was a joy to laugh with him, both because it was good to see a weight lifted off him and because it lifted a weight off of me, as well.
At times over the past few days, I have had to stop and meditate through the pain. In those moments, all my attention becomes focussed on the now and the now is filled with physical pain. I become one with the physical sensation of the pain and in that Oneness, I allow the sensation to just be in my body. When I give up resistance and struggle, the experience transforms and the pain that is a part of me becomes, if not an ally, at least, it is no longer my enemy. I am less tired when I no longer have to fight the pain, in every moment.
Over the past few days, I have struggled to write a couple of pieces of writing which will benefit others. And, although it has been incredibly difficult, I have preserved. That, and this piece, is my service for these few days.
If life is a game, maybe it isn’t meant to be won, but to be played, to the best of our ability. Those abilities may change from day to day, but as long as I can lift my iPad mini, I will keep showing up to the plate and taking a swing. I hope that you will, too.
And so, I turn it over to you: