Thank You For My Pain

Sometimes it hurts so much to get out of bed I have to sing the gratitude song before I can do it. “Thank you for this day, Lord, thank you for this day, this healing, this healing, this healing day.” It is a beautiful chant I learned at thanksgiving last year when I moved in with mom. I’ll tell you who wrote it at the end of this post. I am writing on my tablet and it’s too hard to switch around trying to find the song on YouTube. I’m such a caveman on the computer I’ll end up erasing everything or emailing embarrassing pictures to Facebook if I try. For now let me just tell you it is a chant that has served me well; I sing it when I’m happy and when I’m in pain, when I’m scared, grieving, worried, despondent–whatever human experience I happen to be having, I sing that song.

It is possible to be grateful no matter how miserable a person is feeling. In fact, gratitude may  be the very medicine for what is causing the misery.

Sometimes it’s not the stuff that is happening that hurts as much as it is our running away from it. We don’t want to have a headache so when we get one we start freaking out and adding all sorts of worries to it like, “Oh no, how am I going to climb Mount Everest now? Or How will I mow the yard, go to work, feed the masses, wash the dishes.” And so on. So we fight the pain.

Here is what a wolf in a vision taught me to do. I had been having one of those days and I was crying. In my mind’s eye, I saw a black wolf walking in deep, white snow. He was entering a thickly wooded forest. He turned and made eye contact with me, his breath curling blue into the air. I understood that I was to follow him, to walk in the steps he made in the snow. It didn’t matter that he was a wolf and I am human—it was a vision where anything can happen. I understood what he meant. I knew that I was to follow my pain in exactly the same way: carefully, mindfully, each time I take a breath, I need to notice the pain. Where is It? Is it hot? Cold? I try to describe it and ask if it has something to tell me—a message of some sort. Then, when the pain disappears, I am home.

We go out and then we come home again, following our pain or our bliss. Maybe when we realize this we will realize that we never left home at all. Maybe it has all been “home” after all.

It is amazing where the pain leads. I usually worry that pain will prevent me from doing the most important thing, but time and again I have been proven wrong. When I follow where pain leads, I find my life’s sacred path. and It is the same path that I walk when I follow my bliss.

Stay on the path. Let’s go home together. What stories we will tell!

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