Seems I am on the Right Planet After All

I have never been fond of the practice of finishing someone else’s sentences. Memory reminds I am guilty of it but Just beginning 1014less so in later years. Of course, it depends on who’s having the conversation and the nature of their relationship.

Certainly, some topics lend themselves to a cooperative effort in constructing a conversation, sentence by sentence. Consider the combined effort of Pema Chödrön and Oprah Winfrey regarding suffering and impermanence:

Chödrön: “If you’re invested in security and certainty—

Winfrey: “Then you’re on the wrong planet.”*

Yes, indeed.

For me, in this sentence of combined effort is the essence of suffering. We invest in what is no longer possible, seeking a security in what once was. Pain, physical or emotional, comes, goes and will come again only to leave once more.

That we all know pain in our lives is part of the human experience but whether or not we suffer is up to us. In suffering, we hang onto a discontent, staying with a storyline because it is what we know, a trusted buffer.

Such buffers may just as easily blind rather than reveal. In these last two months, I have removed many blinders and buffers, once trusted tools, as I perceive physical pain with a perspective more consistent with the planet on which I live.

The needles of acupuncture, intent in balancing my Qi (energy), present my physical pain to me. Like the crescendo of a wave, the pain intensifies only to even out on the shore that awaits all waves.

These past eight weeks my physical pain has been high as my body awakens, attempting to return to a balance it has not known in decades.  The pain does not stay and it does return but each time the pain is its own new wave, and I, its waiting shore.

It is no longer a battle as I allow my body to do what it does best, repair itself. In fighting my pain I was fighting my body, trapped in the drama of battle, masking my pain as suffering.

on the right planet 1014More and more, I am convinced that all physical pain has an emotional component. It is not that the pain is emotionally created but emotion becomes the storyline of physical pain. Humans tend to respond to stories. We suffer if we stay with them rather than feel the pain.

It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I don’t know where it will lead. I can tell you where I am right now–living a kind of health that I thought no longer possible. Some days feel like a setback but that is an old storyline of a moment past.

Whatever else, traditional Chinese medicine is affording me an opportunity, challenging as it is. It is not a panacea but hard work. This medicine–herbs, acupuncture and whole food—is helping me remove the ring of fear that surrounds my pain. I just do not suffer as I once did.

It feels as if I am completely rebalancing my life, emotionally and physically. Well, I am, at 62 after nearly four decades of disease. It is balance by moment.  I am definitely on the right planet.

Note: My dear readers, posts may continue to be a bit irregular for a while. To my fellow bloggers, I am quite behind in my reading but I am beginning to catch up. Thanks, everyone.

*Conversation on Super Soul Sunday, aired October 19, 2014.

 

29 thoughts on “Seems I am on the Right Planet After All

    1. Oh, Diana, your comment absolutely delights. As you probably have suspected, I have zig-zagged a great deal in life–it has been stimulating! I will say these last four months may have been the most stimulating…so far, anyway! Thanks, Diana.
      Karen

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  1. Indeed, you are a role model. I have lately been considering acupuncture myself, and I’m eager to hear your experiences. And thanks for the lovely exchange between Chödrön & Winfrey–something I certainly would have missed without your post!

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    1. Thanks, Ann. In short, acupuncture is allowing me to heal, something that never happened with Western medicine. From the beginning, it helped my pain, gradually reducing it so that in these past two weeks, physical strength is returning. I have been quite weak and stiff for years but both have really diminished. Best of all for me is a steady supply of energy every day–it is like a leit motif–that occurred about six weeks into treatment. My acupuncture physician told me she is determined to get me pain free. Let me know if you want to talk about any of this.

      And just one more thing, if a person with almost four decades of autoimmune disease can get these results, imagine what can be done for people with early stage disease or disharmony,
      Karen

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  2. Karen, I embody many of the guiding forces in my life in physical metaphors. For example, I have often experienced lean financial times and have come to think of myself as the fly that walks on the ceiling. It makes no logical sense, and yet the fly does not fall–and my family and I have always made ends meet although it also makes no logical sense.

    Similarly, I image my health as a pyramid with a very broad base. Yes, it can be knocked over if something whacks the pointy top hard enough, but chances are the pyramid will be shoved a little distance but remain upright. I think that image of stable health has helped to make it so.

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  3. You are kind to be reading at all. I love your line — humans tend to respond to stories. We’re pretty good at making them up, too, and believing what we make up. Thoughts and prayers with you as you make this challenging and courageous journey.

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    1. Thanks, J.B.! What a spot-on comment about stories! What stories I have told myself…. I console myself with the fact that at least some of them show some creativity. Thanks for your kind wishes.
      Karen

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  4. Great to hear you are improving. Rebalancing is, itself, always such a difficult balancing act; but even three steps forward and two back is still a step forward. All the very best for ongoing recovery!

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    1. Thanks, Matthew. Well, balance really is a bit of a dance, isn’t it? This past week has been one of leaps and bounds as I am really gaining strength. Of course, that does mean more “tissue” waking up so new sensations. I really appreciate your support, Matthew.
      Karen

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  5. Good to see you posting, my friend and I’m also pleased to read that you are finding some balance/relief through your treatments. I’m sure you mindset is a huge positive in your favor because if we get stuck in any storyline, good or bad, it indeed keeps us from staying fluid. Your journey has certainly been eye opening for me, and I am sure so many others. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with the community. I wish you all the best, continued healing, and yes, you are absolutely on the right planet. 🙂 Best to you always, Karen.
    Steph

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie. In one way or another, I think I may have always wondered whether or not I was on the right planet. 😉 Now, that I know, it is one less thing to stick. Appreciate the kind wishes.
      Karen

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  6. Karen, how I love the ways you encourage me to see/not see. Selective perception says we will notice what is important to us just now. May you find balance and continue to write through and with what is. All the best.

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    1. Thanks, Ruth. Powerful is a word that really describes these moments. Like all sentient beings, I move through change but transformation is…well, powerful. Appreciate the blessings.
      Karen

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  7. I saw the same show and this line hit me also. I am a big believer that we store emotional pain in our bodies, causing physical pain. Transplant patients report having the memories of their donor. I don’t think this is hogwash–but rather, just another sign of how we are made. Energy . . . wishing you balanced chi and peace!

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    1. Yes, Kay, I, too, believe our memories are stored in our cells. It is only through transformation that we are able to shed the emotional along with the physical. It is my understanding that traditional Chinese medicine has always believed this. Perhaps Western science is finally catching up.
      Karen

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    1. Sigrun, I finally had the opportunity to listen completely to this amazing discussion. Thank you so much for introducing me to this man and to his work. Certainly, it aligns with what I am doing and has also given me so new options. Most grateful.
      Karen

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    1. Thanks, Robin. I wondered whether you have tried traditional Chinese medicine, specifically acupuncture. It does require work but for me–and each of us is unique–I am finally experiencing some actual healing. Western medicine did not provide that for me. We may be actually stopping my disease process. Always great to have you stop by.
      Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Karen, you are a role model for all of us about how to cope with pain. We can’t change the physical sensations of pain, but we can change the way we think about them, as you are so bravely doing. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. Thanks, Craig! Traditional Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture, is re-defining my relationship with pain. Essentially, it allows me “distance” from it so my perspective broadens and the fear is reduced. I always appreciate your thoughtful and kind comments, Craig.
      Karen

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