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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Open a Book (The Gift of Pain)

Today's challenge is to open a book, randomly point to a word or passage, and then free write for 10-15 minutes on that word or passage.

I hate to take a section of a book out of context (especially when I haven't even read the book yet), but I love the idea of free writing about a "random" passage. The book I grabbed off my bookshelf was The gift of pain: Why we hurt & what we can do about it by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. Again, I haven't read the book yet, but the passage I opened up to was intriguing.

The authors write:
The hurt of pain forces the entire being to attend to the danger. Once aware of the cut on my finger, I forget all about my crowded schedule and the long lines of patients outside -- I run for a bandage. Pain ignores, even mocks all other priorities... [The ultimate end of pain is] to galvanize the entire body. Pain shrinks time to the present moment... What matters to the pain system is that you feel miserable enough to stop whatever you're doing and pay attention right now (pp. 216-218)
How interesting this is, especially when considering what it means for those that live with chronic pain. But, we'll start with first things first. Everyone has experienced pain... being overtaken by the urgent demand for our entire attention by something that has caused us pain. The acute pain brings us into the moment, making everything else around us seem obsolete. Time seems distorted, and our entire attention is on the pain.

So, what happens when the pain is ongoing, such as with chronic pain? There seems to be yet another battle within those living with chronic pain:  how to deal with the pain, while not being completely consumed by it. We need to acknowledge pain, and know our bodies well enough to know when symptoms change and should be attended to. But, even though the pain may be ongoing, we mustn't allow it to overtake and destroy us.


This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM).

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Highly recommend this book...some is a bit slow, but mostly is really great! I read it several years ago and though I threw it against the wall more than once, it changed the way I approached my pain forever.

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