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Have I mentioned that I’m a masochist of sorts?

(that seems incongruous after reading the post’s title, I know. I’ll get there.)

Pain can be cathartic in so many ways. It can be a reminder. A tribute. A warning.

I was on the phone with K just now, and the last thing we talked about before saying goodnight was gratitude. How, if we start each day with a moment’s pause to acknowledge those things for which we are grateful, it really sets the tone.

I said my “I love you goodnight,” waited for her to hang up, and took the phone from my ear.

There are many examples of this, some more adult than others, but you know how when you apply intense pressure to an area of your body and then remove the pressure, there’s a sensation that is both painful and pleasurable? The circulation of blood after it has been restricted – release.

My ear was hot to the touch, throbbing a bit, painful. But echoing with words of love, appreciation for me, and gratitude for life in general.

A couple of years ago, I was pretty consistent with daily gratitude posts on facebook. Some days, I struggled to come up with one thing, and other days I had a list a mile long. No matter what, though, like with this blog, I made myself come up with something each day.

I’m incorporating more self-care activities into my “every day” routine lately, and I think it will be easy enough to weave this back in. I’ll start tonight, and see how it goes from here on out.

Tonight, I’m grateful for pain and the way it makes me feel alive. The pain that comes from the absence of a phone pressed against my ear. The pain of a neck tilted for too many hours while reading spines on bookstore shelves. The pain of accidentally knocking a bruise that reminds me oh-so-vividly of a singular moment with my lover. The pain of clawmarks from a cat who loves me too much to leave me be while I write my nightly blog post (at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t sling her across the room when she draws blood on my inner thigh).

Every pain has the potential for gratitude. Except maybe stubbing your toe or hitting your funny bone. Aside from those, though, see if you can find the pleasure in your pain. Share it if you feel so inclined.



4 Responses

  1. Well done, my dear. As you know, I fully understand the importance and connection of those two states and while I can’t say in the moment that I can be all Buddhist and appreciate my pain for the lesson it is teaching me (just tonight, in fact,) but I can learn to have gratitude for it shortly thereafter which for now, is good enough.

    On another note, I believe in gratitude journals, most often when times are exceptionally tough and our vision is myopic in it’s focus on only the negatives. I often assign a daily journal with only 5 things that you are grateful for each and every day. The thing that really makes this exercise work is the shift into mindfulness that occurs with it. When you know you have to list these 5 things at the end of everyday, your consciousness raises to look for and notice the good, there is a greater light shined on the positive as opposed to feeding the negative. It’s a very cool thing.

    And btw, your second to the last paragraph, if you were “mine,” I’d only give you credit for one gratitude with it, Miss Missy… so tomorrow — 5. Get to it, before I bring you pain when I smack that sweet bottom of yours ;)

    your Lisita

  2. I’m not being snarky when i say that I sometimes feel gratitude for hurting myself in toe-stubbing ways because I hurt myself in the course of being an able-bodied, ambler person, and not all of us can say that. Additionally, the kind of pain that those with some disabilities experience is like nothing i have experienced (yet) and my comparatively minor pain of toe stubbing (regardless of how much it makes me curse and hop around and want to barf, because i am a powerful toe stubber) always reminds me that i could be in that pain every day… well. I am reminded once i stop swearing…. just saying :) I am going to work on gratitude lists, too…

    • I applaud you for actively thinking about that, because when I stub my toe is right about when I don’t care much about anyone in the whole world or their pain or suffering, not one bit. :) I do know what you mean, though, and thank you for reminding me that I need to be actively thankful for my able body and all it does for me!

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