What are we getting better for? What are we here for? I realize these are big questions and challenging even for minds that aren't screaming with pain, let alone those that cope with frequent Migraines. They are central questions to creating and sustaining the will and optimism to keep pushing through the pain and discouragement that comes with a life with chronic illness. Searching for the larger, deeper meanings, a connection to humankind, the world, the divine, is an important part of the human experience. There comes a time in our lives when most of us wonder what we are here for, what our mission is, what we are uniquely put on this earth to do. Be it spiritual, altruistic, political, creative, there is something that sustains us, that pulls us forward.
It is easy to lose sight of this when we struggle with pain. Ending the suffering becomes important enough that we can forget there is more to it. I don't believe there is anything inherently ennobling in pain. "No pain no gain" is a bankrupt philosophy. People can achieve great personal growth out of learning experiences based in pain. They can also become embittered, limited and frightened by pain. People can achieve great personal growth without great pain. There are no guarantees, no formulas. My experience is that when we are living inside a known, expressed purpose or goal, it gives a larger context to our experiences that makes it worth moving forward, worth seeking out the learning, worth looking beyond the pain.
As a coach, I help people determine their goals for their lives - what possibilities they will create for themselves and the world, what they value most that they want to promote. Of course if we are ill we want to feel better, but feel better for what? Feel better so I can be a person who can squeeze every moment of enjoyment out of life, and give it to everyone around me? That's worth feeling better for! You get there at least in part, and as much as possible, by living that way today. So we talked a few weeks ago in this blog about having fun, because your life is NOW, not someday when you're all better. If your goal is to have a family full of love, have it NOW, today. If you want to be creative, be creative now.
My goal, in its most recent expression, is to build lives in balance - creating wellness, joy and abundance. That means for me, my family, my friends, my clients. It means that's how I approach my politics, my community, my world. It means that's how I make choices about my day. When I spend the whole weekend with Migraines, as I did this weekend, I need to think about what a life in balance looks like in that context. For me this time it looked like staying in bed when I felt like I should be up and helping, taking medication when I didn't want to, accepting that two beautiful October days were going by with me inside, inviting my children and my husband to spend time with me in my bedroom, one by one, since I couldn't deal with them in a noisy group in the noisy downstairs. It meant putting off this writing and some other work until today. I'm glad my pain is mostly gone today. But even gladder that I can be more active in pursuing my goal today.
Think about what you're here for. Your unique contribution, your humor, your helpfulness, your intelligence, your skills, your drive, your compassion, your biscuits, your strength. Take care of yourself, your nervous system, your body and soul, so the world can have that, the gift you are. Do what it takes to be well inside of that. Get better for that.
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