Oh, how many times have I read quotes from people I have always admired such as The Dalai Lama but never really could practice because my brain was too focused on either pain itself or searching for the cure for my chronic pain. This is a quote I have read many times over the years and wanted so much to be able to practice what this master of wisdom preaches but could not. Lets be real, I struggle with this lesson on a daily if not hourly basis but at least I can now practice what this message preaches.
I was managing my chronic pain with such excellence until my hunger for money overcame me and I took a job that would pay me a lot more money then I was making knowing that it would entail many more hours and worse a much higher case load. I sacrificed my health in order to make more money and be miserable. I left a job that I loved and was able to practice the principles I learned at the Mayo Clinic with my patients to make more money. Which led me to begin taking medicine again and going to endless doctor appointments looking for help with chronic pain. Not only that but I stopped eating well and drank with friends as a coping mechanism for stress and pain. I am very happy that I was laid off from that job. At the time it seemed like a curse, but what a blessing. What is money without happiness and health? NOTHING. My greediness for money led me to the living hell of depression and chronic pain. I will never let anything regarding money or status come before my health and happiness again.
I think we all struggle to live in the present. There are moments especially as a mother that I am able to fully live in the present moment. For instance, when my daughter falls asleep at the pool and I am given an hour to read in the sun I cherish each and every moment of that hour. When she awakes I cherish every moment I have with her playing in the pool. However, so many mornings I wake up and the first thing I think is: what am I going to make for dinner? What the hell is that about? It is five in the morning and instead of enjoying my morning coffee or juice I am not only thinking but stressing over what to make for dinner. That’s pure insanity.
During my search for the cure and end of chronic pain ALL I did was think about the future and it had nothing to do with what I was going to make for dinner (I never even made dinner come to think of if.) My thoughts were solely around pain. How bad will my pain be today? Will my doctor of the month have good news for me? How much will I let my family down today by spending my hours crying because no one understands what I am feeling? Will I ever be happy? Will I be taking pain medicine forever? You get the idea.
I don’t have those thoughts about the future anymore. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I have some of those thoughts but very few and very rarely. I have no doctor appointments to worry about, which is amazing! I know I can be happy even with chronic pain. I know everything is always going to be okay because I know how to manage my chronic pain in a healthy way. I know everything will be okay because I know what rock bottom feels like and I will never be there again.
I can finally look at this quote from the Dalai Lama and know that I can at least work on what it says. That is a pretty damn good start.