I’ve highlighted so many of your comments that I’m a bit perplexed at where to begin. But let’s look at the overarching set of thoughts.

First, for some, pain, anxiety, angst are the nectar they suck on. This is what feeds them, and allows them to justify the saying Life Sucks and Then You Die. They get to be right about the awfulness of their existence. Take away the self-imposed agony and where is their reason for being? Precisely. It’s a kind of existence, if you like living in a Black Hole. My big brother was like that at times.

Second, pain has a purpose. Psychic pain has a purpose- a very high one. Physical pain is the body’s conversation with the mind: Hey STUPID! Stop doing what you’re doing. Slow down. Rest. Heal. Feed me properly. Exercise me properly. Allow me to play. Let me do what I came here for.

Psychic pain is a whole other piece. That presses our boundaries and provides the opportunity for real growth. While some head to the corner bar or their best friend’s house for a bottle of wine and a swim in the sewage of pity party, others use that pain to ask much higher questions: what’s the lesson? what’s the purpose? How am I going to grow from this? How do I learn to choose my state, my emotions, my quality of life and being?

If I can separate my real Self from the body that carries it, then I see that the physical form is an IT, not a who. It’s just trillions of microorganisms working together in highly specific ways which miraculously allow me to hang out for x-number of years. My choices on how to interact with those colonies, which depend on me for sustenance (including coming out at night and munching on my facial skin for example) determine much of my quality of life. If I invest in misery, that is what I telegraph to the physical Universe that is me. If I invest in good choices- both in physical habits and in my thought patterns, I also telegraph that to my kingdom. They respond in kind either way.

Your entire paragraph, which I also highlighted, gets to the very essence of this. Some become deeply addicted to that anxiety which defines them. Holy shit, who am I without my basket full of hurt and excuses and reasons and heartache and as you so rightly point out, proof? This is the supreme cost of our need to be right about how awful life is. As a result I cannot even see a sunrise. A rainbow. The gorgeousness of everything around me, which no CGI can possibly either replicate or improve. Life is breathtaking. But my addiction to how godawful my life is, and everything it, makes me blind.

I choose blindness, in effect, because I am far more interested in being right than in being happy. So I turn to substances and pills and engage in behaviors that distract, defeat and denigrate the body I got to play in.

The purpose of pain (call it the devil) is among life’s highest. It forces us to choose to see differently- or not. It offers the opportunity to rise-or not. It allows us to explore the outer edges of our being- or not. Those who are far more addicted to being in physical and psychic pain aren’t interested in the higher lessons and opportunities. Pain is their playground.

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, they say. I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve had plenty of pain, and spent my fair share of time suffering. I chose to work through the pain, for on the other side there are gifts. Nobody said it would be easy. I would posit it’s worthwhile. Nothing worth having- not the least of which are perspectives that give us peace-comes without a price. You ask anyone who has ever made it to the summit of a massive mountain- and I have- whether it was easy.

No. It wasn’t. It was at times damned painful. But my god, the view. My dear god, the view.

Vlad, your note brings up so many thoughts and ideas I could easily write for another hour, but the sun is just up and I’m going for a run- to enjoy the view, the breeze on my face, and to help distract me from the pain of my healing rotator cuff. Thank you heartily for a most thoughtful, respectful and insightful set of comments. Very rich material indeed.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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