Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Pain and Paying Attention
This is for a friend of mine out there somewhere today in pain. Thought I'd share this excerpt from Julia Cameron's "The Artists Way":
"In writing about attention, I see that I have written a good deal about pain. This is no coincidence. It may be different for others, but pain is what it took to teach me to pay attention."
How amazing is THAT! It was a bolt of lightening, reading that. I mean we know these things but do we KNOW them? My midlife cyclone (as I like to call it) and its ensuing rubble, did just that for me, taught me to pay attention, to live in each tiny precious minute. Some of that sensation has faded for me in my comfortable post chaos life. Some days I have regrets and I have consoled myself with thoughts like- well,I wouldn't be where I am now, or with Robert, etc. When really the journey I went through had a far greater, and simultaneously simpler lesson for me. EXPERIENCE! Pain was transmuted into wisdom and experience! But these lesson fade so quickly for us slow humans. We need more konks on the head!
Maybe pain and crisis has this lesson to teach all of us. From the moment we are born through pain, we continuously are reborn through it, over and over.
Julia goes on,
"In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to the right now. The precise moment I was in was the only safe place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always, all right. Yesterday teh marriage may have ended. Tomorrow the cat may die. The phone call from the lover, for all my waiting, may not ever come, but just at the moment, just now, that's all right. I am breathing in and out. Realizing this, I began to notice that each moment was not without its beauty."
This is one of the truths of life that must be discovered by each person on their own. I think this is the core of so many journeys books, lectures.... how to find the soft tender center in the present moment. And so, my friend's pain and crisis and my watching her go through it, reiterate for me the fragility and beauty of life's processes. She will be hammered out smooth, shiny and new when it is over.
(picture borrowed from here)