One of the first lessons of medicine is that healing a wound of any kind must happen from the depths of the wound and repair itself all the way out to the skin or surface. We heal from the inside out. That’s the reason you can have those drains placed often after you have a surgery. If there is any possibility of any disgusting drainage being released, the surgeon wants it out of your body, not in. Infection must be avoided for healing to take place…new growth not old must be laid down. The intricate design of cell growth demands replacement and healing in all living things.
I’m taken by the idea that this same form of healing of our spirits, our attitudes and our efforts must also come from within. Many years ago, long before I was born, a famous actress named Lillian Russell asked the very talented French sculptor, Rodin if it would be very difficult to learn to be a sculptor. He replied, “No, Madam, it is not difficult. It is very simple. All you have to do is to buy a block of marble and knock off what you do not want.”
I’ve always found that a fascinating thought. It was also Auguste Rodin who said, “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” Life was not always easy for him, born in the midst of the 19th century; he was extremely near sighted and did poorly in school because of his visual impairment. Since that occurred long before the famous eye chart and routine eye checks for children, he soon became discouraged and lost his confidence and belief in what was possible for his life. He began to unleash his ability to draw because he could see the paper and became less and less interested in school work. After being rejected twice by art schools, he lost all confidence in his artistic abilities, as well. He turned to decorative bricklaying for two decades before trying his skills at sculpturing. Now considered to be the father of modern sculpture, perhaps in this country he is most well-known for his sculpted work titled “The Thinker.”
I always find it fascinating to see all famous people and also those less well known, as human beings with challenges, heartaches and disappointments as well as having attained triumphs. They are basically just like me. They are basically just like you. There is so much, always, for us who suffer daily pain to learn from those who suffered in one form or another and to use the experience wisely, oh my, what sage advice. Even as a young girl I loved to read biographies about all types of individuals. Overcoming any event shows wisdom. Destructive behavior does not.
I’m certain many of you think, when I mention healing from within that I am referring to physical healing and actually, in the case of surgery or other invasive events that is true, but for many of us who have conditions which will always be with us, the healing takes the form of relief, overcoming and rising above the pain which often threatens to pull us down and stomp upon our little heads. I sometimes have imaginings of these little gremlins that are trying to do just that to me as I have to bat them away from me, like pesky flies, determined to undermine by joy and fulfillment in a compromised life. Pain wants to take a bite out of my life, in the form of these tiny monsters. They not only want to do you and I physical harm, hammering on you with their tiny hammers of pain and discouragement, but they want to pull you down and make you less than you were meant to be. Pain and its tiny minions steal your inner confidence, make your talents invisible to all, especially yourself and rob you of all the joys in life. We must not let that happen. Your pain is physical and you should do all you can to make it less but there is much more you and I can do to heal from within.
We live in a world of mayhem and noise. We need time alone and in silence to hear the still small voices within our inner selves. Each of us was born with enormous capacity for interaction, creativity and production. When our schedule or plans are interrupted by pain and or disease, we are easily distracted and led off into the bushes of our minds where we become lost, confused and we believe, without worth. You and I have a design, an implanted map of who and what we are capable of achieving. Even those who are totally well do not always achieve what they are capable of achieving and they do not have the excuse that we have. We can’t possibly be all we are capable of in this life but most of us give up the struggle and don’t even try. I hope when I die, I have a long list of things I planned to create, see and do but will be striving until the end. Like Walt Disney planning on his death bed, by studying am image projected onto the ceiling above his bed, I would be honored to have that said about me. “She lived until the end and always made me laugh.”
Now as long as I’ve gone down the path of epitaphs and such, I’ll reveal to all of you that I’ve been telling my dear husband that his tombstone will read, “AND HE SAID HARD WORK NEVER KILLED ANYONE. HERE HE LIES.” If I’m really feeling ornery, I think I’ll add, “GOTCHA.” His toughness and tenacity often inspire me to keep on clicking these painful joints and to strive to keep our life in sync. Okay, so much for that because we’re here and we’re still able to bitch and moan so we must have life within us. When you pinch us do we not screech? When you tick us off, do we not complain? You bet we do. Signs of life are all around us, even in our pain.
The tragedy in a life of chronic pain is not the pain, although that can make your eyes bug out at times. It’s not in the damaged relationships which were probably “cracked” to begin with nor is it in the daily depression which is wrought by this constant battle. The greatest tragedy of all is to give up and not even try. You and I have things that only we can accomplish in this short time on earth. Hidden deep within us, covered by our pain and daily battle, lays the ability for great accomplishment. We have talents that lie dormant. When we find the time for silence and whatever you want to call it…be it reflection, inner searching or writing a diary to one’s self, many of these secrets can be revealed. It’s a very personal matter, those secrets which hold the ability to heal us from within. My magic bottle of soulful longing and dormant ability is different than yours. That is truly the beauty of this discovery.
I am constantly amazed by all of the outstanding individuals who have lived and are living who have overcome great odds to be and do what they have. There is not room here to go into the names or details but so many come to mind like famous artists who overcame, people like FDR, George Washington Carver, George Washington, and thousands of others. There are also the quiet everyday folks like most of us who put one foot in front of the other each day to love a child, feed their families, befriend a neighbor or just keep functioning without self-pity or over powering sorrow.
When we are open to the source of all life, all of this comes to us, one measure at a time. Laughter brings us a healing power much like the warmth of the sun. A gentle breeze or a brisk one, preferably off a body of water, can fill us with such a healing touch, it is hard to believe and momentarily takes the breath away.
I constantly ask myself if I am all that I can be. The pain? Oh, yes, that. It is always there and at times it is overpowering and ominous but it will not win if you and I don’t let it. You see, it doesn’t have to because we have the sun deep within us. Are we different than a plant which exists and replenishes on light and photosynthesis with water and soil? Answers implanted in each of us offer help, life and pleasure. There is little in life as pleasurable as production. A pan of cupcakes, a painting or photograph, a clean floor, a bouquet of fresh flowers you’ve picked; a poem you have written or a simple act of kindness for a friend or family member. There is healing, happiness and life in all of these things. They came from and through you in spite of your pain and perhaps, a bit wiser, deeper and more beautiful because of your suffering.
Let us agree not to waste this experience and do all we can to gain wisdom from it. Let’s not miss out because we have an excuse to “skip the class of life.”