Thursday, March 24, 2011

The "Pain" Pen

Sometimes I write my journal entries with a red ink pen that I picked up when I took my friend to the North Kansas City Hospital's Pain Management Clinic. They make patients fill out the "rate your pain" form with the red pen. Is it because the red color resembles blood? 

It certainly does to me and the emotions I am able to spill with the "pain" pen flow out as raw and fluid as if it were my own blood with which I was writing.  Well, sorta.  Not as intense, but it has an effect.

That is why tonight I write with the "pain" pen, as an ode to the suffering, for so many people on my path lately, strangers, friends and myself included, are struggling with our selves.  This is my ode to human struggles.

Everyone is suffering. Whether silently, or publically, we all have some pain stuffed away that surfaces when we hit a rough patch. Sometimes that pain is deep enough and strong enough to fuel a fire big enough to light up a pretty intense pity party.  This pain may come from a great personal loss or failure that has created a black hole inside oneself that no amount of attention, substance, or outside influence can heal. The pain must be dealt with mentally before a person can actually begin the healing process.

That is where it gets tricky.

People don't want to go through the emotional trauma again -- ever -- so they latch onto escapism and self medicating, which may create unhealthy addictions to people, possessions, substances and behaviors.

One person in particular, Charlie Sheen, has sort of become the model spokesperson for this exact situation. According to Charlie, he is "winning," but according to his father, Martin Sheen, Charlie is "emotionally crippled." Martin states, "when you're addicted, you don't grow emotionally. So when you get clean and sober, you're starting at the moment you started using drugs or alcohol." It is a valid point.

Yet, does it ring true for all addictions? Is a shopaholic or a person with a gambling problem trying to numb away a pain created by want for material needs that may have been deprived as a child? 

How about a sex addict, or a couple in an abusive realtionship? Are they just too afraid to be alone, or have such a low level of self worth that they are willing to risk health and happiness for a comfortable distress?

There's so much pain all around us all -- all of the time. Just turn on the news. There is an entire world of suffering going on out there. But the important thing is to not feed into the negativity!!!  Misery cannot survive without company!

Everyone lives in their own version of reality, created uniquely by their own experiences in life.
The most important lesson that I have learned in my lifetime is this:  

I cannot change what anyone else thinks, says, or does! 
Any attempt to control any of the aforementioned will leave me feeling sad, unworthy and discouraged.
What I do control is how I think, how I act and how I interpret the things that happen to me.
Its like the serenity prayer--
                "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
                 the courage to change the things I can-
                 and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."

In order to kick the pain and suffering that causes negative behaviors, we must get to the root of the pain first, and then drill it out like a cavity and finally fill in the dark hole with something positive.  And, seriously, who doesn't hate the drilling part?  Sometimes people avoid going to the dentist for years because they know it is that uncomfortable!

The only one missing out is You.
The only person stopping you is You.
The only person who can make it happen is You.
We need to maintain ourselves.  We are responsible for our own upkeep!

And the positive "filling" is different for everyone.  It can be meditative, like yoga, exercise, or taking up an instrument, or hobby, or it can be productive, like investing wholeheartedly in yourself, or your dreams -- whatever your thing is.

The question is, what is it and am I doing it now?  I think that by creating a positive "filling" before the "drilling" is finished, the process actually advances much faster! 

 Be the light that you wish to see in this world.  Others will see it and shine, too :) Smiles are infectious!  Make the choice to smile when you meet others, whether you are driving in your car during rush hour, or ordering food at a restaurant.  Others will notice. 

Peace on earth begins within you and me.  And sometimes the journey to that peace can be discovered by writing with a red ink pen.

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.

Robert Fulghum, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It


  1. I am so glad you shared this with everyone, and with me. I am amazed at how when I am feeling a certain way you write about it. I can not say it enough! Thank you! Thank you!

  2. Thank you for commenting Carey! I am so glad it harmonized with your life at the moment. I must admit, I was a little scared to post it, as most of my other posts are light in content, this one is a tinge heavier. However, it is important to report on all sides of the spectrum and I am thankful that my experiences could ring true with you, too. As always, thanks for reading :)