I have been up since 12:30 this morning for the second time this week. I am not sure if I am reaching acceptance, surrender or just trying to deal with my reality. I believe that I am finally ready to say and feel the truth of what is like living with the combination of Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue. These two illnesses feed on each other constantly. In the past, I have focused on living with PTSD but right now I am trying to negotiate PTSD’s sister illnesses. I hate to think of myself as sick, as really living with several chronic illnesses. My intense drive says to me “Fight, fight, fight”, in reality, I cannot fight through this as that leads to physical and emotional collapse. I feel this enormous grief just saying these words. My reality is that I am burnt out.
I found this book yesterday called How to Be Sick, a kindle book by Toni Bernhard. I got more out of how she exists with her fatigue than her use of Buddhist principles to help relieve it. I am tired of all the talk about how acceptance and surrender can “eliminate” suffering.
I accept and surrender on a daily basis sometimes on a moment-to-moment basis. Can’t I just have my suffering? Why does there always have to be some spiritual practice that will relieve all my suffering? Isn’t it by accepting that suffering (while also owning that I DON’T WANT IT) is part of the human experience?
In my process over the last 11 years, I have found great beauty, freedom, liberation and the ability to live wide awake. Living with my suffering is part of that freedom. Saying that it personally sucks to hurt so badly on a daily basis does not mean that I am suffering solely because I don’t accept suffering. Because I hate my suffering doesn’t mean I am not spiritual or awake. Neither does it mean I am a failure or have a character defect. It simply means that I am human and it is perfectly natural for a human being to want and desire good health and warm feelings. To feel the depth of my feelings, to feel the extent of hate I have for my suffering does not make me a bad, non-spiritual person. For me, it means feeling, once again, the fullness of my human experience. I am neither a superhero nor a god. I think we are taught by religious traditions that hate leads to suffering so we suffer because we hate. I do not have an aversion to hate. I do the same thing with hate that I do with love. I feel the emotion, I feel the energy of that emotion in my body, I breathe into and let it freely flow through my body while celebrating the power and beauty of my humanity. This brings me a freedom and liberation that I thought I would never have.
This week I had to use a substitute therapist (my therapist had the gall to have a life and go away). He helped me negotiate and manage the intensity of my hate and disappointment for my suffering. He was someone who my husband and I have used for couples therapy so he knew my story. In having this therapist hold my intensity and suffering with me was a gift that I have come to depend on. I think it is hard for the general public to comprehend such intense feelings, without trying to fix it or telling me that if I could just accept and surrender, I would feel less suffering.
As a reader of this blog, you know I accept and surrender on a daily basis to the human experience and in doing that I am inviting all the wealth of my emotions fully into my life not just the love, joy, kindness, compassion. It means I invite envy, rage, fury and hate. To claim and celebrate all of them is really living fully the human experience and it is also the basis of my spiritual walk. For me, this is what it means to be awake and liberated.