20 August 2014

Resource -- Article on Spirituality, Religion and Pain

If you're feeling sorta nerdy one day, this article might interest you. And I encourage you to read it in the context of spiritual/emotional pain as well as physical pain.

Spirituality, Religion and Chronic Pain: Making a Difference in Non-traditional Ways.

The article is a bit in the researched report vein, but relatively easy to read. And it makes a point about meditation I have made before, based on personal experience. This article confirms personal experience with study data.

Photo by William Marsh

Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com

18 August 2014

Gibran's Sorrow and Acceptance

Earlier this summer I wrote two posts (here and here) that took inspiration from a verse written by Khalil Gibran:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was
oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Photo by William Marsh
Since those posts, I've been reflecting about how it can be, that sorrow and pain carve into us a space which can also be filled with joy. I know for myself it doesn't happen automatically. And looking at the final sentence of the verse above, neither did Gibran consider the joy part automatic.

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being...
It happens, sorrow does. Disappointment, fear, physical pain, illness, depression and all sorrowful emotions come to us simply because we are alive. Anyone reading this post has intimate knowledge of life's hurts, and religions have spilled lots of ink and blood to try to prove reasons for them -- Christianity's original sin, Buddhism's maya, come to mind. Gibran acknowledges we share this human condition but attempts no reasoning or story, no intellectual device to explain it. What he does is accept it. This is a truth of life, that we will sorrow.

I have found no more realistic and practical reason for discarding old habits that keep me kicking against inevitabilities in life. (For more on my thoughts about life's pain and acceptance, read this post.) It is energy spent in futility and expended at the expense of the constructive emotions and actions that grow out of simple acceptance. Because acceptance like this is not passive, it's creative.

And that will be the topic of my next post.

Thank you for reading this post. You can leave a comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.

14 August 2014


Dear Readers:

I am traveling now, and moving in and out of internet service, so haven't posted since before I left D.C. This will be my only post until I'm home on Sunday, August 17. I hope you are having a lovely August.

I have learned to bring my comfort along with me when I travel. It means more bags, but we travel mostly by car, so they simply get stuffed into the trunk. Here is a list of the kind of things I bring:

* SNACKS: Because my appetite is off when I'm in a lot of pain, I have become fond of certain "comfort" foods. And because the migraine diet is fairly strict, I bring my own, never assuming anyone has stocked the specific kind of cracker or peanut butter than I can eat.

* MEDICATIONS: This may seem obvious, but I have left home without meds before. Now they're always top of my own "remember" list and my husband's last-minute reminders.

* AUDIO BOOKS on KINDLE: With migraines, reading in impossible, so I have a growing library of audio books on my Kindle. I make sure to download the ones I'd like to read before we leave home, in case I'm out of listening material when I'm also out of internet access.

* PILLOWS, SWEATERS, ETC.: Again, when traveling by car, these items are easier to bring along. In the winter, it's my favorite blankie. And always, the pillow I like best, the softest shirts and sweaters and most comfortable pants.

It's time to get ready for a family gathering. I'll post more tips on Sunday, if I think of any more.

Thank you for reading my blog. You can leave comments below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com


09 August 2014

Freedom and Ego

In the past week I've posted about having ambivalent feelings about getting well, and, within five days, unambivalent desire for the migraine pain to stop forever.

It seems a wide swing. I feel a bit embarrassed just thinking about it, especially that it's posted for all the world to see. Yet a couple comments on that first post tell me I'm not the only one honest enough to admit to such feelings. So I am certainly not the only one feeling them.

I can't write a long post today because my head's fuzzy with pain and medication, but I want to share a couple of thoughts about this seeming conundrum: that I can be both afraid and desirous of the same thing.

The first thought is about the ego. I have written before about Eckhart Tolle's writings on the ego that have helped me more than anything else to begin to find true freedom of spirit. (Click here and here to read posts; there are more in the Labels column to the right -- click on "ego" and "eckhart tolle.")

Our egos will grab any reason to form an identity. That grabbing targets the obvious and socially-acceptable identities like physical beauty, career and job, relationships (parent, sibling, friend) and talents. So we say, "I'm a painter." or "I'm beautiful." or "My daughter is a doctor." as ways to identify who we are. There are also less acceptable identities that are not so obvious and easy to name, like victim, sick person, or loser.

But, though some identities seem logical and others counter-intuitive, they're all the same mechanism: the ego clutching identity in order to survive. Where does freedom (in the title of this post) come in? Any clutching our ego does limits our freedom. If you cannot let go of your identity as lawyer or successful business woman, you are not free. I cannot let go of my identity as migraineur: I am not free.

There's more, but my head hurts. I am going to free myself of my identity as a writer who is thorough and finishes what she starts -- I'm ending
this post now. More later.

Thank you for reading this post. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com

07 August 2014

Resource: Blog post / Ellen Painter Dollar

Photo by William Marsh
 My friend, Ellen Painter Dollar, writes and blogs about life as a parent with chronic illness, from a Christian perspective. She has written a book, No Easy Choice: A Story About Disability, Parenthood and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction.

I thought you might want to read a recent post of hers on her Patheos blog: Parenthood, Ethics, Disability and the Crooked Way of Grace.

The July 23 post is titled, "Down the Rabbit Hole of Chronic Pain."

Click HERE for the post.

Feel free to leave comments below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.