The Dance of Pain

[TESSA Begins]
What is this thing called pain felt by every animal?

Watching moon shadows

I think of things like this in the long hours before dawn, when mom and the pups are asleep and I sit in the window watching the moon cast shadows on the pond. Oddly there appears to be more than one kind of pain and so to understand I relate it to my own experience, albeit a superior feline understanding. This morning as the family drifted awake I fit myself between their warm bodies and began the conversation.

Moss on Stone

When I was abandoned and left to die in the winter snow the pain in my heart shattered its very fibers and laid me open to invasion from parasitic creatures. I see how nature mimics this phenomenon when one stronger element slowly takes over covering the once clear surface. This dull, emotional pain sits on the body-mind pushing the spirit deeper and deeper into darkness. Finally one goes numb, in my case from the freezing cold, in the human from medication or the relief of denial.

MOM
Yawn….Oh, Tessa, where did this come from? Ah, new moon in Aries, makes for a few surprises and this is one of them. Ok, so the topic this morning is pain, is it?

SEAMUS
Let’s go there, mom. I prefer no-pain, of feeling the ease and fluidity in a sound body. No pain frees the mind to flit around creating dramas out of nothing, and the body follows along like a well trained doggie.

The beauty in pain

MOM
Yes, but when there is pain there becomes this single pointed focus of the mind. Nothing else matters, nothing else exists, there is only the pain. We each find a way of coping and so we reach out to others, or we cling to any form of relief. Meanwhile we live our lives in quiet desperation seeking a way to heal. One has to shift and see the beauty in the experience.

MAYA
If I had to choose I prefer physical pain to the emotional or mental kind. In order to survive I never reveal that I am hurting. It weakens me, makes me vulnerable to predators, subjects me to pity. A terrier knows to keep still and pretend that all is well, while in the background the pain throbs and beats the spirit. I take it out on Seamus and Tessa even though I don’t want to fight. When the hot, searing tendrils of pain wash through each nerve, for that moment the world stops and I am the pain. I am the pain.

Tendrils of Pain

TESSA
Wow, Maya, I had no idea you went that deep. I feel that pain shapes us, distorts the way we act in the world. It is the great game changer and yet we forget how it felt once it passes. Why would women go through childbirth over and over again if the memory was still alive?

MOM
Good point Tessa. And there is some pain that is not so easy to forget. Emotional pain brings us to our knees grieving the loss of a life, a great love or a future taken from us. Our days and nights revolve around this loss and we bury ourselves under the weight of grief. And yet painfully it is part of the process of life, a type of trial by fire.

MAYA
From the Cairn perspective it appears there are no restrictions on who feels pain. It is no one culture or people who experience more or less than another. Pain seems to link every species, just as joy brings us closer; or is it pain that brings us closer?

SEAMUS
Hahahaheehee, keep observing Maya and you’ll figure it out.

MOM
The Celtic Runes say that everything is a test, and that pain helps us to gain clarity, patience and perseverance. In the same way watching others suffer brings the lesson of compassion to our lives. Do we have it within ourselves to extend a hand without judgement or wanting something in return?

And holding on

TESSA
I notice that it is a fine line, a razors edge this living in pain. I’ve seen how it sets us apart, though it need not.

SEAMUS
Yeah, I know what you mean. Our pain is an uncomfortable reminder to others, a “better them than us” kind of reaction. All species have the choice to reach out in compassion as you say, or retreat in confusion. Then there are those who cannot be bothered to respond at all.

TESSA
Yes, but regardless of another’s reaction the pain is mine alone, known only to me, a pain that burns into every fiber of my being. And yet when it’s gone time heals the memory and I go on stronger and wiser for having danced with the experience and survived the pain.

MOM
Well, so much for this conversation, how about we dance downstairs and rustle up some breakfast. Whoa, there posse let’s not break a leg going down those stairs. Hey, come back here and help me up. Someone grab my cane will you?

Cane Walking

 

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