As I’ve mentioned a small handful of times I live with chronic pain. I have RSD, a nerve disease, and endometriosis, a condition which causes growths outside of the uterus where they don’t belong. And most recently I’ve been dealing with increasing shoulder pain and weakness due to a tear and cyst in my labrum, the cartilage around my shoulder socket, for which I’m slated to have surgery to repair next week. I was recently talking with a sangha friend who, after asking me some questions about my health, said: “I wish I knew why bad things happen to good people.” I then replied: “Actually, I am extremely grateful for the pain I’ve gone through and continue to have, it has taught me so much.” It may sound like some kind of hoaky Hallmark card or cheesy after-school-special but I truly am deeply grateful for the experiences I’ve had and continue to have with chronic pain. I don’t see my situation as a bad thing at all (although I used to when my journey with RSD first began). Pain has been my greatest and most valuable teacher – there are some things I just don’t think I would’ve learned otherwise.
So I got to thinking about the lessons I’ve learned through having pain – so I thought I’d jot some of them down, in no particular order: