The Dancing Work of Pain
One more post on pain and suffering. Such a heavy topic but how we handle pain and suffering has a direct correlation to the depth of our relationships. The more we run from it the more we run from intimacy. The more we stay engaged with it the deeper our relationships.
Mike Cusick at Restoring the Soul turned me on to this book a few years ago. It is a book by a therapist who had been in the mental health system at a younger age. She had her own history of being abused and subsequently cutting on herself.
The author's name is Lauren Slater and her book is Welcome to my Country: A Therapist's Memoir of Madness
She has these words on pain and suffering,
And so I began, slowly...to think about staying in suffering instead of always trying to climb out of it. Do not mistake me. I don't mean I learned to embrace pain, whose boiling body frightens me as it scalds the skin of its victims, nor, in the parlance of New Age-speak, to accept pain, for acceptance is far too sweet a word, and I doubt very many people loosen their limbs and lie pliantly in the lap of hurting. I mean I learned, quite simply--in these technical times, when the hope for new remedies is daily dangled before our eyes--to acknowledge pain, to sit still in its mysterious presence and feel helplessAnd
What sets me apart (from my most troubled clients) is simply a learned ability to manage the blades of deep pain with a little bit of dexterity. Mental health doesn't mean making the pains go away. I don't believe they ever go away...I have not healed so much as learned to sit still and wait while pain does it dancing work, trying not to panic or twist in ways that make the blades tear deeper, finally infecting the wounds.
There really is no way around the pain from an affair. If you thrash around or go berserk while the blades are nearby you'll be cut deeper and deeper and bleed more and more. If you turn to drugs or alcohol or porn or sex etc. to deal with the pain, again you are thrashing, causing more pain.
The only way to deal with the pain from an affair is to move straight through it, slowly. Face the truth and let it do it's dancing work on your soul.