Friday, September 16, 2011

What do I (think I) know?

Gosh, it's been an absolute age since I posted. Ack! Hopefully you're all wondering what the heck is going on, and asking yourselves, "where in Pete has that girl been!?"

So, here's the scoop: this has been the summer of ailments (and, evidently, I forgot to mark it on my calendar). No, really. It's been a little bit ridiculous. 

Since April, I've caught two colds (I hardly ever get sick), one monster case of allergies that led to never-ending coughing and ended up requiring two asthma inhalers (I don't have asthma), and, just because life wasn't going to be complete without it, I've been limping (very painfully) around for four solid weeks with my backside, hip, thigh, and knee out of whack. 

Honestly! Is this truly necessary? 

I say all this to you, not just to whine and kvetch about it (because, I mean, who would I be without my whining and kvetching?), but because getting around with extreme pain (it's finally starting to settle down somewhat, thank goodness) has forced me into an awareness I've never had before.

I'm ashamed to admit to you how completely ignorant I've been of this fact: There are a lot of people walking around in constant and terrible pain. They're not complaining and carrying on (like I am). They just go about their business and do what they've got to do. In pain. 

It's one thing to get this on an intellectual level (and, of course, I've always understood this on an intellectual level), but that doesn't mean anything. 

Sure, I've seen my dear friend get to a point where she's had to walk around with a cane (and only for very short distances) because she has extremely painful knees. I always known that she's in pain most of the time, but until recently I'd only understood it on a peripheral level. 

Until I experienced what it's like to be absolutely unable to get from point A to point B (forget the fact that moving made me want to scream and/or cry)...I had no clue. 

Do I have a point I'm trying to make here? Well, yes, I think so.

I'm realizing (yet again) how important it is for me to question some of the things (maybe many of the things) I think I "know". Because a lot of the time...I really don't. Often, all I have is some vague idea in my mind about what someone's experience is- whether the person's in pain, has a serious illness, comes from a culture or ideology different from mine, has some sort of a label (whether s/he wants that label or not), is socially ostracized...The list goes on indefinitely, as you can imagine.

I am struck by how limited I am in my understanding of what any of these things actually mean in terms of a person's life and how it affects who the person is and how they relate to other people and to the world.

In short, I am, yet again, astonished by how much I just don't know. And, more to the point, how much I'm not even aware I don't know. And I have to ask myself: as a music therapist, what are the things I think I know? And how willing am I to find out my assumption(s) may be incorrect? 


Bonnie Hayhurst said...

Wow. Again, I say wow. I appreciate your kvetching and more importantly your point Roia. =) Your posts always make me think deeply about myself, my practice and now, what I think I know. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles, experiences and even pain for the betterment of yourself, your clients and those of us that glean so much from your blog. I can't say that 'I know' how your pain feels, but I certainly hope that it continues to lessen as your understanding of it grows.

GirlWithTheCane said...

I've had some pain experiences myself recently that have made me think a great deal about how difficult it would be to live with chronic pain...I'm counting my blessings! I'm sorry that you've been feeling so off-kilter, and hope you're back to 100% soon. :) Sarah said...

Thank you so much for your insight, Roia. That reminds me of a similar period of reflection I went through in recovering from childbirth. No one really talks about how much pain that involves, and between the post-childbirth pain and the lack of sleep (not to mention the brand-new human being to care for), it was hard to think about anything else. Since I have not had much personal experience in the way of illness/pain in my life so far, it was helpful to experience that time, even though I knew it would be temporary. It's hard to imagine living with pain on a daily basis.

JoAnn Jordan said...

Learning to reassess our assumptions as we experience life is so important. I wish you healing, health & wholeness. Keep sharing your insights.

Roia said...

@Bonnie @GirlwithCane @Rachelle and @JoAnn: First, thank you, all, for your kind wishes and for your thoughtful comments. I guess what it all boils down to for me is that every experience we have presents us with a choice: we can focus on the aggravation (which, believe me, I have) or we can move beyond that to actually reflecting on it, and then we can ponder ways the challenge can help us to connect to the larger experience of being human. Thank you, again, for stopping by and sharing your own observations and insights.

Green Mountain Realty said...

Chronic pain can be terrible and especially if it resonates in the bones. I ind that meditation and music helps on a daily basis.

Roia said...

@Green Thanks for joining in the conversation. I'm so sorry you have to deal with chronic pain. That's got to be the pits! While it's not specifically using meditation and music, I usually am less conscious of discomfort when I'm engaged in the music therapy process with my clients.