Posts Tagged: pain

Jul 12

I see a reflection!


You want to know what really bugs me?  Probably not but I will tell you anyway.

Pushy People.

Have you ever been driving along pretty fast and then have someone ride your butt with the intention of pushing you along?

I don’t know about you but it doesn’t motivate me to move along faster.  In fact I want to slow down to show them they can’t control me.

Yes, call me weird or sick.  I probably have some psychological malady about being controlled that surfaces during these events.

But pushy people bug me… and not just in driving.

I dislike it when I am in a line and people get all pushy and try to slip around me trying to get ahead.

If you have ever been trapped at an early bird buffet in Fort Lauderdale you catch my drift.  There is enough pushing, shoving and cane poking to last a lifetime.

In the spirit of full disclosure my wife would say that I would tend to be pushy at times… humpf… not me.

Well, maybe a little – but not much (seriously).


Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
– Confucius

One of the things that I’ve learned over time is that the things that quickly irritate us most are things that we tend to do ourselves.

I’ve mentioned this example in an earlier blog but it applies perfectly to the topic today.

When I meet someone new I do the usual chitchat that everyone does to establish relationship.  As you know, at some point the conversation with someone you just met eventually circles around to children.  How many? Ages? Etc.

After I have established a good rapport (and if the circumstances are appropriate) I generally ask which of their lovely children tends to be the greatest challenge for them personally.

Nine times out of ten it’s the child that is most like them.  The parent gets irritated at the child for very things they do.

Yep… we are all guilty of this to some degree.

Allow me to throw a few examples at you and see if any irritate you.  As the old country axiom goes… the dog that yelps was the one hit by the rock.

-        Pushy people dislike things that push them

-        People who have edgy tones in their voices bristle at edgy tones in others

-        Aloof people hate being discounted

-        People with cutting sarcasm detest insensitive cutting people

-        Controlling people hate to be controlled

-        Intolerant people abhor intolerant people

-        Add your own to the list


I can hear some of you scowling in your head… this guy is making blanket statements and exaggerating the examples.

Oh… did I forget to mention a couple of more things that should be on the above list?

-   People who exaggerate deplore exaggeration

-   People who make blanket statements are bothered by people who make blanket statements


Frankly, I am sure most of you can punch holes in my logic.  Probably.

But for some of you I hit a nerve.  That’s a good thing.

A hit nerve forces us to take a look at what’s causing the pain.

Ciao… See you Monday.

Feb 12

I wish, I wish, I wish


Hi, I hope you have been tagging along the last couple of blogs. 

We have been talking about two phrases that determine the course of your life.  Each of these two phrases has as its key word… “If”.

The two simple phrases are, “What if…” and “If only…”.

We spent the last blog talking about the “What if” phrase.  It is the phrase that is future focused.  The positive application of this little phrase charts a life course and loads it with possibilities.

But as we all know, there are always two sides to a coin.  The other side of this coin is “If only…”.

Whereas the “What if…” mindset takes control of one’s life, “If only…” thinking relinquishes control.

“If Only…”

I hope I don’t sound judgmental, but I do not understand why some people choose to occupy space on this side of the coin.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have my share of “If only…” experiences in my life too.  I would have liked to have some things different.  Some were no fault of my own and some are totally the result of my own hand.

But the past is the past and I REFUSE to give it the attention or energy it tries to demand.  Looking backwards is energy used in the wrong direction.

Sadly, I know several people who are consumed with things that happened (or didn’t happen) to them in the past. 

Before we go any further it is important to note that I am not arguing with the fact that bad things happen to people.  It’s sad but true, some terrible things happen to people.  Things that are completely unfair and wrong.  

I am not debating the fairness of anyone’s particular situation, good or bad… but I am saying this… spending time on the “only if…” side of life is a losing proposition

Not only is it a losing proposition, “If only…” is victim position.  And victims feel they have no choice… except maybe revenge… but that poison pill is more deadly than refusing to let go.

There is NO win at all for expending energy in that direction.

Just so you know, I am not saying it’s an easy task.  Negative things in our lives are pretty tough hombres… they’re tough to kill. 

We think we have finally buried them and without notice we feel the slimy hand reach from a shallow grave to grab us once again.

Wishing something did or didn’t happen doesn’t change it.  The anger or resentment one hangs on to only breathes life into the death spiral.

We begin to live off the carcass of a dead past.  We sort of become the road kill on the highway of life. 

But the good news is there are other options to lying on the side of the road with tire tracks across our middle.

The scars you abhor as marks of pain become symbols of strength and character.  That’s the amazing prize of victory. 

I am inspired by J.R. Martinez.  In 2003, Martinez sustained severe burns to over 40 percent of his body while serving as a United States Army infantryman in Iraq.

As many of you know he is an actor and recent winner of the TV show Dancing With the Stars

Obviously from the picture we can see his scars are external.  He is a remarkable example of not choosing the victim phrase of “If only…”.

Its remarkable how small words can be so powerful… it all depends on how we choose to look at them.

Ciao… see you Monday.

Jan 12

The Greeks had it right


Hi, welcome back.

In my last blog I talked about the surprises life throws at us… the good… and the bad.

Call me silly, but personally I like the good better than the bad.

But I know that there will be bad.  I was at a funeral this week to prove that reality… very, very sad.

Side Note: Now let’s be really honest here for a moment.  Some of you reading this blog are saying, “uuuugh… I don’t want to read anything depressing.”

I understand.  I feel that way at times too.  But stick it out.

It won’t be as depressing as you may think, and hopefully be encouraging.


I think the Greeks had a fairly accurate view of life as seen with the picture of the historic “Greek Tragedy” masks.   Life is a mix of the happy and sad.

So as you can see, I will sprinkle some modern day versions of the “Greek Tragedy” emblems throughout the blog.

I do need to make an important point of clarification about the good and bad, but particularly the bad.

I have had bad things happen (like this week) that I had no control over.  Life happens… it hurts.  I fully accept this reality.

But what I can’t tolerate, is the pain in my life that is self-inflicted… it irks me.  Now let’s face it, we have all made very stupid decisions that have brought unnecessary pain into our lives.  This is a topic for another time… not today.

In Monday’s blog I mentioned that in one week my wife and I experienced the miracle of life and the tragedy of death.

The miracle of life was a heart transplant for a dear friend.

This humble marvelous man’s days were numbered.  But the call came and the miracle transplant took place… Joy! Joy! Joy!

But this miracle of life reflected in a most powerful way the paradoxical nature of life.

The mountain top of joy for us meant a painful valley for another.  While we rejoice, someone somewhere is grieving… the “Greek Tragedy” in real life.

The real question is, how do we (you and I) view this reality of life?

For the most part I believe most people look for the good but try really hard to ignore the bad.   I think that’s kinda normal.

For me personally, this is where my Faith plays an important role.

Side Note: Once again, to my non-Christian friends, I am not trying to impose what I       believe on you.  I am just answering the question I asked two sentences earlier.

Your response to the question may be different, that’s fine.

My Faith provides a context that makes sense of the big picture to me.  I may not understand the details of the immediate but I can see the ultimate.  This is comforting.

There is something very comforting about accepting the reality that this world with all its moving parts of joy and pain is not random.  But there is a pattern and meaning to all that happens.

So I sit here seated between the pain of life and the joy of life.  I am sad and happy at the same time.

See you on Monday.

Jan 11

Bad Pain

Hi there, welcome back. 

Yep, you guessed it.  What I thought would be a one blog topic has sloshed over to another entry.  I personally though I had put enough flesh around the painful topic of pain to move on to more pleasurable things. 

But alas… I was wrong.  My wife graciously informed me that there was more.  And the frustrating thing about it is, she’s right.  My mind totally whiffed the ball regarding one aspect of pain that is central to our lives.

I mentioned that there is pain that is intentional and we embrace it because the reward is greater than the cost.  And I talked about the pain we experience that is self inflicted out of ignorance or stupidity. 

“The hard part of being a bartender is figuring out who is drunk and who is just stupid.”

- Richard Braunstein

But what I missed spending time on is the pain that we experience in life that is present because of no fault of our own – not by bad choices nor by intention. 

These are the variety of agonies we face in life that touch the heart (emotions), head (mental), and body… BAD PAIN.

All have (or will) experience pains such as losing a loved one too soon;  the rejection by one you love by no fault of your own; the physical pain one experiences due to a disease or accident; the innocent abused or exploited; you add your own pain point. 

The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not. 

– C.S. Lewis


These are pains to which there are no easy answers or solutions and makes life seem so very unfair.  The pains are present… just because.

The interesting thing about this type of pain is that it cannot be ignored.  Its vile presence demands attention and seems to cruelly mock our inability to control all of life’s situations. 

Unfortunately this reality of life begs the question, what do we do when we experience this kind of pain?

I think everyone goes through a myriad of feelings and emotions from raging anger to smothering numbness.  The important question/ issue is, where do you end up?

All go through some cycle of emotion and then eventually work their way to the other side where the pain or pain event becomes part of the mosaic that makes up who you are.

But some never seem to make it through (or it takes much too long) and the pain defines who they are. 

Some angrily pump their fist heavenward and curse God and then allow themselves to gravitate even more deeply in the tangle of anger and end up cozying with its partner… hate

Yes, this partnership of anger and hate provides a convenient outlet for one’s emotions but the deception is that it unknowingly magnifies and perpetuates the pain one resents.

Then there is numbing emotional pain… it aches.  It is not a sharp pain that pierces but a weighty ache that lies below the surface smothering the soul.  The constant press of the ball of hurt inside seeps through the small cracks and emotions tumble out at the slightest opportunity. 

I am not judging the natural course of people’s emotions.   We have all been there to some degree or another.  And I don’t have the answer that makes sense of the why, what, and when of this kind of pain. 

But I do believe that the path through the pain is to look out, not in

If not careful one easily spirals downward in a morass of morbid introspection searching for answers.  The focus is inward with the unending search for why. 

Going and looking “out” is not ignoring the problem.  It is looking at the problem outward vs. inward.  We march forward in life vs. stepping back.

Please forgive me if I sound simplistic in my opinion.  I realize things of this nature are never easy. 

Personally I don’t like the topic of pain.  If gives me the willies. 

But I follow where I believe I am led.  Pain was not on my mental agenda.  But who knows, maybe someone reading this needs what I am writing.

See you Monday.

Jan 11

Good Pain

Hi, good to see you again.

I have no idea why I am tackling this topic on a Monday morning.  It just popped into my mind so here I am pecking away talking about… pain.  Of all the things pleasant things in the world, I come up with pain.

I heard an interesting story on the news the other day.  It was about a young boy that didn’t feel any physical pain. 

At first glance I wondered the significance of the condition that warranted a news story.  But oh my!  The boy never knew when he hurt himself.  He would cut himself, step on something, touch a burner on the stove… and never knew it.

The parents would have to routinely examine the child during the day to see if he had injured himself.

This story sparked a quizzical banter in my head.  Scary huh?  Yep, you should have heard all the ruckus as I wrestled with the dynamic and reality of pain.

The amazing thing about pain is that everyone has an opinion because we all have experience with it.  Experience tends to make experts of us all.

The reality of pain creates an interesting paradox.  Pain is both good and bad.  In fact, one can build a larger case for pain than against pain.

I believe that most people think that the presence of pain to some degree in life is a good thing.  But if it is a good thing, why do we avoid it? 

Well, maybe because… it H U R T S !

I don’t know, call me silly, but I don’t like to hurt.  In fact I try to avoid things that are painful, uncomfortable and inconvenient. 

But I also know the value and importance of pain.  In balance the good from pain far exceeds the bad.  As I said earlier, for me pain tends to fall into two camps – good and bad.

Bad pain tends to be that which is self inflicted by poor decisions, selfishness or downright stupidity.  Some can make the argument that one learns from that type of pain.  Yes, I think that is true but I still believe there is some pain that is absolutely unnecessary.

There is also good pain.  In a strange sort of way pain not only lets us know that we are alive but where we are alive.

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.

-         Lord Byron          


We are made to feel… feel physically and emotionally.  We are created to feel deeply, powerfully and passionately.  “Feeling” is a good thing.  Yes, you guessed it; feelings get us in trouble too. 

I tend to think that’s where pain comes in.  Pain keeps us calibrated with reality and helps us avoid those excesses that damage.   Pain causes us to back off where it’s dangerous and pinpoints the spots that need tending to.

Then there are times when we invite pain.  We intentionally engage in something that we know is painful. 

It is those unique points of clarity where we decide that the cost of pain is worth the reward that follows.  Pain is part of the process or path that takes us where we want and need to go. 

There has never been a great athlete who died not knowing what pain is.

- Bill Bradley


We all could add several examples to Bill Bradley’s list.  But one example that comes immediately to mind is anyone who experiences the joy of a great loving relationship.  To know that level of joy requires the pain of having difficult conversations, addressing hard issues, and being vulnerable. 

I would say that anything worthwhile, powerful, and good in ones life requires times of chosen pain.

A Weird Truth:  Most bad pain in life comes from not being willing to engage in good pain at the right time.

That which is escaped now is pain to come.

- Ancient Proverb


Knowing that pain is good for me doesn’t make me like it anymore.  It’s just that this knowledge helps me understand life’s process of getting to those places I want to go and allows me to embrace pain a bit more readily. 

Thanks for hanging out with me.

See you Thursday.

Sep 10

Pain Lives


I have always been pretty healthy.  Frankly I have had it pretty easy in the area of physical health.  I have been very very blessed in that way.  In fact I had never spent a night in a hospital.

Historically I have avoided virtually all medications except for an occasional Tylenol or antacid. 

I’ve had the normal colds, flu, stitches, broken arm, and sundry scrapes, bruises, smashed fingers and cuts… normal kids and boy stuff. 

But a couple of weeks ago I got sick, real sick.  The doctor thought I was having a heart attack and I ended up in the emergency room. 

          “It is the sick person not the healthy who knows what health really is.”

                             – Oswald Chambers (paraphrased)


I appreciated my health and valued it but you cannot fully grasp health until you lose it or it is in serious jeopardy.  It was the first time in my life I ever felt really vulnerable.  This was a very strange and ominous feeling indeed.

I had surgery on Tuesday.  Compared to many people the surgery was not too serious (gall bladder).  There have been a few complications and it was serious enough to change my perspective on health.  I have a much greater appreciation for health and it instilled a great deal more sensitivity toward those who struggle with illness.

Another insight I have had during this ordeal is the issue of pain.  I have experienced pain as no other time in my life.  Excruciating debilitating pain!

I found you can learn a lot about yourself when in extended pain.  Overall I think I handled it pretty well but then again maybe you should ask my wife.

“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.”

- Julius Caesar


I did find out that this non-pill taking person (and proud of it) was ready to tear into any medication that would relieve the pain. 

Originally I was going to start this blog with a statement along the line that the journey I have been on was being stalled because of the illness.  But in reality our journey in life is accelerated during difficult times. 

Adversity brings reality into focus.  Life has the tendency to cloud what’s really important.  And adversity also tests ones character.  I probably shared this in one of my earlier blogs but it is well worth repeating. 

Many years ago I was taking a tour on the Wedgewood pottery factory in England.  During the tour they showed a video of the process and during the video the narrator talked about the intense heat of the kiln.  Then he made a statement that pierced me between the eyes.

          “In the fire of the kiln the character of the pot is proved.”


I don’t know about you but I hate the fire of adversity.  But you learn so much.  Good things, Holy things, Powerful things… if we are just willing to listen.

“Speak Lord your servant listens.”

See you Monday