November 6, 2004

Freed from ones self

Category: Personal — Biella @ 12:03 am

This was the first day in a long time I have felt like myself in part because I was finally freed from an heightened focus on myself. As I already mentioned, I spent most of last week sick and a better part of this week off-center especially after I found out that I was much sicker than I first thought. Now that I feel better, last night and today were the first days in a long time when I was able to fully enjoy the presence, company, conversation and laughter of others because I was no longer entrapped by a gnawing pain and discomfort that turned too much of my attention away from others and onto myself.

One of the peculiar things about illness and pain is that it induces an accentuated focus on ones self, creating a very peculiar, specific experience of autonomy that in no way frees you but momentarily disables you. No matter as much as I would like to transfer my pain outside of my self, I cannot (and would never want to) transfer my pain to another person. It is me and I and me and I alone that suffers the full bloodedness of pain; I feel stuck in me, which is the last place I want to be. At times like those pain seems as one of the least fungible of experiences.

But even while pain makes me feel trapped in my own self, I also know and experiene otherwise. I am always amazed during those times, if I let my pain and vulnerability known to others, at the kindness I receive, a thoughtfulness that warmly pierces through the isolation of illness that results from this strange accentuated focus on self. Without the kind response of others, the pain of suffering would switch from being awful (but bearable) to intolerable. For to be denied the love, warmth, and response of others during times of pain is to be treated as an isolated self, which, is the last way one (or at least I) ever want to be treated. While kidness and warmth may not cure the sting of pain, in so far as it denies the sense of automous isolation that comes with suffering, it always heals.

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