Mission statement change: Compassion and science too
Recent musings have led me to consider the direction of the chronic pain forum. It’s superficial as is and lacks the compassion I originally sought to emanate. I still enjoy reporting on the latest issues facing all things chronic pain, but there needs to be a good mix of inspiration here too. After all, I’ve been sitting here writing all about how beneficial things like holistic treatments, pain psychology, meditation, and the like are; why not implement these things as best I can through the forum?
People need compassion in many forms, and I empathize with that need. Chronic pain is a private hell to live with, but it doesn’t have to be—it can be shared. It’s awful to deal with, once all things are considered, but it does provide glimmers of divine truth to those who suffer.
I’ve been doing my research and I don’t think we just need interesting tidbits on things like the latest woes facing big pharma and the opioid manufacturers, or the benefits of medicinal marijuana (although these specific cannabis entries still account for thousands of clicks per day, weeks later even, they are not deep stories or penetrating into the soul of pain). Pema Chödrön, who I revere, said what I think is one of the best explanations of the purpose of pain, although you can find these sorts of ideas in any number of places, she occupies a special place in my heart. So, to kick off the new look of the chronic pain forum here is Pema:
Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness—life’s painful aspect—softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose—you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.
I’ve resolved to mix in a little of both science reporting and inspiration from now on, and I pray for your feedback on this change, so I can make a more successful, empathic community for everyone. Thank you for all that you do.