dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Planting a new garden bed...

Wow, my first blog post! I feel so powerful... and a bit intimidated. Welcome to ‘Nip Pain in the bud and let your Soul blossom.’ This blog is about finding ways to live a joyful life despite chronic pain/illness. 
For a long time I’ve maintained a Chronic Pain Email group, finding and sending out articles to my pain patient friends who are looking for ways to better live with, treat, manage, and cope with pain. Now I’ve decided to start this blog. I want to be clear and say first off: I am not a doctor, nurse, or in anyway involved in the medical profession. 

As a chronic pain patient with a degenerative genetic condition, I live every day with pain & disability. I understand the constant struggle for balance - it’s hard for me to even sit here and type for very long. So I am just like you. I want to share the wisdom I’ve gained as a result of the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve l learned in the process of  adjusting  - and continually readjusting! - to a body affected by chronic pain.

Let me take a moment to explain the name of this blog. Discovering the joy of gardening has helped me tremendously. When I was stuck in a deep and dangerous depression, I was pushed to find a hobby to be passionate about. I had always liked flowers and plants, but I was not particularly interested in growing them. I don’t even know why I chose gardening when I was forced by my therapist to "just pick already"!

Something changed in me as I cared for that first batch of Coleus seedlings. It sounds trite to say, but it truly does feel like a magical process to plant a seed, watch it struggle through the soil reaching for life-giving sunlight, and grow into a beautiful element of nature, thanks to our assistance. As I nurtured those plants, I felt a sense of wonder. It touched me in a way I can’t even put in words. Caring for them, nourishing them, and checking their daily growth brought a light into my life that hadn’t been there in many long depressing months. 

I didn’t even realize it what was happening to me at first. I was still grieving for the life I had before, the abilities I had lost, and angry at the pain that plagued me. But very gradually those tiny seedlings began to show me what I needed most to remember: HOPE.

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”  
-Hans Christian Andersen
That first crop of a colorful Coleus infected me with the ‘gardening bug’ and over time I found myself thinking about a garden as a metaphor for life: the blossoming flowers are our souls, fed by the happiness and joys we cultivate in our actions and relationships. Chronic pain is like a persistent weed that threatens to take over the garden when we have chronic pain/illness. Although we may not be able to stop the invasion of weeds, we can find ways lessen their impact in our lives: to remove the weeds we can, to obstruct their growth by treating them, or to step over them and choose instead to focus on 'stopping to smell the roses'.

So once again, I welcome you to ‘Nip Pain in the bud and let your Soul blossom’. I hope you’ll find information and inspiration here!