A Pain in the Butt and an Unexpected Insight about Surrender and Choices


Spending weeks in bed trying to find a position that doesn’t hurt, not being able to sit or stand for more than a few minutes at a time has been a shock.  Times like these, a whole lot of fears that you either think you’ve conquered or you tell yourself you’ll sort them out one day – they rear their ugly heads and remind you rudely that that day has arrived, like it or not.

Of course, I never like it.  Lying in bed last night I was thinking about how in the last three or four months I’ve been moving in what feels like a great direction.  Spending my time, energy and resources on something that feels right.  I’d accessed enough money to last until the end of October, so I was free from that hideous stress, and it let me focus on and prioritize my writing projects.  The first draft of my e-book was done, and I had a timetable for the scripts, crime novel and bio.  I’d given myself a minimum output every day, and I was sticking to it.

Bliss.  My world felt secure for the first time in about ten years.  I had back-up, and I was focused in my work.  I joined a gym – time to get back in shape, get healthy, get strong –  was doing some photography again, getting out into the world, taking horse-riding lessons.  I was feeling normal.   In short, I was on a roll.  Then life put the brakes on.

It’s been 7 weeks now, and at times my world has felt as if it was closing in again especially in the last three weeks when I’ve had to stop taking anti-inflammatories and pain-killers because they give me convulsions.  Great.  I couldn’t get out, couldn’t stay on course, couldn’t even do computer work or connect with friends in cyberspace.  Scary.  Horrid.  I fought it for a while, then accepted that sometimes you just have to surrender, at least temporarily.

So I surrendered.  With bad grace, because it was hard.  But a funny thing happened.  The world that felt as if it was closing in on me opened up in a different – and unexpected – way.  I saw how those old beliefs that I’m no good haven’t been completely rooted out, they’re still operational.  I see them the clearest when I can’t control things.  Go figure.

I’ve always hated the concept of surrender because  my interpretation of it has been that if something isn’t going the way I think it should, I have to give up on the dream.  I’ve never been able to do that.   But this time round I realized maybe surrender is something different.  Maybe it’s surrendering the idea that I have to control everything, that I’ve only got a certain amount of resources and I’ll never access any more.

More than anything maybe it’s giving up my bondage to a vicious inner critic that tells me I’m not allowed to rest if I get hurt, that I have to drive myself and control everything.  That life or God or the Universe doesn’t really like me very much, that I’ve used up all my chits for backup and support and if I blow it this time it’s over.

With my back to the wall, sometimes the only choices that seem available – apart from having temper tantrums and crying jags – are to face these beliefs I didn’t realize I had, and to choose which ones I want to keep.  Don’t like these ones, I think I’ll toss them out.  It seems such a small thing when the machinery of your life has kind of ground to a halt.  But maybe it’s the biggest thing of all.

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5 thoughts on “A Pain in the Butt and an Unexpected Insight about Surrender and Choices

  1. Sorry you’re going through hard times again, Jen, but I have no doubt that you’ll emerge stronger and more confident than ever.

    I’ve gotten to the place that when it seems that everything is bad and the Universe has turned against me, I find an odd comfort that I am a part of humanity, a huge family of humans, who all experience times like these. And I figure that if I can overcome it one more time, then maybe I can help someone else overcome it one more time, and humanity is better off because of it. Strange, I know. But it works for me!

  2. Sounds like we are all going through interesting medical things – I am so sorry to hear that you are too! Just when we got me off the meds which were making my blood sugar go up and my BP is finally coming down I am having arrhythmias – not sure if they are benign or something serious and I am so weary of all of this – I definitely hear you! I can’t spell either!

    • Sorry to hear about your heart problems (I refuse to try to spell that horrid word!!), Marijo, I really hope it’s not too serious. When I started having them I was frightened half to death, but now I take quite a small dose of beta blockers every day and my heart’s completely fine. Let me know what happens – I’ll hold thumbs xxx

  3. I think you are completely right and your insight is indeed the biggest thing of all. Having back pain, or indeed any pain is soo debilitating. and sometimes these things just force us to stop and ask ‘What is it?, really, what is it?” and if we wait, patiently, some answer comes. I admire the fact that you have given yourself that place to question Jennifer and that you have the ability to ‘toss’ out those unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. This really is insight. Good for you!

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