Yesterday, my doctor performed a miniature miracle: after manipulating my body in every direction and eliciting an enormous amount of pain, she pushed and pulled my legs in their hip joints and the pain disappeared. At least, until she made me hop on each foot. And then the ache returned to my lower back.
It was dampened, however, from its former vigor and I went through the rest of my day able to walk, to stand, to sit and carry with relative ease.
The pain, at its worst, was so intense I did not think it could ever be diminished. I prepared myself for a lifetime of restlessness, in which I would be unable to hold any position for more than a few moments. I anticipated a chronic, unending throbbing in my back and hips and the new normal I would have to create for myself to survive.
Pain is like that: even a stubbed toe has a feeling of permanence.
I am sure there is some sort of biological imperative to the process, as there is for most connections between body and brain and nerves. Perhaps to give us time to thing long and hard about the actions we took to create our unfavorable situations; perhaps to keep us away from self-destruction.
In any event, pain is awful. Especially pain that persists. Especially more, pain that keeps you from life.
As my pain subsides, I am creating an action plan for how to best keep it away. Not running as much (of course and unfortunately) is at the top of the list, but so is mindfulness. Taking deliberate time out of every day to settle into myself, take stock of my feelings, and just be. And, more importantly, to enjoy the process of stillness. There have been many times when my life has been filled with fears to run away from, and my daily running practice helped take me far away from their festering; but my life feels better now, more secure and more at peace. I am becoming ready to experience the moments.