Navigating the Pain

I’ve been thinking about how pleasure meets intense pain. Here’s what today looked like.

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So I’m lying here on my back, trying to navigate the incessant pain, the kind that presses and burns and shoots from one place to another. It doesn’t stay still, but there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to where it goes next. And through this all I’m aware that the only way that I’m going to manage it at all is by following what little wisps of pleasure are left in its wake. This means finding them first, the echoes of the absence of pain. And so I breathe in and breathe out and let the tension in my adductors go, willing my leg to relax, and I find an opening. But instead of immersing myself in that opening I put one foot there and try to make another opening. I will my quads to relax, I breathe into them. The pain is in the middle so I start instead at the knee. I breathe an opening into the muscle tissues, I breathe an opening up from the knee toward my hip and somewhere, for a moment, there’s a space. If I don’t think too hard, now I have two spaces, one on the inside of my thigh, and one on the top. I breathe into them both. With them both released, I feel the tugging in my groin, no longer balanced by the tension in my leg. Holding both openings with one piece of my mind, I press my thought into my groin and will that, too, to release. At this point it feels like a juggling exercise, trying to keep all of the openings open, and breathing, and allow the pain to fall away, that pain to which I’ve become so accustomed that it is almost like breathing itself. And with all of those held open, as I breathe and relax and breathe, the pain shifts to my hip and is more piercing and more solid there. I wonder briefly if I should take what I’ve got, or if I should continue pursuing the openings of pleasure. Some part of me wonders if I’m getting greedy. Another realizes that pain free is not unreasonable but I simply am not sure I can do it. These are the uncertainties that pain plants when I’m not paying attention. And so, holding my focus, I allow a small thread to lean and weave into my hip to create a crack in the ball of tension there, to open it up. I feel the pain try to return to my thighs as I do this, but I cannot panic now, so I breathe again and open the thigh again and then for a moment all is silent. The pleasure, for the moment, has won.