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Cross Country 7- Alone

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  • Cross Country 7- Alone

    Posted by Barrett<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,8,9,16,24,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 67) on 09-09-2004 23:24<noscript>September 09, 2004 04:24 PM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    The Holiday Inn near Logan airport in Boston is notoriously difficult to get to. The highways wind around it, full of Boston drivers bent on getting somewhere else and not especially interested in the confusion on the face of a Midwesterner straggling in from the north after three long days of travel. Thirty years ago I lived around here, and my memories of the traffic aren’t especially comforting. Still, after a few side trips I hadn’t anticipated I found myself on a stretch of blacktop that provided the only access to the hotel that I could find.

    Trudging through the parking lot with my stuff I was suddenly reminded of something I felt back in the late 70s when I was working for Paris and driving a van across country, teaching courses on joint mobilization. Not a pleasant feeling and not one I’d normally seek to recreate. It smacks of loneliness and isolation. There’s a dullness and stillness that emerges insidiously in contrast to the pressure and constant change of city driving. I know it will pass once I get into the brightly lit lobby and start up the TV and computer in my room. Realizing that, I stopped walking toward the door and spent a few moments alone on a warm Boston evening standing beneath the stars and listening to the din from Route 1.

    A portion of each course is spent demonstrating my method on a variety of students. I ask for volunteers and always find that there are enough severe and debilitating problems with chronic pain to fill an hour. Often these are therapists in their twenties and thirties being urged forward by the coworkers who have failed to help them in any enduring fashion. During the course of the day I will have spoken of the isolation that physical pain produces. The consequences of this are evident in the stilted and incomplete histories given in front of the class. People in pain learn soon enough that talking about what they’re experiencing often isolates them even further. The novelist and poet John Updike wrote of this: …Pain… shows us what seriousness is…And shows us too, how those around us cannot get in; they cannot share our being. Somehow therapists have to sort through that and relinquish the notion that they’ll ever be able to document this thing and its management perfectly.

    I’ve never suffered from anything like this. I contend that the absence of physical pain in my life is simply a matter of moving in certain ways regularly and my maintenance of a specific autonomic state, but I know that there’s some luck involved. Stopping in the parking lot was probably my way of visiting this state in some way. I won’t be able to understand it without some sense of it, I guess.

    I had a few good moments during this past trip-and a few not so good. For instance, my discussion with the young woman about Kundalini Yoga didn’t go so well. But the moment that stands out is the one I spent alone in that parking lot ruminating about my patients and colleagues. A couple of days later, still trying to write about this, I came across a quote from William James that seems to fit; “Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.”

    I attended to the feeling in that universe for a minute or so and then walked on. I know our patients in pain can’t escape this so easily.
    Last edited by bernard; 30-12-2005, 05:55 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein