Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
This is what I did the day before surgery. I curled up in bed, wishing for the impossible–that I didn’t have to surrender my body to the scalpel, that I could avoid pain, and I didn’t have to start on this path to healing. For a while, I let my mind spool through the useless cycle of “why me?” and “what did I do to deserve this?” And then, I decided to get out of bed and find joy. I still had many hours left in the day. How should I fill the hours? What would make me happy? Perhaps I could “store away” these moments of happiness and think of them in the days ahead.
Here’s what I did:
- Eating Tom Yum soup at Chili Duck
- Walking up the main staircase at the Boston Public Library
- Visiting Sacco and Vanzetti at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Archive
- Sitting in the sun in Copley Square
- Enjoying a slice of chocolate cake at Papa Razzi, Newbury Street
Guess what? It worked.
I invite you to share moments of inspiration, joy, and insight that came to you during difficult times. In the weeks and months ahead I will post these “flashes” as I embark on a quest for healing. This may seem contradictory–to find happiness in adversity, but I believe that in moments of darkness we can find wisdom, understanding and opportunities for growth, which can give us great joy. William Shakespeare says it best:
“Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”–William Shakespeare