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I Moved My Cane Today

Prop the mental cane against the corner and leave the pain where it belongs - in the past.
Picture of Karl Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk
February 7, 2011

Pain is a very interesting thing for humans. All of this applies to physical, mental, and emotional pain.

We develop “mechanisms” for dealing with pain. One simple example is to move slowly or keep our back straight in order to avoid the pain of a spasm.

Another mechanism is to simply forget the pain of the past. Some women say that the only way they would have a second child is that they were able to let the pain of the first childbirth fade away. It’s not that you forget it altogether, but it fades into the background.

Many of us know how debilitating back pain can be. But when your back feels fine, it really feels fine. And then when you have a problem you remember how bad it can get.

For several years I walked with a cane due to the pain of my rheumatoid arthritis. My pain was in my hips, and it made me feel unsteady to walk. Gradually, slowly, over time I used the cane less and less as the inflammation of my disease reduced.

A few months ago I moved to a new apartment. In packing, I came across my cane. It was a real revelation for me that I hadn’t thought about the cane for many years. “Oh that’s where that is.”

Little things like this help us understand that we need to be grateful for the positive changes in our lives. As the pain fades, it’s easy to forget the pain. But from time to time we need to remind ourselves that we’ve moved beyond the pain. Remember the victory and the growth, even as you recall the pain.

There’s a healing component to remembering the pain without reliving it. This is especially true of mental or emotional pain. Stand above the pain of the past and observe it from above. See it, watch it. Don’t feel it and don’t dwell on it.

Prop the mental cane against the corner and leave the pain where it belongs – in the past.


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