Who Will Carry Your Backpack?

by Lesli Hill

One of the best things about the opportunity to teach is the incredible experience of learning from others who are fellow pain experts. Not long ago, a woman in a class told the story of her husband telling her that he carried her complaints about pain around in a backpack and put them in the closet at the end of the day. She was offended by that, but, to me, that was one of the most powerful loving things her spouse could do for her. Think about it for a minute. He was glad to be able to hold her feelings of pain and suffering for her, but he also knew he couldn’t carry them all the time, or they would spill over and overwhelm both of them.

People in pain need a backpack to hold their stories, a place where they are acknowledged, then held with love. These stories are part of us, just they are not all of us.  What a wonderful way to think about suffering and to realize that it doesn’t have to stay wrapped around us 24/7. We can lay it down, breathe a sigh of relief, and appreciate those who so graciously help tote us along.

Indeed, we are fortunate if we have someone to do this for us. But, we can strap on our own backpack if we need to, and we all need to. Stuff it as full as you need to, carry it as often as you need to, but PUT IT DOWN because you NEED to do that as well if you are going to successfully navigate through your pain experience.