Lucky Coincidence to meet Dr. Epstein

I spent decades denying and avoiding the pain of an unsatisfying, unexamined and unlived life.

Finally, the physical pain of rheumatoid arthritis and a lucky coincidence got me to a talk on mind-body healing by Dr. Paul Epstein. I sensed that he was pointing the way to the most profound kind of healing of the body, mind and heart so I started to see him weekly.

I vividly remember our first session. Suddenly I was revealing to him my oldest stories and deepest wounds, which I had never shared with another person. The heavy locked door of the darkened "house" of my psyche opened a crack as I began the long process of letting my pain in. I went through a long period of judging the pain and resisting it and struggling with it. (Sometimes, of course, it feels like I'm still doing that.) Then I began to recognize and accept the pain, and a huge sigh of relief to body and soul reverberated throughout the "house". Now there are even times when I can see "my" pain as just pain, more universal and not so tied up with my own identity.

Often now I can use pain as a hard-earned and invaluable tool that can open the door to further acceptance and healing. It can be a thermostat to indicate my internal weather. It can be a compass for my journey. For example: My buttons just got pushed. Ouch! What does that tell me? I can use wise discernment and inquiry to learn where this painful reaction comes from. Another example: Right now I feel stuck in an "if only" thought pattern (insisting that something in my life shouldn't be the way it is), and because I am willing to face the aversion and pain of that, I can feel the suffering that comes from this hanging on and the rope burns that come from not letting go. And another example: Dr. Epstein suggests a place where I may be deluding myself, something I haven't realized but I know is true because I instantly feel that edgy twinge of recognition and I know he has hit a sore spot, but a true spot. A therapeutic bull's eye. And I'm glad. I know another window has been thrown open to help air out my musty "house".

Perhaps physical, psychological and spiritual transformation for me is just a very long process of cleaning house. No great epiphanies or blissed-out states of enlightenment, just the joy of the lightening. I am simply a traveler who must be on this journey of healing as surely as I must breathe. Freedom has many faces.