Tonight I find myself wondering how much pain is too much pain and what that looks like and feels like to different people.
At the beginning of this year a friend gave me a 3 hour long full body massage and I pretty much screamed through it all. He commented on how much "stuff" I was carrying and how surprised he was that I didn't cry and wasn't emotional. He felt that most of the "stuff" wasn't my own so it made sense that there weren't many emotions to release. My own stuff, I had already processed and released emotionally, it was just that the muscles were still knotted. Pain is such a personal thing. One persons limit may be the point at which another just begins to squirm or cry.
At the hospital last weekend my Aunt asked what prompted me to ask the nurse to give my grandma Morphine. How did I know she was in pain? I didn't know if she was in pain but she didn't look healthy. She was dying and her entire body was infected and swollen which couldn't have been painless. Physical pain anyone can empathize with but its the emotional and psychological which slide right by most and remain misunderstood, even by those living with it sometimes.
The pull towards actively living as a healer keeps getting stronger and stronger and with that I'm realizing that it's kind of the opposite end of the pain spectrum. The other side of the same mountain. It has to be for balance and order in the universe. And so I sit here at midnight wondering if that's part of the reason I am drawn over and over again towards people in pain. Be it physical or emotional. It seems I'm always bandaging someone's skin or their soul. It's a sort of subconscious pull that only gets stronger unless I address it.
Due to one of these astral tugs that's become a serious rhythm over the past week, tonight I did a tarot spread. It's an ongoing connection with a person that's been cycling for years between the most intense and beautiful love I've known just yet and the most pain filled heart wrenching loss I've known. Again, two sides of the same mountain. The cards never lie. Nope. The 5 of cups made an appearance on my side and the 5 of pentacles on the other persons side. Both cards speak of suffering and loss and emotional pain and damn the entire spread was just on point. Threw my subconscious right into quite the musing session.
I thought back to the first reiki session I had when I was told I cannot continue to allow myself to carry another persons pain for them no matter how much I love them. And I thought about my massage 2 months ago and my friend who said he'd have collapsed if he was carrying as much as I was. As I looked at this spread and really took in the picture all of the cards together were painting, I wondered if the pain was too much for the other person. If their limit had been reached. And my aunts voice echoed "How did you know she was in pain?" And I cry and I cry and just cry until my full body begins to sob. As quickly and intensely as it begins, it ends and it's like the emotional version of changing a channel. I can't do that with pain that is my own. It lingers long after I've shifted my focus and colors everything in my life.
So how much is too much and what's a healer to do when the pain is too deep for them to take on? Strength and space and small doses I suppose? My glass half full, stubborn venusian spirit won't let me give up.