Lesson One: Being with Pain Study Guide Individual Track

Being with Pain Series

Individual Track Learning Guide

Lesson One: Unattended Pain

Questions Worth Considering

4. “Unattended pain is harmful to ourselves, to others, and our world.” –Soul & Science Lesson

5. “Suffering is experienced by whole persons, not bodies. It is subjective and personal, with possible origins in all domains of the individual’s experience.” – (Healing Connections: On Moving from Suffering to a Sense of Well-Being”)

6. There are four types of healing connections: “with Self, others, the phenomenal world . . ., or with God or Ultimate Meaning . . . The experience of healing connections, in large part, characterized the striking differences between those with ‘‘positive’’ and ‘‘negative’’ coping patterns.” – (Healing Connections: On Moving from Suffering to a Sense of Well-Being”)

7. “An experience of connectedness at one of these levels [self, others, the outside world, God or Ultimate Meaning] frequently appeared to be associated with openness to connecting at the other levels. ‘’Healing, begets healing, begets healing’. . .’’ .” – (Healing Connections: On Moving from Suffering to a Sense of Well-Being”)

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Best Practices – (Choose at Least One)

1. “Self-awareness is an innate psychological function that may expand one’s range of choices and allow for more creative responses in any given situation. In times of stress, self-awareness may collapse into a constricted view of reality and more reactive patterns of behavior, but self-awareness can be actively fostered and strengthened.” – (Self-care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected . . . A Key to My Survival”)

A key to good self-care is “self-awareness”, which means knowing oneself well enough to recognize when one is stressed and needing to take remedial action on the one hand and to appreciate what makes one happy and is replenishing on the other. Make a list of the signs that you are feeling stressed or experiencing unattended pain. Take note during the week to see if any of those signs are manifesting.

2. “Each of us might consider how we could integrate practical and effective moments of self-care into the fabric of our working day.” – (Self-care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected . . . A Key to My Survival”)

Make a “self-care inventory”. On a blank page make two columns. Title one column “What gives me life outside work?” and the other “What gives me life at work?” then fill in each column, notice what comes up, and commit to making one positive change in each column. Let the following questions guide your process:

  • In what aspects of my life do I feel most awake, alive, connected?
  • What do I already to cultivate self-awareness (mindfulness & self-knowledge) in my life?
  • What do I already do to align myself with life-giving aspects of my existence?
  • What else could I do to cultivate self-awareness and align myself more with life-giving aspects of my life?
  • What makes me most awake, alive, connected?
  • What brings me into a sense of lightness of being?
  • What brings me peace of heart?
  • What brings me into gratitude?
  • What brings me into a sense of deep belonging?
  • What awakens in me a longing to care for all beings, especially the most vulnerable?
  • What healing connection practices are already part of my life?
  • And what healing connections practices could I make part of my life?

3. “Two methods of enhancing self-awareness that have empirical data to support their effectiveness are mindfulness meditation and reflective writing. . . Different ways of practicing reflective writing have been suggested. Spann described one simple method as, ‘Keep the pen moving; welcome everything; don’t worry about errors; let the subject choose you; write for your eyes only; feelings, feelings, feelings; and details, details, details!’ ” – (Self-care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected . . . A Key to My Survival”)

For one week, dedicate 10-15 minutes a day for reflective writing. As described in the quote above “Keep the pen moving; welcome everything; don’t worry about errors; let the subject choose you; write for your eyes only; feelings, feelings, feelings; and details, details, details!”