Notes To Echo, Volume One: The Human Condition – Pain

Hi all. Echo here. I apologize for such a long delay in returning to this blog. Over the course of 2018, I have suffered crippling physical illness and several bouts of depression. As I moved through the pain and suffering, I gained quite a bit of insight into the inner workings of the internal world. Lots of “ins” there, but it’s true.

Everything is within.

I am going to start blogging once in a while on the things that I need to remind myself, hence the title “Notes To Echo.” You are welcome to read my words and join me on this journey of exploration. I invite dialogue in the comments section if you feel inclined to share your views. For now, I am basically just talking to myself, reminding myself of those things I know deep down to be true.

The following is directed at me, but I feel that by sharing I may offer someone a bit of hope when they feel stuck in a situation that causes pain.

Today, I focus on the human condition and the reality of what is sometimes a very big part of our waking existence. Pain.


All of us hurt in some form or fashion. A lot of us have mastered the art of burying our pain. We create the illusion of “all is well” just to make it through the day, day after day. We greet each morning with a smile. A smile that covers the sadness, brokenness, loneliness we might be feeling. All along the way, we convince ourselves that all is right in our worlds. Yet, at night, when the lights are out and we find ourselves in bed, struggling to sleep, reality pops into our awareness and we see what we’ve been trying to hide from ourselves all day long. We may feel:

  • Alone, even when partnered.
  • Scared, even when it’s apparent we’re secure.
  • Broken, even though by all outward appearances we are completely whole.

We may feel any and everything all at once. It’s so important at these times to feel what we feel. To allow ourselves to experience what it truly means to be human.

Pain isn’t fun. Pain isn’t comfortable. Pain sucks. But, all that said, pain makes us stop and look at where we are.

It isn’t fun to be in pain. It isn’t a joy to hurt, bleed and cry. It is, however, a part of what makes us us. It focuses our attention on the present moment. And, if we are willing to allow it to, our pain can show us in most cases what we need to do to move forward.

This takes bravery and the ability to allow ourselves to feel the hurt.

Some of the greatest lessons in life are learned while we’re in pain. I know that for me, going through a divorce and moving to a new city two hours away from home caused huge, gaping wounds in my mental, spiritual and emotional bodies. It was never easy, waking up to an empty apartment, going to a new job where I didn’t know a soul, coming home to loneliness. But I did it. And if need be, I’d do it again for not only did it teach me to look deep within myself and make a connection with what is real.

It showed me that I can survive.

So, Echo, next time you are hit with a bout of the blues, or next time you fall ill, remember to look inward. Sit with the pain. Sit with the emotion. Let yourself feel what you feel. Remember that stillness offers you the chance to look at where you are. Stillness can open up a pathway you didn’t know existed.

Stillness and awareness are your best friends in these kinds of times.

Pain is a part of life. It is just as much a part of our human reality as is good health.

Always remember that reality can be messy. Let the messes you encounter remind you of the times when everything falls into place. Times when you feel truly happy and in control of your moods and your life.

Balance is key.

Photo credit: “Illuminated Man” – Duane Michals

A Stormy Mind

Try as I may to stay focused and upbeat, there are some days where my mind is a swirling tempest of emotion. Most days are OK. I’m happy, content, have no worries or concerns.

But there are days like today when I feel that I could collapse into a puddle. (more…)

The Giver

My younger brother disowned the family years ago. I know he still lives, but he’s been dead to me for so long now that I can’t quite believe he’s still around. This poem resonates deeply with a not-quite-healed, still-open wound in the center of my heart. Just gorgeous.

The Winged Woman

A phone call with news that took away all her breath

Scant details, but announced her big brothers’ death

She had got to know him once, but that was long ago

He killed a man and was in a prison six states below

They had random visits thanks to a sister by half

She enjoyed their time, their talks, his letters, shared laughs

A trip to pick up her mail brought tears and a horrible strain

For the small heavy box was marked on all sides “Human Remains”

She drove out in late evening, camped alone in the dark

Got to a crossroads and made the left choice to park

With tie-died blanket, photos, letters, cigarettes and a beer

She created a shrine, centered on the box that held the one she held dear

She wailed, truly wailed, and wrote him one last letter

While the ravens, bees and a…

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Doing the uncomfortable: feeling the blues

I think it’s human nature to run from things that are uncomfortable.

Today I am feeling totally out of sorts.  Nothing inspires me to write, except for this.  Feeling blue is a common experience for a lot of people, and today I’m doing the uncomfortable.  I am sitting here and allowing myself to feel the blues.

It’s not very comfortable.  At all.  I normally try to do something to pep myself up when the blues come to town.  Whether it is getting into a hobby or getting physically active or whatever, it seems that I can work myself through the blues with relative ease.

Not so today.