I could have zoned out in my Valium haze for the procedure, but I chose to remain as present as I could for every jab, grind and splintering yank.
Pain becomes very interesting when you play with it. I lean heavily on metta phrases in everyday life and in meditation, so I used them during the oral surgery and discovered that the pain, while real in the instant, took on an oily quality, an inability to cling or echo, when I applied self-compassion in the worst moments.
I'm no masochist (nod to Bill Murray, though I have a creeping feeling that was actually pretty unrealistic). I'm just discovering that with every passing year I want, more and more, to be present for all of it. Not just the cherry blossoms and the perfect cuppa, but for the dark regrets at 4AM, the smashing of dreams, the ripping of bone from bone.
Plus, it feeds writing like a crazy sonofabitch. And what's better, at the end of the day in front of a blank screen, than THAT?
Metta is incredibly useful, by the way. You can read more about it here.
Photo "Planet Explosion" artist unknown. Please contact me if you know the artist for attribution.