A Rainbow Under My Feet

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 7.31.23 PMA week ago I discovered that I can not only create a rainbow when I take a shower in our outdoor shower, but I can make it pass right under my feet. I’ve hardly used my indoor shower all year (with year-round mild temperatures), but this was a new experience. With the sun just so, I move my body around to find the right vantage point for the rainbow to appear in the fine spray and to surround me.

I wonder how many such lovely, beautiful things and experiences are that close-by and remain unseen? How often do we have sun and gloriously hot shower water in our lives and don’t find a way to see the beauty right under our feet? Are we able or willing to move around and find a new angle to see, one that allows us unexpected new experiences?

So often with chronic pain we get stuck in one perspective, often a very narrow one, as chronic pain tends to make our world smaller and smaller. Our focus may be on the pain, how to fix it, how to make it through the day, or how bad the future will be. We contract, tighten, withdraw. It can be a vicious spiral. Muscles tense, breath is more shallow, we are too tired to move, or to be social, and the spiral tightens further.

Can we notice the conditions that are there to support and delight us, the obvious ones like sun and hot water, or blue sky? And can we then begin to play with our vantage point until rainbows appear?

First we can notice the beneficial conditions– the sun is shining, I have an outdoor shower.

Then we need to take action– actually take a shower.

Then we can pay attention– not just close our eyes and do a rote soap down, but what do we notice, using all our senses?

Then we can begin to play with what we see, spending time to observe details and explore what seems delightful – oh, there’s a rainbow when I move and look this way.

We may need to move around, change stand points, angles, perspectives – I can move the rainbow right under my feet!”

Finally we can allow this delight to fill our day with more sparkle – Guess what I saw today?

Did I have pain during this time? I did not pay attention  to pain that is.

How does this relate to your life? How can you discover new pleasures with what you have right now? I am always amazed how easy it is to forget things that are pleasant, delightful, or that make us happy, such as sitting outside with my laptop to write, looking at brilliant greens and blue sky. It is interesting how a positive small interaction can change our mood, outlook, even a whole day, such as walking down the block and looking at and smelling the neighbor’s roses and complimenting her. Or telling a stranger that she has a pretty dog. Or saying something kindly to the checker at the grocery store. We can create rainbows in many places in our lives. —

Does a small change in vantage point, internal comments or perspective of what seems true right now offer you an experience that is more helpful? Can you look for the silver lining or even a rainbow? Can you shine light on that which is fearful, dark and tight to allow it to begin to loosen?

Can this begin to unravel the pain spiral? Stopping, paying mindful attention to something beautiful, breathing more fully, inviting our bodies to move in comfortable ways, spending time savoring, and seeing beauty in what we have and feeling appreciation for it – yes all this can make a difference.

I have asked many questions today, and I hope something resonated. Check my comments on Living in Color, which are related.