Having seen me in pain, a visiting friend shared an article about the connection between emotional issues and sciatica.

My sciatic pain can get so bad that I can barely walk the dog. Usually it flairs up when I’ve been on my feet too long. But the article intrigued me, as I found I identified with each example given.

When my mother saw her oncologist about her lymphoma, the doctor suggested that she had been swallowing the grief of losing three children without relief and that it might well be linked to her cancer. Thus, I’m aware of the possible connection between what our heart feels and what our body feels. That, of course doesn’t mean that everyone with a life-threatening disease brought it upon themselves, but it does shine a light on how we can increase the suffering by burdening ourselves with resentments, anger, and hurt feelings.

When I took an inventory of the things I carry, which was a very enlightening experience, I understood that my pain was very much impacted by my dramas, things over which I have no control. Despite saying the Serenity Prayer daily, I nevertheless miss much of the beauty and joy of life by distracting myself with imagined situations and what I should have or will say.

From reading the article, I was reminded that the ball was in my court. If I wanted to feel less pain, I needed to let go of all the things I could not change.

Letting go of all of the dramas at once is nearly impossible, but what I did learn with excitement was that if I changed how I looked at an old drama, I could feel less resentment, stand up a little taller, and feel freer.

My soul sighed “yes” in relief as I named my issues, and it felt so giddy as I jumped up and down in response to a joyful awareness of freedom, if only temporary. I haven’t jumped up and down in glee since I was a youngster. It felt so freeing and fun.

This is not to say that I’m free of pain. In fact, I just left the pain doctor’s office where I got a shot in my rump. But I’m less focused on my pain. Thoughts and feelings seem lighter, and beautiful moments leap out at me for my happy attention.

I know that when I focus on beauty, I’m aware of little, if any, pain down my right leg. Today, I fed the one-hundred-plus orchids Ray has attached to trees throughout the garden. While doing so, I wasn’t aware of any pain, and this was prior to the trip to the doctor.

It makes no sense to miss the beauty of the moment when my mind is creating scripts for handling things from the past or anticipated conflicts in the future.


Brian McNaught has been an author and educator on LGBTQ issues since 1974. Former Congressman Barney Frank said of Brian, “No one has done a better job of chronicling what it’s like to grow up gay." http://www.brian-mcnaught.com/