This is the face of Friendship.
Chronic pain changes everything, and that includes friendships. In the blog titled "My Island", I wrote about my new mantra; "pain demands efficiency." With all the new and uncertain challenges that accompany chronic pain, I had to figure out how to create a new "normal" in my life. Sleep was so non-existent that I grabbed doses of it in minutes, rather than hours. In the very beginning, when my pelvic pain was so heightened- the sunburned, I can't sleep on normal bedding kind of pain, I scheduled late night acupuncture just to get knocked out for a few hours of blissful, deep, anesthetizing, drooling, sleep. I used to joke with my acupuncturist that she could certainly remove my liver and I'd never notice. The sleep at her office would restore me for a time, and then the cycle of pain would start over again.
The sheer exhaustion I felt prompted me into action. I needed a team. I needed my Anam Caras, or soul friends. Immediately, I found an empathetic therapist who graced me with her soft-spoken wisdom, humor and comfort. I told her that "I need a safe place to talk and dump my burdens and fears." KC has been a true angel in my life. I still see her now and then, and although our relationship remains in the professional realm, we have grown to know each other well, and learn from one another.
I have a few other Anam Caras in my life, and that is a huge blessing. I hope you can gather one or two friends that care about your soul. The kind of friend that resists trying to "fix you." The kind of friend that understands that you slept through plans and it's OK. The kind of friend that delights in driving 2 hours to visit you, sit by your side while you doze, and make you a magnificent lunch with every possible fresh green thrown in. The kind of friend that so "gets you" and understands why you need to take a friend sabbatical for a while. The kind of friend that will smile and watch you knit as you squirm trying to find the elusive comfortable sitting position. Your Anam Cara will think you're awesome because you are suddenly liberated from wearing underwear. If you can find that friend, in the real world or through a virtual support group, or family, count your little gems. An Anam Cara is a rare gift, a guide that we need through this unpredictable and sometimes lonely journey.
What is Anam Cara?
According to Celtic spiritual tradition, the soul shines all around the body like a luminous cloud. When you are very open ~ appreciative and trusting ~ with another person, your two souls flow together. This deeply felt bond with another person means you have found your anam cara, or "Soul Friend." Your anam cara always beholds your light and beauty, and accepts you for who you truly are. In Celtic spirituality, the anam cara friendship awakens the fullness and mystery of your life. You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy, and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: ~HOME~