The Power of Silence

Updated: Jun 27

Pain is a teacher that nags at me when I don’t pay attention. I never really experienced unrelenting pain until I was brought to my knees by Fibromyalgia in 1999. It started out as a simple awareness of discomfort in my arms and grew into an unrelenting pain that shot through all my muscles and organs announcing brokenness, gashes, and surely documentable conditions that would warrant a cast, a crutch, a remedy.

Fibromyalgia to me is a mimicking disease. It states its presence and then disappears for another day. It travels throughout my body without giving me the courtesy of its itinerary.

Gratefully, this traveling bandit has quieted down over the years as I shaved back my lifestyle to silence. Not a silence that gagged my spirit. A silence that stilled me long enough to listen. It’s been 20 years.

I learned silence in all my choices, an empowering silence that allowed me to observe and understand my needs, my wants, my opinions. I discovered I was crying on the inside most of the time. I discovered I never listened to what I had to say, often abandoning myself, siding with the crowd of those I felt abandoned by. I discovered my emotions were eating me and I was reacting mindlessly. I believed my fears were the truth. I discovered I was my own bully.

I was forced to stillness by pain. Day after day I was a prisoner in my body. Day after day I existed on the living room couch and surrendered. That was my agenda. With professional help, I managed the pain, managed my needs, managed my humility and surrendered.

Over my 40 plus years, I had adopted many compromising ways to exist that my spirit felt twisted. One by one I found these knots and negotiated their release, whether it was food, sleep, communication, education, play and prayer. I sorted through it all and found silence was my friend.

As I look back over these 20 years, I realize in the beginning silence felt like my enemy. A stranger disrupting my existence that wouldn’t go away. I wanted the familiar. I wanted my life back. I wanted to be freed back into my dysfunction. Acceptance brought me the knowledge that Fibromyalgia is a teacher in my life. Still showing up when I overdo, it comes to visit again. I’m surprised to see it sitting there quietly waiting for me to notice it’s back. Will I pay attention to its presence again?

The answer is always yes. My self-worth is tied up in lessons of pain. My self-worth is in the mirror waiting for me to pause for a moment and say ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m here for you.’My self-worth continues to grow as I remember to practice self-care, awareness, use my resources navigating through challenges and practicing silence.

“The wound is the place where light enters you" - Rumi

What Our Pain Can Teach Us (full poem here) by Kerry Fantelli

Sorrow, hurt, pain

Can all be gifts.

They open you to feel,

allow the rawness of your days to be fully lived

electric skin

sensitive eyes, tender mind, open heart.

Pain works as a crow bar.

Yes, that sounds harsh

but it sure does pry you open

exposing raw parts that long to be soothed.