By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

March 20th, 2009 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

I recently had a magical, other-worldly soul connection with a man – an experience that left my entire being feeling open. The man ended up breaking my heart, but I determinedly kept it open, responding from a place of love and compassion. The openness from that experience then led to openings in other parts of my life and in other relationships.

That’s when I started noticing how many walls had been around my heart for how long. And, with my heart fully open again, that’s when I began remembering why I had put those walls up in the first place.

I am, above and beyond all else, a soul full of light and love and joy. I am a passionate being with a burning desire to connect with other souls – together celebrating divinity, creating magic, dancing and laughing, loving and healing, transforming the world into a place bursting at the seams with delight.

And yet, this soul is housed in a body; this body is clothed in identities; these identities are shrouded in social perceptions; and all of these layers are further shaped and shifted by experiences — interactions with other beings and their own complex layers and experiences. It is quite exhausting to think about it all, much less live it.

That’s why I’ve been hiding out in my rooftop apartment, living a quasi-hermit existence tempered only by limited interactions with humanity — in contexts where I already have gone through the eruption of the volcano; where the lava already has settled and hardened into shapes I like; where I already have established myself as a pioneer and, therefore, voice of authority; where I can have profound and meaningful interactions without rehashing my story, re-exposing my wounds, or putting my heart on the line one more fucking time. I am still radical, still engaged, still impacting change. But it is from a safe distance now.

This existential shift has been dictated by necessity. Chronic pain translates into limited mobility, limited energy, limited time, limited resources of every kind — one having a domino effect on another. I cannot afford to get emotional beyond what happens by default, on the day-to-day path of my basic survival. I cannot afford to take out time to process, when doing so depletes the energy bank account I need to survive in every way.

And yet, the more I withdraw from potentially “expensive” interactions, the more I become enshrined. The more I am isolated. The more I avoid. The more I am lonely. The less richness I have to grapple with, bite off, learn and grow from. The less hearts touch mine.

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