Mental Lidocaine


Mental Lidocaine

First published January 6, 2013 on

“If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.” J. Addison


Sometimes it is a welcome sensation.  When you’re in the dentist’s chair about to undergo another interminable procedure that little prick preceding the injection of lidocaine is an acceptable price to pay.

Other times it can protect you from feeling too much all at once thereby offering you the solace of reflection and consideration.

Inevitably though it gives way to an ache, a pain, and a realization that numbness provides only temporary respite from the tribulations and trials of life.

Tomorrow, Kate returns to work after 14 months away.  Fourteen months during which we travelled highways and byways that no sentient being would ever willingly navigate toward.  And yet here we’ve arrived at yet another crossing of the Rubicon when one might have anticipated great orchestral movements of celebration and joyous overtures of rebirth.

‘Tis not so.

So here’s a little insight for caregivers who have painted pictures of overwhelming relief upon the occasion of the return to normalcy – there is no return to normalcy.

Sorry.  It would be misleading to proclaim otherwise.

And, it is not necessarily a bad thing as it was normalcy which lead to the invasion  of this insidious disease.  It was the normalcy of neglect – neglect of personal health and welfare in the interest of career advancement; the neglect of our personal terroir which created poor eating habits; the neglect of our constant need for mindful nourishment of the soul and the body; the neglect of finding ways to capture the beauty in each day, each experience, each interaction in the pursuit of mammon; the neglect of every-day wonders that are presented to us through our children, our family and friends, our loved ones near and far, and the occasional random acts of kindness from total strangers; and, finally, the neglect we all engage in by effectively discarding the love of others by refusing to acknowledge our own failings and contributions to discord in otherwise positive relationships – by disavowing our ability to hurt and refusing ownership of the outcomes by deflecting reality with proclamations of innocence and ignorance.

We humans are at times a motley, selfish crew seemingly unable to release ourselves from the bondage of self-induced victimization.  All around us are accountable for the hurt we feel and we share no responsiblity for the cause or solutions staring us in the face.  Because we have succumbed to the numbing nature of evasion.  Because we have allowed ourselves to wallow in self-pity which is wrapped in self-aggrandizement and disavowal of our role in creating the very mess in which we now swim.

What we can do though is acknowledge our need to take ownership of those things which are pleasant and those which bring us pain.  We can take them in our hands with genuine openness and curiousity in the hope that exploration of these demons will lead to understanding and comprehension of our ability to rise up, of our very human power to overcome that which we believe to be insurmountable.

We can love.

We can forgive.

We can triumph over any adversity placed in our path if only we have the courage to grab it by the throat and scream that we shall not surrender, we shall overcome.

So, as Katie returns to work tomorrow, yes, I have taken a little shot of mental lidocaine but it is rapidly wearing off with the realization that a return to normal is impossible while a journey together into a new future is empowering.

While the horrors, both real and the more-damaging imagined, will never fully retreat from the ramparts we can move ahead with the belief that each day we have now is a blessed day, one during which  we are required to celebrate the simple fact of life and the joy it brings.


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