I have a friend who is absorbed by tornadoes and extreme weather. The power and the sheer force of nature fascinate him.
He has learned to substitute that focus on nature’s power for his preoccupation with chronic neck and back pain. His pain is always present on some level.
I don’t know how he endures it.
But one day I realized that when he focused on tornadoes and violent acts of nature and their power, that he was diverting his attention away from his pain by being absorped in something that more powerfully captured his attention.
He has also given up narcotic and opiate pain medication as a solution. His mind is clear and he can think. This has been an enormous journey of learning a variety of ways to deal with pain that do not rob him of his mind in order to relieve the pain. He is blessed that, in his case, this is possible.
Tornadoes, powerful acts of nature, and storms are a way of diverting his attention from the power of his pain. First they create a more powerful object of attraction and attachment. And then they help him detach from his pain.
Detachment is seldom, if ever, where to begin– especially in major things in life. We are made for attachment, and detaching is much easier after the pattern for healthy attachment is set.
My first tendency was to think that there was something wrong with this “obsession” over tornadoes and tsunamis and powerful weather systems. Then I realized that they were a form of meditation that took him away from the pain.
He is also learning to focus on his strengths and to practice the Emotional Gym of feeling the feelings of gratitude, peace, joy, hope, and love whenever he chooses to do so. He is learning that he can go to these feeling centers of his brain with immediacy, that he can make them last (which is duration) and that he can intensify, at will, any of these feelings to the same degree as his pain levels.
That is powerful focus.
What we attend to, where we focus, and the object of our attention are what we become. My friend is becoming a tsunami of power in building a positive reservoir that eventually addresses every truly significant memory, event, and person that appears, but he is doing so by focusing his attention on what he loves, what absorbs his interest, and in growing the positive emotional muscle that allows him to lift weights of negativity with far greater ease.
He is doing this by attaching to his passion rather than detaching from his pain. And he is doing this by knowing what his strengths are and using the pain as cue to go to his strengths.
His movement away from narcotic and opiate solutions entirely, something he would have previously thought impossible, has given him a new and more powerful “tornado” of focus.
Its force and its power sucks up the pain and carries it elsewhere, outside the obsessive power of his once persistent focus on chronic pain.