Yesterday, in a therapy group, several people were talking about physical and emotional pain and wondering what they had done to deserve all that pain.  I quoted the helpful phrase “PAIN IS NOT A PUNISHMENT”  which led to an interesting discussion about the painful messages people got in their families of origin, the wish to make meaning of pain, self-blame, and self-forgiveness.  Somebody in the group asked me to write “PAIN IS NOT A PUNISHMENT”  on the board.


As I wrote that, I was very aware of the pain in my left shoulder, which has been getting worse since my fall last Wednesday.   As the pain continued to increase into the night, I spoke to a doctor on call who suggested I go to the emergency room.  People there listened to my description of the pain and somebody speculated that I may have torn my rotator cuff, which is often a pain for major league baseball pitchers.  I don’t know any other group therapists who have injured their rotator cuffs, but that diagnosis might explain the pain.

As I’m writing this,  I’m reminding myself that past pain, present pain, and future pain (which might include physical therapy) are NOT punishments.

I hope it’s okay when I share my pain here and also my latest photographs:








I also found out that taking extra-strength Tylenol over several days disrupted my INR, which is another pain.

I will know more about the shoulder pain when I see an Orthopedic Doctor, probably this afternoon. I hope the news is not too painful.

Here‘s music to remind us that PAIN IS NOT A PUNISHMENT.

Here’s a Police song about pain and the “Weird Al” Yancovic parody:

As always, gratitude reduces the pain, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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38 thoughts on “Day 1864: PAIN IS NOT A PUNISHMENT

  1. Oh dear Ann, I hope the pain diminishes soon-and you are feeling better.

  2. If you indeed tore your rotator cuff, Ann, one, ouch! Two, yikes! Three, good think]g you’re not in advertising anymore because recovering from that injury would keep you from pitching for a year, this baseball fan knows …

  3. You are correct, ‘pain is not a punishment’ but a vehicle towards wisdom if we allow it to be. In my experience, most folks are blamed for their own misery because of others proclivity to displace blame in order to circumnavigate fear. Fear can be a destructive emotion especially when it becomes weaponized against the hurting populations. I have been told I must me doing something wrong in life, I do not have enough faith or, worse yet, that God is punishing me for something. Of course, that is all asinine manifestations of fear in an effort to reconcile their world views with other’s suffering. Victim blaming is the easiest way to cope with this fear because they irrationally believe that if they do “everything right” then the cosmos, karma or God will not punish them. No one is immune to misery in any form but most folks exist in a delusional state of invincibility. They feel safe if they believe we, as the suffering, have committed some degree of wrong and in doing so incurred our just punishment. I have battled it all my life and facing that ignorance never gets easier. Nevertheless, other people’s ignorance, stupidity and cruelty is not a valid excuse to stop trying to be everything you were created to be and help as many broken folks as you can along your life path.
    Ann, you have my fervent prayers for a speedy recovery.

  4. Really hope you get it sorted quickly and it doesn’t cause too much angst… horrible having an injury – it’s so debilitating. Get well soon!

  5. I hope your Orthopedic session goes well

  6. koolaidmoms

    Ouch! I hope your shoulder mends quickly. I love the phrase “Pain is not Punishment.” I view it as a symptom that our bodies, hearts, and minds are telling us something needs to change or be fixed and it is trying to get our attention to take care of it whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual.

  7. Send you healing thoughts dear Ann and hope for a speedy recovery.

  8. It may be unusual for a group therapist to have a torn rotator cuff but you’re a very unusual group therapist–which is part of what makes you so valuable.
    One of your pictures in particular stands out to me because I know there are a lot of people in pain but having a place where they are welcome and where others stand with them can help.

  9. I often hear people who are experiencing pain say ‘what did I do to deserve this?’. I like the philosophy that pain is not a punishment but I do believe in Karma. Your pain on the other hand has nothing to do with punishment or Karma so I hope you recover quickly and painlessly. Hugs!

  10. May there be good news for a steady recovery Ann. 💛

  11. I hope that your shoulder recovers quickly, Ann, and your INR gets back into line.

  12. Pain is not punishment although it may be punishing. Whether it is of body, mind or spirit, pain is simply the verification that something went wrong.

  13. Pain may not be a punishment but when you are in pain all the time you wonder if it is and what you done to be in so much pain

  14. Goodness, I hope your pain stops, fades, disappears, or any of the things other than lingers. Though it is not punishment, it certainly feels like it sometimes. Falling is the pits, but it’s better to fall in winter, with a coat…

  15. I hope the shoulder heals and you are pain free.

    Interesting, this is something I have long struggled with….thinking pain is a punishment. I think I let go of it, this belief, but it never seems to fully leave me.

  16. Craig

    the other half of that old Buddhist slogan is: “and pleasure is not a reward”..,,,

  17. Craig

    from old French regarder
    … to look at…
    btw it is the Tibetan season of dons who create mischief to wake us up
    love that shoulder
    You only have two
    but you do have many many friends who love you
    A lot

  18. Pingback: Day 2595: Other people’s pain | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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