What do you do when you realize that you are relatively young and facing a life of chronic pain and disability? I probably would have given up, but Ms. Burch turned it into a life of achievement. Co-founder of Breathworks, which assists people experiencing chronic illness and pain she then developed a five step program based on mindfulness to reduce stress and increase healing.
Living Well with Pain & Illness is a wonderful complement to another book I reviewed this cycle, The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart. Both advocate taking responsibility for your situation, and accepting it as part of coping with it. Pain is a unique aspect, however, making being mindful extremely difficult.
Let's be honest: it's easy to meditate when all is well, when you feel good. It's incredible difficult to do so when you hurt, even a little. I found Living Well to be valuable when I was recovering from surgery, the most intense pain I'd experienced in my life, and lasting more than just a few minutes.
Burch talks about the "complex tapestry" of pain, which I appreciated. Pain is a unique place, one that lends itself to negative emotions which can increase the intensity of the pain. What is worse: pain? or the anticipation of pain over hours?
I strongly recommend this book to anyone experiencing chronic pain and to all those who work with those in pain.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Vidyamala Burch
Sounds True, 2010
pp. 303, $15.95