Being Present through Transforming Suffering

There is nothing romantic, you find, about witnessing your loved one’s suffering. It is coarse, raw, sweaty, smashes into shards your fragile ego, strips naked that which you would never expose, leaves you almost unable, after decades, to bear another moment of it.

 I am learning about limits. My website, Stonebird, is rarely updated now. I have journeyed way beyond whatever ability I had to campaign. I survive here, far out of reach, on a vicious distant edge, that few , if any, care to know about.

 How ?

Suffering reeks of despair. You must never let it take you over. I am re-reading Victor Frankl’s masterpiece on how to rise above suffering, “Man’s Search for Meaning”. He writes, out of Auschwitz, that a man has an opportunity “to make use of or forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him.”

 You can face your situation with dignity, you can find meaning and purpose, you too can attain spiritual freedom and insight, that is Frankl’s burning message and challenge.

 Or you can give up and die.

 The choice, every moment, here, as I have said many times, is a stark one. To take either the path of life or death.

 Death, I tell you, feels like emotional numbness, screamingly awful. Life, meanwhile, is creative, light, joyful. One way generates tears, division and anger, the other contact, sensitivity, a smile.

 Service or withdrawal.

 Presence or irritation.

 Interaction or game-playing.

 You cannot give-in. It takes enormous discipline, I find, to resist the temptation to sink into victimhood, completely overwhelmed by your situation. That way lies self-destruction.

 It takes rugged determination to put on your cycling gear, or your coat and shoes, or pick up your shovel , if you can and get yourself outside, feel the earth, the sky, the wind biting your face, but you must do it ! What is the alternative, apart from self-obsession, trying to hide from your feelings and more dangerously yourself , in an empty, terribly lonely, sad indulgence, going nowhere, except to the bottom ?

 It takes great self discipline to transform suffering, to discover, in the process how liberated you become, how alive, how creative.

 I find that I am bubbling with ideas, stories, songs. I sit down at my keyboard with utter joy. I have invested in all kinds of creative software, recording, music-creation, animation writing, web design applications that provide a rich outlet for my crazy ideas, schemes and dreams.

 Riddled with self-doubt, still I publish my books, put out my music, build the websites. Each time it is a victory in boldness, a lesson in being real, and fun unbounded !

 Recently I published a  boogie-woogie “ Santa’s Twisting” animation. The deafening horns, driving sax,  thundering drums  merry, animation and rockabilly piano stand in vivid contrast to the still, silent, suffering reality that they were composed and performed in, whispered behind closed doors, on the computer.

 But with the blessing of song and the power of animation I can have a ball in a swinging Christmas pub, or be a lean cowboy in Arizona or a goldfish, which I found particularly poignant : all these things I have done on my new website :

 Paradoxically, the creative process frees me to be more truly myself, more able to be real and present in the world, in order to hold , comfort, think of ways forward, in impossible situations.

 There is nothing romantic, as I said, about suffering. Love, on the other hand, is eternal, the romance, I am here to tell you, never dies ! The tiniest gesture, when performed in love, is pregnant with hope  and possibility.

 That you come to learn, with a tear in your eye.

Greg is the author of : “Severe ME, Notes for Carers

& “Severe ME, Featuring Justice for Karina Hansen

 Greg Crowhurst 12th December 2015 


  1. You are extremely, and impressively, resilient. I hope that you are able to attend a support group for carers, in order to receive some kind of emotional support. I wish it wasn't such a battle that you had to fight. I think you should forget campaigning and just concentrate on living your life, whilst helping your wife.

    I am always impressed by your visual presentations and your musical creations. You are very talented. I hope that you can find some joy and peace this Christmas. You do an amazing job, and I hope you can continue to find ways to express yourself and fully experience your emotions. Best wishes for the coming year to you and Linda.


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