The focus of my study in the HAS program is rooted in my experience as an RN for 30 years and my observations that we are failing in our battle against pain and addiction in society. As such, I decided to look at the problem differently, and instead of fighting against pain, I propose that we aim toward what we want: comfort. This will harness all the energy which we have been wasting in an attempt to suppress our pain, and use it to support our quest to feel more vitality daily, thereby improving our quality of life. I contend that the secret will be to actually start feeling again — listening to our bodies’ messages (pain, pleasure, etc), instead of silencing the pain and driving our emotional/ spiritual injuries deeper. As Carl Jung writes, “That which we resist, persists.”
I have already created “Comfort Quest” which depicts a new scale, to replace our current pain scale. My scale shows 10 as the goal (smiling face), with 0 as the tearful end of the scale. After all, don’t we all hope to be a 10? In addition to sharing these cards with patients, colleagues and friends, I am planning qualitative research this semester to investigate patient’s perception of their pain/ comfort using each scale and asking ultimately which scale they feel will help them towards an improved quality of life.
I plan to further share this new concept with my colleagues and ultimately envision it being used nationally as our scale for guiding pain management. Yet our question will be, “How Comfortable do you feel right now on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being Most Comfortable?” Simply being able to envision comfort as a possibility gives patients a new lease on life. They are often so trapped in the pain cycle, that they don’t see a way out. Neuroplasticity demonstrates that new pathways can be learned/ reprogrammed, so why not with a positive focus?
“Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them.” -Albert Einstein
Goddard has provided me with a nourishing environment in which to plant my seeds of this new vision, Comfort Quest. From day one, I was working on my hypothesis and building my thesis; each step along the way has been instrumental in this exploration. None of my time has been wasted; it’s all been important research. It encourages me to examine my thoughts and to look through other lenses as well (scientific, philosophical, psychological, political, cultural, etc). I’ve dug deeply into the roots of our current pain crisis, and believe/ feel to the core of my essence that I just share this with society in a positive fashion. There is no more room for shaming or silencing our pain… we need to feel it and move through it, ultimately releasing that which no longer serves us. Goddard supports this quest and most importantly reminds me to trust myself and to be brave in my journey to grow and share my message.
As Socrates taught us, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”