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As I recover from my total knee replacement surgery, I came to the realization that knowing is not the same as experiencing. I knew this surgery would a painful one and I knew that it would take a few weeks for the pain to improve. But this knowledge did not prepare me for the incessant pain that enveloped me for days and weeks.

Although I thought that I was a patient person, I discovered that I was not patient enough. I was trying to convince myself to wait a little bit longer, hoping for the pain to go away. But the logical thinking was not enough to kill the pain or even to decrease it to a manageable level. Day after day, night after night I dreamed of cessation of pain. But still the pain is there and does not want to go away.

The problem is that pain has a way of occupying your whole world. It is like a cloud that envelopes you completely. Every part of you, every pore of your skin becomes full of one feeling and one feeling only, pain. It is difficult to think, difficult to read, difficult to write, and difficult to do anything since the pain permeates every cell of your being. The only thinking is: Please take this pain away.

Since I was not working, I sat on our balcony on beautiful Lake Sara. I found myself mesmerized by its beauty and magic. Spring brings symphony of colors to the majestic lake. From the different shades of green of the trees to the outburst of wildflowers spreading yellows, reds, blues, purples and all the shades of rainbow colors. These colors blend seamlessly with the pale blue color of skies with scattered cotton candy-like patches of white clouds and contrasting with the deep blue color of the water, adding to the magic and the mystery of this heavenly place.

I was immersed in this wonderful panacea of colors that was made even more impressive by the gentle breeze over the surface of the lake, creating gentle, mild waves that shimmer under the beautiful, bright and warm rays of the sun. And on the shiny surface of the lake there were three eagles flying and spreading their huge wings, adding to the majesty of the place.

I was filled with a deep sense of joy. What accentuated this joy of a feeling was the bird songs surrounding me. Different birds, each with its own music note, but amazingly they blended together to create a crescendo of sweet tunes.

And for a moment I came to the realization that my pain was completely gone. I did not know how and when actually the pain stopped but sitting there marveling at the intense beauty of the lake and its surroundings insulated me from my whole world, including the stubbornly painful knee. This was like magic. The pain that occupied the better part of my own existence for more than a month was erased almost completely by the intense beauty surrounding me. I could almost jump on my operated knee to celebrate the end of pain.

Pain was replaced by joy and deep sense of contentment and happiness. Then I asked myself if this pain relief can be permanent, but I was certain it would not be. But at least for a moment or two the pain was replaced with deep sense of beauty, peace, appreciation and gratitude.

Beauty is around us everywhere. We just need to open our eyes and our senses to see it and feel it. We need to extend our antennas to appreciate the amazing beauty of mother nature around us. Spring has a way of filling the world with the intense variations of beautiful colors, shapes and forms.

But beauty is also there in winter, summer and fall. Everywhere we go we find a million reasons to enjoy the beauty of mother nature. Perhaps appreciating the beauty around us can erase, even for a little while, our anxieties, our fears and also our pains. We don’t need to take pills or shots. We just need to train ourselves to look, hear, listen, and enjoy the beauty around us.

When we are attacked by pain or anxiety, we tend to close on ourselves. We stop looking around, stop enjoying mother nature or even enjoying our children and grandchildren. It is not easy to extract ourselves from the painful glue that adheres to our insides strangling our senses and our vision. We need to pull ourselves from this vicious cycle in order to see and enjoy what God has blessed us all with.

We must practice the sense of gratitude by concentrating on our blessings including the beauty that mother nature spreads before us. This will fill us with inner beauty as well. Being filled with inner beauty and appreciation of outer beauty will allow us to conquer those nasty and dreadful beasts.

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