Once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary,
Over years of chronic back pain too imposing to ignore,
Growing noticeably leery with each pain physician’s theory,
Suddenly I found a book that I had never seen before.
Just a book and nothing more.
And I thought it rather stellar that this New York Times bestseller
Was entitled “Healing Back Pain,” as my spine was rather sore,
So with little hesitation, and a hint of fascination,
I flipped through the first few pages just to learn a little more.
Just a chapter, nothing more…
Laying out a thorough series of distinct and striking theories,
Dr. Sarno drew an inference that struck me to my core-
That my pain manifestation isn’t caused by herniation,
But instead by an unconscious intrapsychic civil war.
“It’s the brain and nothing more.”
And this novel explanation for my lumbar aggravation
Was the freeing revelation I had long been searching for,
Through the spinal decompressions and the acupressure sessions
And the countless years of therapy spent strengthening my core-
Finally this was something more.
As I learned about repression and my unconscious aggression,
And the bevy of emotions that my psyche had in store,
Searching for a clear suggestion, reading on, I asked the question,
“What, amidst my mental processes, should be I be looking for?”
Quoth John Sarno, “Just explore.”
So I then began to journal, digging up every internal
Source of stress and rage and tension that I’d ever felt before,
And with each successive word I felt progressively unburdened,
Still I worried, “What if my back symptoms flare up even more?”
Quoth John Sarno, “Just ignore.”
And my back pain, ever grating, started fading, started fading,
As I dared to dream about the pain-free life I had in store,
And I asked with strained elation and a tinge of trepidation,
“Will this torment ever haunt me in the way it did before?”
Quoth John Sarno, “Nevermore.”
Alan Gordon, LCSW