When I was four years old, my family moved a long way from our birthplace, across an ocean to another continent, and we never saw most of our relatives again. It was a devastating emotional loss for me, including not only the loss of family but everything familiar, and I rebelled at this disconnection, refusing to get in the car to go to the airport, and then, at the airport, refusing to carry a bag onto the plane. All four of us were weighed down to the max with what we could carry already. My father ordered me to pick up, and I finally did, but felt it was "too much to carry". I remember it really hurt my shoulder...but the hurt must have been temporary as I recall no discomfort once I got on the plane. I see now that all this was a metaphor and that I have been carrying that bag all these years. This incident has come back to me from time to time over the years, and I have always blamed my father and felt victimized. I told myself, no wonder my upper back started hurting so much in my twenties...I must have "pulled something" and damaged it back at that time, at the airport, and made it vulnerable. I have allowed myself to feel the anger and feel sorry for that little girl. But it didn't stop the pain. Today I saw it from a different perspective. What if I didn't see it as my father victimizing me, but expressing confidence in me? Saying in effect that he knew I was strong enough to carry that bag? As Dr. Sarno has said, if something is too heavy, you can't pick it up. You don't damage yourself by picking up something that is "too heavy". I believe it was my INJURED FEELINGS that caused the chronic pain in my shoulder. Oh my, what a revelation. My FEELINGS were injured, not my body, and my FEELING OF INJUSTICE has been causing the pain! Even further: what if I made this not all about myself and my feelings and my sorrow at disconnecting from our extended family and homeland? What if I acknowleged and empathized with my father's reasons for taking us so far away, to a new land? What if I acknowleged and respected that this was not just about me and my feelings, but about my whole immediate family, all of our needs, which of course my father, as a loving father, was looking out for? There is no doubt in my mind that he loved us all deeply, because he demonstrated it time and time again. So, what if, I asked myself, from this mature adult distance where I can now stand, I saw it this way? and blended in, took on the responsibility of being part of the community of this immediate family? What if I was that strong, shouldered that bag and shouldered my part? I have often expressed gratitude for a childhood I never would have had, if we had not made that move, but what if I took it further? What if I THANKED my father for believing I was that strong...both physically, and emotionally? Because I did thrive in the country...I loved growing up there, and I was strong enough to weather the disconnection, despite my profound grief. What if I deliberately chose to pick up the bag, because I could, and I was that big? I felt myself grow big and strong and a feeling of invincibility came over me as I thought/felt through all this. I picked up the bag and walked onto the plane, a small four-year-old and, simultaneously, a proud, strong, capable 60-year-old woman. Later this morning I remembered how my BODY felt when I decided to "shoulder the burden". The feeling of intent and making the choice myself was physical as well as mental and emotional: I FELT IT IN MY CORE, FELT MY CORE GROW STRONG. I felt myself growing a back bone. As I write this I feel my pain receding again (it has come and gone this morning, ever since this revelation). I am convinced the words we use to tell ourselves the story of our lives are part and parcel of this whole picture.