“I used to teach classes in what kinky folks call Pain Processing. The concept will be familiar to anyone who has taken classes in the Lamaze Method, or in many kinds of yoga or martial arts: it’s about divorcing pain from all the feelings that usually accompany it, such as fear, anger or worry — which is to say that you clear your mind of the past and the future, staying doggedly in the now. In the now, you may find that the pain itself is manageable, or perhaps even pleasant. 

“Of course, I was teaching these techniques to rooms full of sadomasochists who wanted to know how to play harder and longer, so my perspective may be a little skewed.”

“Of course, the problem with a word like ‘aging’ is the same as the problem with a word ‘pain’ — it doesn’t have a solid definition. We use the same word to describe the sparkly heat of a well-administered spanking that we do to describe a stubbed toe or an amputation, which causes a lot of confusion for those who can’t comprehend why anyone would ever seek out such an experience. And we use the same word to describe the graceful, decades-long accumulation of love and wisdom that we use for the hateful calcification of body and mind, the slow downward spiral that has only one endpoint.”