Pain without suffering?

Pain without suffering?

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By Rochelle Friedman

A friend once told me about the Buddhist concept of pain without suffering; it’s a notion that fascinates me. I mean, is it really possible to say, “Yep, my stomach aches, all right, but I don’t have to add insult to injury by letting that pain run amok, I can decide to skip the part where I moan: “Now I can’t meet my friends at the restaurant and I’ll probably miss work tomorrow, which means I’ll blow my deadline, lose my job and die penniless and alone, with 956 cats, never having seen Dreamgirls.”

For those moments when I’m sitting (slouching rather) at my desk, blatantly ignoring the neon flashing post-it that says ‘Sit up straight Rochelle!!’, I realise that calming a frantic brain in the face of high anxiety is a pretty tall order, especially for a woman like me who tends to operate on two basic emotions: panic and barely suppressed panic. But assuming one can actually achieve pain without suffering, where else might this dynamic be applied? Is there such a thing as anger without brooding? Sex without strings? And the real question – my current obsession – can I be truly efficient in the work place whilst drooping over my desk? Do I need to be strong to be useful?

And there’s an excellent chance that many of us don’t think about this. We ponder in amazement why there are knife stabbing pains in our necks and shoulders, why this damned headache won’t fade away and most importantly, the all encompassing fatigue that makes you want to type emails with your nose.

Normally, I’m the type who shrugs off anything that doesn’t involve a large piece of chocolate cake, however, I have a very real (and utterly inconvenient) need to earn a living, and to do it joyfully. I strongly believe that “in a happy environment, is a happy worker”.

The truth is that an average office worker, depending on years of service, could spend the majority of their life behind a desk. This prompted me to engage with a range of office ergonomic products: a back support (for my nauseating office chair), a wrist support (for my mouse and keyboard), and a foot rest that acts as a rocker too! It’s important to know that ergonomics is NOT just your chair – posture is ultimately dictated by where your eyes and hands go.

I must say that it was difficult to adjust to at first, but once I realised and learnt how I should be positioned, and with the help of my ’Workanomics’ items, all I can say is that it’s made a world of a difference. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve started inviting colleagues over to my desk to try out the new equipment. It has totally overtaken our chair-on-wheel-races and indoor-office-cricket-games.

The fact of the matter is prevention is better than the cure, not to mention easier and less expensive. And that’s exactly what ergonomics is. It will enhance computer users’ performance, comfort and general well being. We’re living in a time where it has become more important than ever to keep the work force happy and driven.

The Ergonomics equipment I chose (otherwise known as awesome-nomics) is from Fellowes. They have a gorgeous catalogue detailing the ins and outs of what you should be doing and HOW to do to it. And a whole lot less pricey than I expected.

The easiest way to integrate ergonomics into your workplace is through a workstation assessment. Assess what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Or for more information email Sarah at

We are giving away 1 hamper of the Fellowes workstation ergonomic products valued at: R1350.00! Which includes: wrist support mouse pad, keyboard wrist support, mesh back support (perfect for those hot days), compact foot rocker and a laptop riser.

Entering is easy – simply email include your contact information, and your email will be put in to the lucky draw. Use “Fellowes Hamper” as the subject line – entries without a subject line will not be considered. One entry per person. Entries close on Friday, 19th November 2010. Please read the full list of competition rules.

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