Physical pain, physical illness, any or all emotional discomforts are all in my view different versions of pain.
The first step towards healing is the acknowledgement of how the pain you have feels. I believe that pain is simple and clear language of the body. The voice of a body that has been abandoned or ignored.
Modern medicine focuses on the cure or removal of pain/illness/emotion. Relieving pain. Getting rid of the discomfort. This adds to the denial of how the body is truly feeling, numbing it or traumatizing it further with surgeries or invasive approaches. It’s not unusual for someone to have a hip replacement to remove the pain there only to find that soon after surgery the pain reappears in the other hip. This denial of the deeper feelings forces the body to try harder to get our attention, by bringing on more pain or illness. Illness is an accumulation of all the pains we have ignored.
What we resist persists, what we deny we magnify.
I was at a social media work shop recently and as the day progressed, I was getting tired. I could feel pain and tension in my shoulders. My automatic response was to get annoyed with my body, which was a rejection of and refusal to listen to the pain. I got figgitty and wanted the day to end, completely in resistance mode. The reminder that I am here to practice what I preach settled me!
Once I quietened and acknowledged the pain, I completely connected with the pain and felt the impact the pain was having on my body. Then I let my body know I heard it: acknowledgement is the body’s language. I personally tell the body 3 times, ‘I hear you, I hear you, I hear you.’ Then I breath out the pain. Take a minute and repeat if necessary. Move through all the body’s pains and aches and watch/feel the body release.
It is a very simple process, but it requires patience, stillness and attention; three forgotten skills in our current pace of life. You can do this with any pain or illness. If you have held a lot of pain for a long time it makes sense that it may (but not always) take longer to release. Patience and commitment to sit with and release the pain in chapters may be required. The story that goes with the pain is not however necessary and often a hindrence to the simplicity of the process. A better question down the line might be: ‘Why and where do I hold pain in my body?’
Don’t try to fight pain. Acknowledge it. Once the body is heard it will release and heal. One of the most shocking approaches in modern medicine is the ‘fight’ approach. Fight cancer. Fight depression, fight suicide, fight the pain.
A body in pain is crying out to be heard. Listen to it. Don’t ignore it. Honour it. It is the only true home you have.
Art: Christian Schloe