Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pain: What I Can Learn From It

It seems that I constantly struggle with this four-letter word: Pain. To call it an enemy would seem wrong, but to call it a friend doesn't seem right either.  So I have decided to call pain my teacher.

It has taken me many years to get to this place in my life. I have looked for the sources of pain by visiting many different types of doctors (most currently my orthopedist) to get relief from this ever-present being in my life.

In Krista Tippett's 2008 interview with Seane Corn, Seane made a comment that I've mentioned before in this blog. She said we as a society are addicted to tension. I have been around this in my head so many times, and I think it's finally starting to sink in. I do notice when I'm stressed my breath rate increases and my muscles begin to spasm. So this pain is telling me: Be careful, you're storing tension...relax...breathe. But for my long-held tension, I believe what Seane said is true. By putting blocks of energy around our emotions (held in the body), we deny its existance so that we don't have to deal with the bigger picture.

When I make up my mind to do something, I do it. And I think my body knows that. So when I feel threatened, unsafe, sad, angry, etc...that pain protects me and refocuses my thoughts away from the issue giving me problems.

So I ask myself again (and again, and again) what are you going to do about it? What I have learned is that I do not need to jump down someone's throat to get relief or distance myself from another person. I can re-evaluate my behavior in the interactions and change myself. Because let's face it people, that is really the only person we can change. My change might be to not bring up certain topics around sensative areas, smile instead of averting my eyes, or offering myself the time needed to process pain and to be gentle with myself.

If you enjoyed the interview with Seane Corn, you may also find listening to Matthew Sanford (also interviewed by Krista Tippett) inspiring. His interview on dealing with pain and coping with his disability is so very touching and healing. I really hope you check this one out, too. It's definitely worth it.

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