Friday, January 28, 2011

Embrace The Pain - Part 1

At one time, I could not stand any type of body pain, and I'm sure most people probably do not like body pain either. However, I have learned through some intense healing work with Dr. Canali, that pain is a messenger of the body. It is there for a reason and if we embrace the body pain, we can move toward a greater awareness and consciousness.

Pain is a feedback mechanism from the body and the mind to our consciousness that tells us something needs our attention. If I allow myself to work with the pain and to embrace the pain, it will find its way out, as long as I don't stop it by my fears and unwillingness to let go of what is trying to surface. It is just not productive to focus on wanting to get rid of the pain.

Pain is not present in my life every day but when it comes up, I try to listen to it because it is a messenger. Most people live with pain every day but are not even aware of it in their body. They are not able to see this part but it impacts their life in dramatic ways.

Many times when doing massage work, I have seen first hand the times that people were in deep pain but they just did not feel it. The majority of humans are numb to what they feel, or so overwhelmed by all the pain that the felt sense has been blocked because it can no longer take in everything that is going on. It isn't until some focus is put on the body and the body is listened to that they feel it. Then once they feel it, they have a chance to choose whether to try to ignore it or learn from it. That is the awareness.

For instance, if I get a headache, which is rare these days, it moves through pretty quickly if I just allow myself to be with my body. Allowing myself to feel it, learn from it, question it or just become curious of what I am feeling gives me the ability to move through the headache or the pain. Just like the neck pain that I experienced recently, because I was not listening to my body to get myself away from the computer, and stretching or taking care of myself. The pain forced me to listen even though I did not want to and when I started to listen, I began to dissipate the pain.

Last summer was another example but in this one, I tried to avoid the pain and numb myself to it. I had a tooth that was causing enormous pain, and each night I would go to bed with an ice pack on my face to dull the pain and allow me to sleep. The pain would come back in the middle of the night, but I would just suffer through it. For if I wanted to deal with the pain, it meant that I had to tackle a fear I have of the dentist. This is not an ordinary fear, either, but one that is very powerful. (read Fear Of Dentist from July 6, 2010) It was not until the pain got so intense that I had no other choice but to go in to the dentist, and get the work done which was needed.

That is a simplified example of numbing one's self out to pain, but when pain comes up (if we can feel it), we are better to walk hand in hand with it rather than try to hope it goes away. Pain is a messenger. It is there for a reason.

I remember a few clients that I have had where doing massage on them, I would feel a back or neck or shoulder so tense that a table top would be more pliable than their body. Yet, the people did not even realize that it was this tense or that they were in as much pain as they were. I remember one lady who had a twisted back, and did not realize that the way she was sitting at her desk was twisting her back into daily pain for her to deal with. There are so many examples that I could list here, but I am amazed at just how much we do not sense in these bodies that we inhabit for many years, and we come to know as our lives.

In my own life, I have had many times when I didn't really feel anything and yet that was what I needed to do to move forward in my life. It was easier, I thought, to avoid it rather than deal with it. However, at some point, even though we try to avoid these things in our life, the body will get our attention. Once I did begin to feel it and started to embrace it, I opened myself up to a deeper awareness that is grounded in the body. It isn't just a thought or philosophy, but one that when you feel it in your body, you know without a doubt that you've touched something.

In fact, in 1991, my mind began paralyzing my body as a way to numb myself from so many horrors and pains that I faced. My life reached a point where not only could I not feel a pin being put at the bottom of my feet, but I could barely talk, sit up, move my arms, or function. My brain was shutting my body down because I was not dealing with things in life that I had to deal with. In my case, it was child abuse, but the more I tried to hide the emotions and effects of it, the more I numbed and shut down my own body. The condition the doctors labeled my experience with was a conversion disorder.

Our bodies do store memories and the cells remember things. As one therapist I used to work with said, "there are issues in the tissues!" Trauma, stress, and many other things are stored in the body with a connection to the mind. Treating the mind is only half of the healing equation. Treating the body connected to the mind is healing that moves ourselves into a greater consciousness and awareness. These are all things that I have gone through personally and experienced on the table with Dr. Canali, but I have also seen these connections happen in my clients. I have seen it many times over in many different people.

When we break through the concepts of pain and taking care of our bodies, listening to our bodies, and living in our bodies, then we truly offer ourselves a greater awareness and consciousness. It is life changing in many ways, and often there is a deeper sense of peace and a greater felt sense throughout your body. In addition, by becoming more aware of the bodies we inhabit, we give ourselves a much greater control over our health that leads to us tapping into the healing power within, rather than always looking to others for the answers.

Come back tomorrow for ways in which you can connect your mind and body to embrace the pains you experience and move through them in healing. I'll be writing more about how you can connect your mind and body in a safe, effective way. (read Embrace The Pain, Part 2 tomorrow)

Further Reading:
1) Dr. Paul Canali, Evolutionary Healing
2) Fear Of Dentist posted on July 6, 2010
3) Embrace The Pain - Part 2 (Posted 1/29/11)
4) Embrace The Pain - Part 3 (Posted 1/30/11)

Blog Post & Images (c) 1/27/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

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