A while back, a friend of mine was going to participate in an important, out-of-town, athletic competition. She had been looking forward to this for quite a while. So, I knew it meant quite a bit to her. However much to her dismay, a part of her body started hurting to the point where she thought she might not be able to participate, at all. So, I sent her a private email hoping this might help her out. It’s not the “normal stuff” on how to deal with pain. From what she had shared, I knew the “normal” means of handling pain had run their course and stopped working for her. It was time to try something new, something different. Plus, it was essential if she was going to compete!
We had a great exchange. Then, time passed, and I forgot about the conversation. Recently, I was going through some archives when I found it. I realized as I re-read it that (a) I needed the reminder myself, and (b) a few others might benefit from this, as well. So, I used our back-and-forth discussion as a foundation for this post.
Are you ready to delve into a different means of handling pain? Sure, you might have used drugs, done your stretching, your deep breathing, and a number of other “tricks”. Yet, it’s still there and won’t budge. I’m going to suggest to you that there’s a different way. Chances are that you haven’t used this technique. Chances are you might even find it really strange, weird even. That judgment might even keep you from reading any further or cause you to discard the information without giving it even the slightest try. Then again, you might be frustrated to the point where you realize that every other endeavor you’ve used isn’t working. You might be at the point of giving up, where you have hit your wall and know that unless you try SOMETHING new, this will never change.
You’re not quite ready to give up. Good. However, let’s go over something important, something foundational.
What you resist persists!
“Could you define that, please?” Yes, read on. It will become more apparent in the next couple of paragraphs. Bear with me.
You see if you fight the pain, you’re doing yourself more harm than good. I know what I’m about to suggest will sound odd, but this strategy helped me through natural childbirth 2x’s and helped other major pains (kidney stones, migraines & cluster headaches, etc.) lessen or disappear.
So, here’s part 1 of my suggestion. FEEL IT COMPLETELY.
No. You’re NOT feeling it completely. You’re FIGHTING the pain which is creating MORE pain. I know, you don’t believe me. I didn’t believe it either when it was suggested to me – more than once – years ago. I discarded the info initially and tossed it aside until it was presented to me, again, and a situation presented itself where I had no other choice but to try. In that situation, it made the pain bearable because it was pure hell, prior to that.
Here’s how to best do it, and you can do it anywhere at anytime (eyes open or not).
Get quiet, lay down (if possible) or sit in a chair with your eyes closed (again, if possible). Empty your mind of thoughts, and take some deep breaths. Now, go to that part of your body, and feel every single sensation there is. Let it flow. Notice your fear and resistance to the pain, and let that subside. You see; we’re afraid to feel the pain completely because we think it will be worse than what we’re experiencing. However, the fact is it is the resistance to the pain that creates more pain. So, that’s why you need to feel/notice what really is the pain and what part of it is fear.
Again, let it be what it is. What you begin to notice is that – while yes (of course) it hurts – the pain is less than you had originally thought. Next, stop fighting the pain. Let it be.
Here’s part 2 of my suggestion. This is the really “weird” part. Send that part of your body every ounce of love you can muster. Unconditional love. If it helps, imagine the love you feel for your child(ren)/family/pet [what/whoever works] and send that kind of love to the part of your body that is hurting. Really get into a place where you feel the deep love before you send the love to that part of your body. [For the sake of this post, let’s assume your back is what’s hurting.] Remember, your back is a part of your body; it’s a part of YOU. Your mind and your body are the SAME ENTITY, not separate! So if you’re angry at your pain, you’re sending anger to your back. You are sending anger to yourSELF.
Send yourself love. Send your back love. You need love. (We all do!) Who thrives in an atmosphere of anger and fear? No one, nothing does. So, does it make sense to send hate to a part of your body, to you? No.
I know, I know. It sounds “really weird”. Thing is…it works. Maybe not right that instant but it does help and sometimes even has completely alleviated serious pain I’ve experienced.
Sometimes, I forget to use it. When I do remember, I tend to do it as I’m laying in bed waiting for sleep to come. (Using this technique helps you get to sleep faster, too, at least in my humble experience). When I wake up, the pain has either gone completely or diminished. Keep using it as often as you’re able, as often as you remember. Obviously, you can’t lay down and close your eyes while you’re driving or at work, but do be present with it. You don’t need to have your eyes closed for that.
Use this regularly, and it will help you get to the point where you get in touch and work with your body, rather than against it. As with anything, the more your practice this, the better you will get at it, and the faster your results will come. Use it just once? Goodness no! Did you stop riding altogether when you couldn’t climb that beast of a hill? No! You kept on training until you not only climbed it, you conquered it! The same applies here. You might get results, immediately, or…it might take several sessions before you start to notice results. Every. BODY. Is. Different.
Now, is that “odd” for you? It might be. So maybe now, I’m odd. LOL, that’s okay. If you use it, great. If you don’t use, that’s fine. It your body and your choice. Take what you want and leave the rest. For me, I’ll use what works. I rather like what the poet, Robert Frost, shared in one of his poems. “I took the [road] less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
= = =
How did I learn about this? I first heard about this when I was an adolescent. Of course, I dismissed it. I heard about it again during my teens and twenties (via different sources). Ah, I was so wise; I dismissed it, again. Thirties came long, and I changed my tune. Tried it. It worked. Actually, it didn’t just work. It worked AMAZINGLY well for me. Huh, imagine that. Then, I forgot about it for a while. Oops. Revived it again…and whoa! Knee pain that bugged me for days disappeared over night, same result with other pains, too. Still others lessened to become bearable and later disappeared. Hmm. Gee, might be on to something here! So, I’m doing my best to remember to use it whenever something crops up. Sure, I still forget. We’re all a work in progress.
Oh…want some interesting science to go along with this? Read this article:
Want some more? Look up books by this author (and many, many others). In particular, “The Intention Experiment” is a blow your hair back type of book full of science and scientific studies. Do some more research on the power of the mind to harm or heal the body. There’s loads of stories and scientific research out there on this very subject…and more still coming. We have more power within us than we’ve ever realized. It only starts with is making a choice.
What happened with my friend? She wrote me back several days after the competition. She did use what I shared. It hit home for her because she had just read a book about a world-champion athlete who discussed this technique and used it to overcome some nasty injuries to (not just compete but) win yet another major competition.
So, my friend did the best she could, and it helped her complete the grueling event. She admitted that while she did have some difficulties “getting quiet” [so much to do, so little time the night before the competition] that the little she did do did helped! She even used it as best she could during the competition. Furthermore, she looked forward to working with this technique more in the future.
And me? I’ve been using it quite a bit, lately. I’ve applied it to simple uses (falling asleep quickly when I otherwise would have been awake for another hour or two) to more complex issues (handling muscle pains/spasms/tightness in different parts of my body and even a migraine, as well). The weather has finally improved in my area, and I’m doing more riding. My body is transitioning as it’s adjusting to the extra workouts and getting back into the swing of certain movements. Plus, my body is giving me reminders that it’s time to re-adjust my seat post, too. I will continue to use this technique. I have to reinforce that I’m human, like everyone else, and sometimes, I still forget. (That’s mainly why I’m posting…as a reminder to myself.) Hopefully, I will remember more often, and I will continue to see even more/faster results.
How about you? Have questions? Feel free to contact me in the comments, or send me a private message. I’ll do my best to help you.