Understanding and healing pain
Yesterday I attended a wonderful workshop with Anne Novak about understanding and healing pain. It was also my first experience of Kundalini yoga, very different to my usual Vinyasa Flow but really beautiful and a wonderful experience. Even if it's not "your thing", try it once... the sound and energy of a room full of people chanting beautiful mantras is just amazing.
Anyway, back to the pain! Anne knows a thing or two about physical pain, she suffered ongoing pain from an old injury for years and was a qualified Physical Therapist, working with many patients with chronic pain, indeed her search for answers on pain came from traditional treatments just would not resolve ongoing pain.
Fast forward and we heard how pain isn't physical, pain is your brain's reaction to danger, to something that could hurt us. Her example, it's our brain's way of telling us to move if we put our hand on fire. But our brain doesn't understand the difference between a danger to the physical body and a perceived threat to our mind, our soul.
I myself have suffered chronic back pain for many years, sometimes very little, sometimes awful aching and stiffness that leaves me hunched over, barely able to walk. Like most people, I have always looked for things to blame for the flare ups - Lifting the children too much, sleeping in an awkward position, generally overdoing it. After yesterday's workshop I feel sure that it is rarely anything to do with what I have done physically but rather a manifestation of what is going on internally.
Anne explained that different types of pain and locations of pain are linked to different emotions or areas of our life. Back pain is linked with feeling unsupported, the back is also where we hold emotions we don't want to deal with or other people to see. Since I can remember I have been drawn towards non-academic or non-traditional interests - yoga, crystals, creativity, helping people. But I was led to believe that nothing useful could come of such things, Maths, English, Science were the things to study. Corporate Careers were to aspire to. Money and stability was the end goal. It has become totally engrained as one of my core beliefs that I cannot and should not listen to these callings. Even now, as I finally try to follow my heart and trust that I will find my way, my body is reminding me through my back pain that this is a dangerous path. It's not the safe route we had been told to follow, that we have spent so much time trying to follow. My back is saying "play safe, don't take risks".
With this in mind, I thank you brain for warning me but this time I will not let you win. I will persevere, I will follow my heart and at the end of it my pain will be healed.
So as we ended the workshop, I end this post with one simple thought:
"I am healed".