How To Listen To Your Pain
I believe that when we are in pain, our bodies are trying to tell us something. When we are in chronic pain, our bodies have been trying to tell us something for a long time, and we are not getting the message.
Unfortunately, our bodies and our brains don't always seem to be speaking the same language. Or, they're talking to each other and we're completely out of the loop.
This frustrating situation has annoyed me for decades. I know my body is speaking, but I have no idea what it is trying to say. And if I'm honest, sometimes I have a hunch what it's telling me, but I'm not ready, willing, or able to listen.
In any case, the answer is inside us. Literally. It's corny, but it's true. And I think that if we can tune in to our bodies, we will find clues to lead us on the path towards healing.
If you're ready to start tuning in, then let's get to work. This exercise is meditative in nature, and employs the use of your imagination. It might feel a little odd, but stick with me. I think it will be worth the effort.
- Get in a comfortable place and position, preferably where you can be uninterrupted for a few minutes.
- Spend a few seconds taking some deep breaths, bringing your awareness to the present moment. Notice how your body feels, and where your pain and tension currently reside. Don't fight or judge. Just observe.
- Now imagine that your body is sitting across from you, like a dear old friend. The two of you are sitting down for a cup of tea and a nice long talk. You haven't seen each other for a while, and you finally have an opportunity to catch up and reconnect.
- Notice how you feel towards your body. What emotions come up? What do you see when you look at your body? What catches your attention?
- Ask your body a few open-ended questions and give it time to respond. Don't press or badger, just ask and wait.
- Here are a few questions to consider: How are you? What's going well for you right now? What has been hard for you lately? What would you like me to know about your experience? What am I missing? What are you trying to tell me that I'm not hearing?
Once you ask the questions, don't rush the answers. Be willing to sit with your body in respectful silence, and give it time to respond. Your body is your most faithful companion on this life journey. It has carried you every step of the way, and it is having a hard time. Treat it with the same loving kindness and regard you would give your child or dearest friend.
Allow your body to say what it needs to say. When you start to receive answers, don't argue. Don't criticize and berate your body for what it tells you. Now is not the time to judge. Now is the time to learn. Once you know what you're dealing with, then you can decide how to respond. For now, just listen and learn.