It's being a few years that I write about and work with pain,
It's being a few years since I'm not living with my own chronic pain.
I was with chronic pain since I was 14 until my very late 20's.
Pain has an interesting tendency in us, some of us will contract our body, some of us will even compensate our breath, and somehow even if our pain is "just" in our shoulder - our whole body will react and change.
Although my focus here is on physical pain,
I believe and experienced that emotional pain and physical ones are often closely connected. And we can all agree that some emotions and experiences as grief, deep sadness, or fear can so often hurt so much that it actually feels physical.
The last years taught me, that whatever it is we do with our body - we do similar or the same in our lives.
Most of us learned concepts like pain management, this is our cultural attitude forward pain.
We learn to move away from it, to numb it, to avoid it.
We were never taught to move and work with it.
I grow up in a family that pain killers were not part. I had a high-level threshold with pain, something I was often proud of. I was highly active with my body, gymnastic, and horses riding from a young age. in every chance I would cartwheel or stand on my hands.
My way with the pain was ignoring it, as long as I could.
"Almost all of us have the wrong attitude about pain. because it's so uncomfortable, we just want to make it go away with any kind of quick fix. But really, it's a sign, a well-intended signal from the body that something is wrong.
Pain is hard-wired into our nervous system for very basic and important purpose:
to keep us healthy." - Satyarthi Peloquin
My personal turning point with my chronic pain happened it 2013 in a chain of events. It started with my pain that erupted in a way I couldn't ignore it, it disturbed my practice and work. I endlessly searched for solutions, something or someone to fix me. I was stubborn to keep my practice, to keep standing on my hands. And then a teacher came into my life that saw me and saw my struggle, and a moment of that a coin drooped deep in me -
"My body don't need to be fixed, it needs to Re-learn something."
With the help of two body-oriented therapy teachers, I started to relearn.
I learned to listen, I learned to slow down.
I learned to notice my whole body and not just my shoulder, to sense when I contract, sense my breath. I remember a moment I stood in my kitchen and cut salad,
I remember noticing that I hold the knife strongly with a lot of tension in my whole arm.
In acrobatics when you do challenging exercise very often without intension you hold your breath, you contract.
If we think of it, some of us have pain because we had an accident or we fall. But the majority of chronic pains started from what seem like "nothing". Many people can't recall one specific event that started their pain. There are hundreds if not more, little movements, positions, and actions we do daily. These "little", daily, repetitive movements have more potential in the long run.
Many of these movements their origin is in our structure.
I thought if I can stand on my hands, I also in some way create this pain - in the way I move or the way I don't move, In the way I hold myself, in the way I seat when I work on the computer or even when I drive.
The learning that was the most profound for me that year, was learning to move in a new way and learning to create more space in me for the emotions that rose as I started to slow down and sense more my body.
" Our tendency is to contract and to go against the emotion" RAJA SELVAM, PhD
In the Bodynamic system, body structures are built from hypertension and hypo-tension muscles and they are connected to our development in childhood. We all grow up in different families - some families really promote specific emotions and completely reject others - we all do it! We all have our favorite emotions and the ones we just prefer to hold at distance. In my family, anger was the emotion we would be sent to our room "to relax" for. And that was an integral part of my healing process.
When I learned to move with my pain
I started to embrace and explore new movements, I learned when my shoulder is screaming with pain - to stop and listen. I learned to move with my breath, to be attentive to it. To allow it to lead and support the movement. There are so many things we can do, but we need to learn to sense and work with our bodies. I learned that my pain is a messenger, a friend from my body that just come to knock on my door to call me back.
We all have to deal with pain in our lives. Even if it's not chronic and just comes ones in a while, learning to work with it, to move with it supports us to be our own medicine, help us to know how to not let things settle, and become chronic.