Pain sucks. Like a leech. It literally sucks your energy. It will drain you. What were once simple and enjoyable tasks, become tedious and hard. Pain will leave you unfulfilled with life.
Pain is a wrecking ball. It wreaks havoc and leaves destruction in its wake. Pain will quickly, almost without fail, make itself the number one priority of your life, drowning out everything else. You lose your ability to focus and concentrate. Productivity vanishes. You feel distant and alone, it puts strain upon your intimate relationships. It leaves you frustrated and helpless. Over time, as the pain becomes chronic, hopelessness and depression set in.
The story of pain is a story that sucks. It is a story that I lived out for a good chunk of my life. Thankfully, I learned that life didn’t have to be this way. There is another way to live. It is possible to remove pain from the drivers’ seat. It is possible to love and honor my Self and my Health – not just in passing but as a major priority. I can change my relationship with pain. By changing my relationship with pain I have profoundly changed my life, forever. I feel more deeply. I experience greater intimacy within myself and in my relationships with others. I have seen amazing, incredible growth in my personal and professional life. I no longer live as a victim to my pain. Instead, I live with inspiration.
What is pain?
Pain is not bad. On the contrary, pain is beautiful. It plays an incredibly necessary function within your body. Pain is one of the most powerful ways your body communicates to you. It is the way your body protects itself, and it is there to prevent harmful movements and unhealthy behaviors. Pain is the feedback that keeps you in touch with what’s going on within your body. If you were to lose the ability to feel pain, you would be unable to manage yourself safely. Ultimately you would end up destroying yourself.
Pain vs. pain
Pain shows up in a number of ways. There is pain when you push yourself to the extreme. There is the burn in your lungs and legs during a hard run. Or the two days of soreness from an intense strength-training workout. This is pain, yes, but it is what we usually consider “good pain.” This is not what I am addressing in this post. I’m writing about the kind of pain that speaks of something different. The kind of pain that says, “this isn’t working”. That if you continue on, you will get hurt. That you will injure your body. This is the kind of pain that is so important to learn how to listen to.
Pain is a fact of life
Every body feels pain. Some cope with it better than others and some may hide it well. But ultimately, pain has an affect on all of us. It is part of our humanity. So if you feel pain, guess what? You are not alone. Not even close. Pain is something you share in common with every other person on the planet.
Pain is opportunity
The older I’ve grown and the deeper I’ve ventured into my practice, the more I’ve learned about pain. This experience has taught me a few simple lessons. First, pain does not happen without reason. It is a signal of underlying issues. There is always a root cause. Second, silencing pain doesn’t make it go away. It makes it worse. When I ignore, cushion, push through, or drug the pain I feel, I merely make room for the pain to fester, multiply and grow. Third, unless I deal with the pain that I feel – unless I search for and address the root of the problem, eventually my body will deal with the pain in its own fashion. Eventually, I will be forced to deal with it. There’s no getting around it. Unfortunately at this point the measures turn drastic, and I’m forced to deal with the pain by way of injury. What’s the overall lesson here? We cannot run away from our pain.
Pain is an important part of life. When pain is speaking to you it is providing you invaluable feedback. If you learn to listen and take part in the conversation you will be able to make immediate and vital adjustments in every aspect of your life.
You feel the way you live
How you feel is directly related to how you live. Are you in pain? Then you are living the kind of life that makes room for pain. Pain is a reflection of how you live your life. It is the result of each and every choice you make: what you eat, how you move or don’t move, how much you sleep, and how you deal with stress and adversity. If you are in pain and you want to feel better, you must change how you move, and yes, you must change how you live. You will not get change by maintaining the status quo. Pain is the product of a system that is set up to produce pain. It is a result, a symptom. If you hurt, and you don’t make any fundamental changes, you should have no reason to expect any change in how you feel.
This is not about getting rid of your pain. I’m not writing to teach you how to treat your pain, or even how to manage it. This is about changing your relationship with pain. It is about profoundly changing your life. I have no interest in helping you get rid of your pain. That is an impossible feat. It’s not what I do, it isn’t my job. I want to help you change your life so that pain becomes a companion as opposed to an adversary. I want to teach you to make body and movement choices so that you feel healthier, happier, and whole. I want you to take a good hard look at how you feel and ask yourself why? Then you will have the tool to make significant adjustments in how you live. In that moment, you will change your life.
When you approach it like this, the role of pain in your life will change. It will no longer convey a message of frustration, helplessness, or hopelessness. Instead you’ll find in it a beautiful beacon of opportunity. You will learn to go straight to the root cause of your pain. The sooner you learn to listen to your pain, the sooner you change you relationship with pain, the sooner true healing and recovery can begin.
P.S. Check out this sweet video: Change how you view and deal with pain in your life. Our lifestyle, and every choice we make, affects how we feel.
5 Replies to “Changing Your Life: When Pain Speaks, Listen”
Well done, my friend. 🙂 LOVED the video…..
Pain is unavoidable and it is with the same force that you push it away that it returns…
Well-written and absolutely true! Thank you for putting this out there. There’s no worse trap, as a practitioner and teacher, than trying to help make a client’s pain go away. It is the very essence of our relationship with life and with Self. I too had to change my life completely. What a great blessing it was, both to suffer, and to become empowered through that suffering. (see my website, http://www.epoise.net for my Crohn’s disease story.) I love your posts Jesse!
Thank you Lavinia.
Jesse James Retherford