Hearing the Message of Pain
Some weeks ago I was going about business as usual when I noticed that it hurt to put on my coat. Also to close the trunk of my car. Also to wear my backpack. My shoulder was not cooperating with my daily life; in fact, it was protesting with pain.
It took a long time before I could check in. First I had to be willing to investigate. I had to open myself to hear the message of pain.
The miracle of “wildwriting” is that it allows you to sit and feel into whatever is happening when you might otherwise ignore it.
Ignoring is never a good long-term solution. When it comes to pain, injury, or discomfort, the body will speak more fiercely and loudly the longer you ignore it.
Writing is miraculous, though, because when I settle down, take up my pen and bravely write, I will learn more than I dreamed. If I jot down what I’m purely noticing, I can become whole, attuned, and available to mend.
When I got quiet, I wrote about my shoulder and noticed the word itself was comprised of the word “should.” The pinching, the searing, the discomfort – this was all about my should-er.
“My should-er has demonstrated it has had enough,” I wrote. “No more shoulds. But who will I be without them? Will I float purposelessly through the pandemic space-time continuum? Will I become a bubble, only to rise, bob, and break apart? Without shoulds, I fear I won’t have shoulders to carry grocery bags, hoist packages, shut heavy doors. Will I become a skeleton, a reed blowing in the wind? Shoulder pain, then, is trying to stake me to the ground. Add a flag. Human, you’ve landed.”
These understandings have opened my heart in this healing journey and in this pandemic time, when my coping mechanisms all have to do with should. Forcing myself to do things . . . because I should.
In the short run, we can drive ourselves, but over time, our creativity wants greater purpose. Just telling myself, “I should,” doesn’t solve anything. Even if I accomplish something, it will lead to a dead end where all my shoulds become concrete walls.
Listening to the body through writing is a beautiful tool. Taking in these life-giving messages is as important as eating nutritious food. I love that I’m learning about shoulders and shoulds, and I can’t wait . . . despite pain . . . to see what’s next.
What about you? Where can you listen deeply to your body?
Sit down with pen and paper and finish this sentence:
“What I’m feeling right now is . . . ”
Keep writing for ten minutes. Open your heart.