“Pain, of course, is an essential part of living: not good, not something to be courted or embraced, just unavoidable. But even in facing pain, we have a choice, and wherever there is a choice there is freedom. ‘Pain is an enemy’ goes an Indian proverb ‘only when we do not welcome it as a friend’ Pain is a teacher whose lesson is to go beyond pain.” – Eknath Easwarn
Somehow I came across this last week when I was in pain. Coincidence?
“Yes, you see, there’s no such thing as coincidence. There are no accidents in life. Everything that happens is the result of a calculated move that leads us to where we are.” – J.M. Darhower
Any way you look at it, I was grateful for the reminders, both of coincidence and pain.
One thing I know for sure is that pain is a great motivator.
Most of us will do anything to make it stop. And, we all have some kind of pain. Physical and emotional and I might even add spiritual.
My pain started around the full moon. Coincidence?
I’ve had back pain for most of my life and at this point, that’s a pretty long while. I’ve tried to do things to mitigate circumstances that will aggravate it. Exercise, yoga, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, the Egoscue Method, Chek practitioners…you name it I’ve probably tried it.
Also, emotions get stuck in the body and can manifest as physical pain.
Another thing I know for sure is that the body never lies.
It’s always giving you clues and signals as to how it’s doing. It desperately tries to get your attention before things turn to shit. When I was a massage therapist I used to have people tell me all the time, “It just happened all of a sudden.” Ah, nope, it didn’t.
Most times when I’m in pain I just want it to go away and turn outward for solutions. And, try to disconnect by eating sugar or drinking alcohol. (somehow taking ibuprofen never enters my mind) All things that seemingly take the mind somewhere else but in actuality increase inflammation and make you feel worse.
This time I really tried to lean into it and not pull away. Don’t get me wrong I wanted it to be better but I also wanted to feel into the source. It’s always more than just physical.
The body can hold pain and trauma without the mind’s consciousness awareness of it.
I did lots of pranayam breathing to calm my nervous system. I didn’t do any blaming. I didn’t get mad. Took copious amounts of herbs. And, waited. I knew at some point it would go away because history tells me it will, eventually.
I felt inward, lay down on the floor, (basically savasana pose), and confessed my pain to the Earth. I gathered it all, the physical pain, the grief, the confusion, the anger, the shame, the exhaustion…and whispered to the Earth, please take it all. She accepted and I released the energy to her to be transmuted.
I can’t say I was immediately pain-free but I did feel lighter.
My pain almost always is in my sacrum area, the second chakra.
The lesson of the second chakra is that we can’t be in control.
I began mentally repeating the mantra ‘let go’ over and over and over. Control is an illusion anyway. But, boy oh boy we all want control in some form or another.
In yoga the hardest pose is savasana. The relaxing, the letting go, the cultivating conscious surrender. Even if you can get your body to let go, the mind will inevitably try to get in the way.
Since the body is always gathering information I started paying attention to where emotions lodged in my body. Where does fear go? What about grief? Anger? Stress? Where do I feel loneliness? It’s still a work in progress or I should say I’m still a work in progress but I really like being more intentional and paying attention to what’s going on in my body.
And of course, I used herbal allies to help me on all levels.
Everyday herbs are magical tools hidden in plain sight.
More than just treatments for physical ailments, herbal medicine supports spiritual, emotional, and physical health. I needed all the help I could get. Pain combined with processing is hard work. And, the plants are always there to provide support.
At first, I threw the kitchen sink at it. Everything I could think of that might help ease the discomfort and help me sleep. But, that’s not always a good strategy.
I was trying to listen to my body, use my intuition, and not just be in fear and emotion and make this go the fuck away. I was trying to change the pattern.
St. John’s Wort helps you find the light in the darkness.
It has become a close ally for me this year and it was a perfect choice for the circumstances. Coincidence?
It deeply relaxes sore and stressed muscles.
It nourishes the nerves and helps with nerve pain.
Strengthens the seat of personal power, the 3rd chakra. (fear of failure & intuitive guidance)
Helps you cope with life’s challenges.
Reminds you to find the positive in situations.
Eases stress, tension, anxiety, and mild depression.
I used St. John’s Wort oil topically, mostly on my low back but also on my shoulders and the bottoms of my feet. And, I took it as a tincture throughout the day.
Comfrey loves to mend.
And I desperately needed mending.
Comfrey heals from the top down so it’s a reminder to work on your deepest layers first.
It’s an ally to help relieve pain and inflammation of muscles and joints.
Sometimes you need to break before you can be remade.
I used Comfrey salve right on top of the St. John’s Wort oil.
Tulsi says you are perfect just the way you are.
Another of my personal allies.
It asks you to come home to yourself, to not look externally for the answers.
Supports you when you are under a lot of stress.
It brings you back into your body.
Is helpful in decreasing pain and inflammation.
Helps restore electromagnetic balance and balance the chakras.
I drank the tea and took it as a tincture.
Pineapple Weed promotes inner peace.
Also known as Wild Chamomile.
Supports the nervous system and pent-up energy.
Decreases worry, stress, and emotional discomfort.
Relaxes muscle tension, tightness, and pain.
Reminds you to be gentle with yourself.
I took this as an Elixir, basically a sweetened version of a tincture.
I used a couple of other herbs randomly like Wood Betony read about it here.
Brown’s Peony, Valerian, Meadowsweet, Mullein (don’t ask me why it just felt right), Wild Lettuce, Ginger, Ashwagandha, and Calendula.
Things have definitely shifted in me. I feel more relaxed and less pressured to get things done immediately. I’m letting go little by little, asking for guidance from the universe, and trusting the cycles of my life.
I don’t know how long it will last but for now, I can only say Thank You.
Lessons I’ve learned through this little adventure:
- I’m remembering to be grateful for all the experiences I have and not judge them as bad or good.
- That everything happens for me, not to me.
- To find the message, meaning, and opportunity in pain and that it is truly a great teacher.