What Can Pain Teach Us?

What Can Pain Teach Us?

Well, I’ve done it this time. 8 days ago I pulled something in my leg/hip while stretching post exercise class and it’s gone from bad to worse. I’m now for the first time in my life using a walker and a cane. I admit to not being happy with this situation.

We are sorting it out with the assistance of an orthopedic group but until that is done, I’m living in that nowhere land of “not sure, unknown, who knows”.

This afternoon, after a cortisone shot and sitting with an ice pack, I moved ever so slightly and got a big zing of pain that would bring a strong man to his knees. So not fair I’m thinking. I was doing everything that I should be doing or at least that I have been told to do: rest, ice, have the shot.

So I began to think about why we have pain, limitations to our movement and lives, and why I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks in spite of having a list of “to-do’s” a mile long. In my ruminating on this, this is what I have come to and I would love it if you would add to this. Because for sure you have something of value to offer here.

First, Pain slows us down.
Does it ever. I resist things mightily when they do not dovetail with my own wishes. Oh my, do I ever. So even though I have the best intentions of keeping up with my schedule, I just can’t.

It keeps us humble.
I can see that it is putting me in my place as it clearly is steering this vehicle, not me. Although I think I am in charge, I’m never really in charge! HAHA. That joke is on me!
I’m reminded of the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says “not my will but thy will”. Indeed.

Pain can redirect us.
So yes, I have had to slow down. In fact, I’m moving so slowly I’ve had time to reflect on where I am going. And you know what? I’m not changing directions exactly but I have modified my route. This one is the better one for me at this moment in time so I have to say thank you, pain. This is a great detour I would not have seen if I were whizzing down the track!

Pain can talk to us.
I sat with my pain today and asked if for messages. I got some. Wow. Some good messages. Thank you, pain.

Pain can guide us.
This time I am trying to listen to the wisdom and guidance that the pain might have for me, to be aware of where it is directing me. As mentioned before, I’m taking a bit of a detour which at this point seems a wise redirection. It has also directed me to rest more and to avoid some movements that were not supportive of my body type. It’s making me aware of how I move and when, how I am walking and where my gait is off. I’m learning a lot about my body’s movement that I was not aware of before.

It certainly does get our attention. When we don’t pay attention to other cues we are given, it grabs us severely and says “can you hear me now?” Oh yeah, I can hear you now…..and I’m listening.

These are just a few things I have come to. Perhaps you can enlighten me further because right now, in the middle of the “crisis”, I would love to hear what you have to say about pain and why we experience it. I have no doubt there are positive things that come to us via pain and hope that this time I don’t overlook any of them.