This is one of my favorite quotes by the Sufi Mystic, Rumi, because there is so much truth in it. I do not believe there is a human alive who has not experienced pain in their lives, either physical or emotional. Currently it is believed that 11% of Americans suffer from chronic pain. It is estimated that 8.3 million Americans suffer from stress, depression, and anxiety, which are forms of emotional pain. And approximately 173 million Americans suffer from chronic health problems and disease. That is a lot of pain going on. It’s no wonder the pharmaceutical companies are rolling in the dough.
But what no one realizes, the drugs are not going to heal them, that is up to them. We are responsible for whether or not we heal our ailments. All the treatment from medical professionals will do no good, if we don’t do the internal work on the pain that is required. The drugs only manage the symptoms, but in order to cure our pain, we must be willing to allow our body to experience the pain, it is there for a reason. It is the only way that our bodies can talk to us. When we experience pain, it is our body trying to tell us that there is something in our life that we need to be paying attention to, that we need to become aware of.
Our bodies have an innate ability to heal themselves if given the proper tools. If you break a bone and the doctor resets it, it is then up to you to do what is needed to continue the healing process. There are times that medicine, either western or complementary, may be needed to start the healing process, but then it is up to us to take the healing to the next level. No amount of treatments in the world are going to help, if you don’t listen to the messages your body is trying to tell you, the pain will only continue, and probably get worse. The medicine is not going to heal you, the body heals itself.
This post is not meant to be medical advice. If you are experiencing a pain, either physical, mental or emotional, that is seemingly unbearable, please seek professional help. Believe me, if I began to experience chest pains that were indicative of a heart attack, I would not be going into the pain, I would be hauling my ass to the hospital. But if you do suffer chronic pain or emotional pain that you are tired of living with, then this post may help because we have the ability to heal ourselves, it is what our bodies want to be whole and healthy.
We all experience physical pain, now and again, from sprained ankles, to broken bones, to muscle strains, to stomach aches, headaches…all kinds of pain. Our first inclination is usually to take a pill, make the pain go away, and I do it too. I will get some hellacious headaches sometimes, and if I can’t breathe through them, and they begin to make me nauseous when I move my head, I break down and take some ibuprofen. Light headaches, I go into them, breathe, without judging how bad it hurts, or labeling it as a bad thing. I put my focus on the pain, and start taking nice long cleansing breaths. With each exhale, I imagine the pain being released with my breath.
If you can allow yourself to breathe, and just let the pain be what it needs to, you will notice the pain dissipating. The longer you keep breathing through the pain, the experience, just letting your body feel what it needs to, the more the pain dissipates. You will have to try it to believe it because it almost seems magical. But, I do it with any physical pain that I experience. And with fibromyalgia, I experience a lot of physical pain, and have found that the only way I can get the pain to decrease is to be willing to breathe, and let the pain be what it needs to. I have learned a lot through the fibromyalgia pain, and am still learning.
It is believed that physical pain is the final manifestation of either emotional, mental or spiritual pain that we did not take care of earlier in the process. The body reaches a point where it really needs to get your attention now, and so you are now experiencing some sort of physical pain. All of our emotions are associated with parts of the body. Anger will lodge itself in the liver if not released. Grief, bereavement will settle in the lungs. It is interesting to note that the wife of Christopher Reeves passed away ten months after his death from lung cancer, never having smoked a cigarette in her life. Is it maybe possible that she could not move through the grief of the death of her husband, and the grief settled in her lungs. Worry will weaken your digestive system. So if you have a certain part of your body, pay attention to the negative emotions you have been holding on to, and begin to heal those. And remember healing is a process, not an event. It takes time.
I believe that sometimes the emotional/mental pain we experience can hurt just as much or more than any physical pain. When we experience heart-break, it feels as if our heart is actually breaking or there is a whole in it. When we experience anxiety, it can feel like our intestines have been tied up into knots. And when we feel joy, we can almost feel our heart swell and become large in our chests. It is in this realm that we can heal things before they become physical pains that we must deal with also, on top of the emotional pain that we are still holding onto.
Although the pain of fibromyalgia can be a daily experience, it is the flare-ups that cause both physical pain, and extreme emotional pain. I am not a person who is predisposed to suffering from depression, but during a flare-up I can find myself in some dark places, and know that in order to work through this pain, I must be willing to go into that dark place and take stock of the sadness, the frustration, the feeling of uselessness, hopelessness I am experiencing, so that I can move through the pain, and get to the other side of it. I cry, I yell, I write, I tell myself I love you, regardless of this pain you are experiencing.
It is essential that you treat your emotional pain as if it is a hurt child that needs tender loving care, because that is what it needs. And so I sit quietly with myself quite often, focusing on my breath, and allowing myself to see the sadness, the frustration for what it is, and not feeding the emotions with my thoughts of self-doubt and worthlessness. I remind myself that there is something to learn during these times about myself, and that no matter what I am worthy, and that this too shall pass. I see emotional pain as a splinter that hasn’t been removed. As long as that splinter remains in the wound, it will remain infected, and will not heal until the splinter is removed. We can not begin to heal until we acknowledge and accept that the emotion is there, experience it, and let it go.
It is Our Job To Heal
We are energetic and spiritual beings here to experience being human, and all the things that come with it, the sadness, the happiness, the grief, the anger, the irritation. But we are here to experience all of life, but yet we hold onto the happy memories, wishing that time would last forever. And we hold onto the bad memories, wishing they had never happened. And in the holding onto these thoughts, these emotions, we find ourselves stuck, like a spider in a web, but our web is the thoughts and emotions that we are not willing to let go of.
When we are not willing to move through the experience, feeling it fully at that moment, whether it feels good or it feels bad, we get stuck in it, never being able to move onto the next experience that is waiting for us. This is when we begin to feel the pain. But if we can recognize the pain when it occurs, we can make space for the feeling, being ready to let it go when it no longer serves us, therefore allowing ourselves to experience every moment in life, and finding the beauty in life. We Can Heal Ourselves.