I went against my body’s wisdom last night and pushed pushed pushed (working until 4am) because I knew today would be one of my Bad Pain Days and I wanted, as far as possible, to be able to relax into it.
With endometriosis and haemorrhagic ovarian cysts, I adopted some pretty extreme self care in my early 20s because I was unable to function due to pain on some days.
Daily pain (it was only when it became daily that I began to get the cause investigated) even after surgery required total lifestyle changes.
The self care improvements included quitting alcohol and cigarettes in 2001, taking up yoga, learning more about crystals etc etc.
Am a complementary not alternative therapist. Please please please always pay attention to the best medical advice you have access to as WELL as your body’s wisdom.
I have it pretty much ‘under control’ now (ie I have learned to cancel as much as possible and REST as much as possible as well as doing as much exercise and sleeping as much as possible in the run up) but was literally floored with the pain again this morning.
What helped this morning?
My bed was too uncomfortable and the pain killers took ages to kick in. Yoga therapy helped in the moment but each time I’d get back to my duvet and try to sleep, too much pain.
I’d manage some mindful breath practices for a few seconds, reminding myself each time that studies show that mindfulness is more effective with chronic pain than opioids.
But, as I tell clients and students struggling with mindfulness and painful physical, emotional and mental conditions, staying present when we’re in pain can be really challenging.
Now, I’m absolutely fine. Apart from online sessions (and writing and scheduling this blog post) am taking the day OFF.
Hot day bath with magnesium flakes and a colour and oils yet to be chosen. Extra time to read and journal – to USE this painful time to dig deeper and connect with what’s coming up for healing
Working with the body’s primative way of communicating with me and insisting I allow it some rest.
Even at it’s worst this morning, I knew it would pass. I’ve had it for decades. It is no longer daily and always passes.
But often, when we’re in pain, it’s hard to have that faith that all WILL be well.
Think of a situation that’s causing you pain right now
It might be:
a) a personal condition
b) a global situation
c) something in between.
Whether it’s so intense that it’s forcing you to pay it some attention or it’s more of a low level ache, give it (and yourself) some love.
Maybe journal or simply reflect. What is going on for you? What hurts? This isn’t about giving into pain but learning from it.
How can you use mindfulness and regulation to feel better and transform?
This morning’s regulation tools included my taking a painkiller, doing some pain relieving yoga (aka lying on the floor with tennis balls under each ovary to enable me to move up into abdominal stretches including Cat/Cow), putting some Deep Heat on my abdomen (even though I know Rainbow hates the smell).
What might YOU do, whatever your situation, to help you regulate (ie feel better)?
Once I had enough pain relief to manage some mindfulness, this was really beneficial.
When trying to get back to sleep, I had several false starts as the returning pain made me almost throw up with pain and tiredness and frustration.
But I’m practiced enough to at least talk soothingly to myself and congratulate myself for attempted what was, in those moments, an advanced practice.
And when I woke up later and was able to journal and sit with it, I could welcome some insights that help me reframe the pain as worth it (as well as resolving to take BETTER care of myself so my body stops needing to scream at me for attention).
Writing this, I remember my disbelief when a therapist encouraged me to ask the parts of my body that were screaming at me what they wanted.
She was a therapist?
And yet, what came up for me in my 20s – expression (both needing to set and maintain healthier boundaries and to live more creatively) – often remains true in my 40s.
When it’s something else, I’m far more trusting of my body’s wisdom and pivot accordingly.
What is your body trying to tell you?
If you’re new to this kind of approach, Louise Hay’s seminal (ovarianal?) book, Heal Your Body (1982, Eden Grove Publications – Louise Hay later set up Hay House Publishing) has a table which I encourage people to use a bit like a dream dictionary.
Her interpretation of what various conditions may be saying to you might resonate enormously or it may bring a translation via your own unconscious mind from your body which will obviously be more meaningful.
If you don’t have the book, you can access some Louise Hay’s ideas around various symptoms HERE
Thursday’s Facebook Live was a mind body practice to support you in connecting with your inner wisdom.
You can watch it here:
I hope sharing these ideas has helped you connect with some of your own resourcefulness about all KINDS of pain.
And, of course, if you’d like my support, you can find out more about ways in which we might work together HERE