“I can’t trust my body…I’m not safe in here!” I was not conscious of it for a long time, but my mind, body, and spirit were at war with one another. This struggle kept me in a world of hurt and suffering. The paradox was that I was blocking the very thing I wanted – my healing – because I was unknowingly contributing to my chronic pain condition instead of helping to ease it. Of course my body had been trying to get its message to me my whole life, but I had not developed the inner ears to hear it, nor did I know what it meant to honor the Intelligent wisdom of my body. The struggle itself was one reason I remained locked in the grip of chronic pain. Part of my healing involved recognizing and clearly understanding that I was immersed in a fierce internal conflict. I was seriously trying to ‘conquer’ my body. I was not respecting my body, but attempting to manage it. I was certainly not accepting my body, and I felt so separated from it. I was far away from loving myself. When I realized this, I made the decision to relinquish the battlefield and take these disparate pieces of myself to the Peace Table for reconciliation. It really wasn’t until I healed and moved beyond chronic pain that I began to realize how deeply the issue around not trusting my body ran inside of me.
The Body Wants to Heal:
Thinking that the body should be predictable and constant is a story that came straight from my mind. This was certainly never a guarantee from the Universe. If anything is constant about my experience with life and the Universe, it is that change itself is a constant. Furthermore, the body is a super-finely tuned instrument that is ready to shift and adapt to any sudden changes that happen to it. The body is utterly adaptable, a characteristic which I have often underestimated – to my detriment. For so long I believed that healing was something that I needed to go see a doctor about. I had forgotten the power of the body’s own inherent healing. Doctors can set a broken bone, but they do not know how to heal it – only the body’s Intelligence knows how to do this. I have learned and re-learned this lesson. My job is to trust the body’s healing Intelligence, get out of the way, and allow my body to heal. When I slip into judgment about the sensations that arise in my body, calling this sensation or that one ‘bad’ and even trying to ‘get rid of it’, I have learned that these actions lock me into suffering and continue the chronic pain cycle. When I do these things, I am getting in the way of my own body’s attempt to heal. The body wants to heal. I had to let go of my judgment of the sensations that I was feeling. I learned to drop my expectations about what my healing is supposed to look like and feel like. Let the Divine Spirit within me work its healing miracle. It will do so in Its own way and in Its own time. I cannot rush this process, no matter what I might ‘think’.
A Case in Point:
I have been retraining my nervous system for many months now to help even out my gait and the left-to-right muscle inequity resulting from years of weakness in my core muscles and walking with a limp. My healing is evident over time, but not necessarily in any specific moment. I am learning how the body heals and I am learning even more about letting go of this concept and expectation I had developed around being able to anticipate how my body may or may not react in certain situations.
I was just finishing up a yoga class a few months ago. I was lying in what is called “savasana” or “Corpse Pose”, where we lie down and allow the body to completely relax. I like to imagine Mother Earth has me in Her sweet embrace and I no longer have to ‘fight’ gravity. This is a pose where we allow all of the work from the class to integrate into the body’s nervous system, and it is a time for us to rest the mind and lie in the still silence. My experience with my mind is that it almost always wants to make a comment. I find the silence in between the thoughts is rather fleeting after I have done a yoga workout. This time was no exception to that rule. I witnessed quite a bit of chatter parading in and out of my mind.
This afternoon in savasana was quite an eye opener for me. I sensed the nerves to the muscles in my legs actively firing and the muscles contracting, relaxing, and contracting again and again. They certainly were not behaving as if they were in any pose even close to one called “Corpse Pose”. At one point I found myself get pretty insistent that my leg muscles calm down. “We’re in savasana. You can relax now.” No change. Did I really expect that my muscles would obey on my command??!! I continued to feel edgy and uncomfortable with the activity in my legs. I said to myself, “We’re in savasana! Calm down already!” I felt the energy of my frustration well up inside of me – quite the opposite of the ultimate letting go practice at the heart of savasana. I stopped and assessed my awareness in the moment. “You realize this is a yoga class, right?” I began to laugh at myself. I heard a favored phrase of one of my yoga teachers resound in my mind: “The asana is what you are doing in the pose. Yoga is how you’re being in the pose. How are you being in the pose?” I went on with my internal conversation. “Remember what yoga means? The union of mind, body, and spirit. You realize you are having an argument with your body right now. You are so far away from ‘yoga’ in this moment, Elizabeth!”
And suddenly there it was. I had such a revelation, several of them actually. The first insight was that my body would heal at the rate that it could. No demands or commands on my part were going to do anything to rush the process, and my protests and insistences might actually slow the healing process down. Furthermore, my expectations about how the healing was going to look or feel were irrelevant, and maybe they were even hindering the process.
The other piece of clarity I had was that at the base of all of this, I had a core belief that I could not trust my body. Wow! I really felt that hit hard. Clearly I do not trust myself. I am not yet a fully integrated person. Disparate parts of me exist all tucked inside of this mind-body-spirit that is Elizabeth. While they are no longer at war with one another, and might have gone to the Peace Table, they are having quite an argument with one another. Perhaps it is time to settle all of the disputes and make peace for once and for all.
Here’s the thing. I trust and have always trusted that the Universe operates in my favor, not against it, or as Einstein said, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” Okay then. The body has the Intelligence of and from the Universe locked inside of it and it knows to heal. How is that I do not seem to trust Its nature and power? I felt like I had received a cosmic smack down. I saw this conflict I had with trust. It was fundamental to finding a sense of inner peace and ‘getting out of the way’ to allow my body to heal the way it knows so well.
I asked myself: “What will you do now to instill a greater and more complete sense of trust in yourself?” The beginning of the answer lies in having the awareness of the issue. From there I continue to observe and calm myself as I notice any slight disturbance in the energetic forces that live within me and step into patience and compassion. I live in the Pose of Life. How am I being in the pose? Aware, allowing myself to be right where I am in the moment, and accepting of exactly wherever that is. Inner peace can grow into a beautiful garden if we only give it the nourishment and light it needs to thrive.
What have been your experiences with trusting your body in relation to the experience of chronic pain?
What tools have you found helpful in learning to deeply trust yourself?
How can you develop a sense of inner peace in your life?
#SweetSurrender #LivingBeyondChronicPain #UnleashYourHealingPower #kippinitreal