I was laying on the massage table today. Rough life, I know. I was ready to be all blissed out when the masseuse hit a crunchy tender spot on my back and I totally tensed up. Ouch! At first I felt angry. I thought this was supposed to be relaxing.
Then my mind paused. I had just been on a webinar with these mentors Guy and Ilan, who run a coaching business called Satori Prime. Check them out. Truly powerful and big hearted dudes. Anyway, today they were speaking about the power of perspective and how it can reframe our reality. They had even used the exact example of pain. Ilan’s five year old daughter got hurt and she was crying inconsolably. Ilan offered that her “boo boo” was actually being healed right in that moment. The body is constantly in a process of renewal and repair (to achieve homeostasis). His daughter stopped crying, curious about this idea. And the cutest part is that now whenever someone else gets hurt, she goes up to them and says “you’re body is already healing itself.” Dang, what a magical kid!
So I was laying on the massage table, supposed to be all zenned out and totally frustrated that I was not there. Ok, if a five year old can reframe her reality around pain, why can’t I? So I took a deep breath and did some good old self talk. Hmm what if it wasn’t pain I was feeling when she was digging a knot out of my neck? What if I saw it just as discomfort? And actually became curious about what my body was storing. Our bodies are storage vessels for our emotions and experiences. And the storage unit often gets overcrowded. That’s why self care is such an essential practice. More on that later.
I noticed this crazy shift taking place both in my mind and my body. I was actually curious about what was causing the discomfort. Not like analyzing the exact moment in my past. I was more curious about the sensations that were coming up. I noticed when she was working on my lower back, I felt the need to protect myself. I felt super vulnerable. So the emotion that was stored in my lower back was safety and security. Then when she moved to my neck, I was suddenly angry. Wow, holding the weight of the world on my shoulders. Hmmm… that gets exhausting and frustrating, especially with our current political climate of blame shifting.
As I noticed the different emotions with each part of my body, I was less focused on labeling it as pain. It actually wasn’t painful anymore. I could then be present and learn what my body was trying to communicate.
I feel like I have to say this disclaimer when talking about pain. Pain is a messenger that the body has something to say. And it often comes after we’ve been ignoring it for a while. So reframing pain and discomfort doesn’t mean ignoring the pain. It’s an opportunity to approach it from a place of curiosity rather than shutting it down. You may still end up stopping whatever is causing the pain. Like I could have told the masseuse to do less pressure. But you will be gaining information from your body in the process. And then can make the adjustment based on this discovery, rather than a generalized conclusion that “it’s just painful.”
So that leads me to invite you to reflect a little on your own pain. What part of your body has been giving you pain these days? And what emotion is attached for you? Try writing a letter to this body part and ask what is it trying to tell you. Be willing to be surprised what comes up! And share any insight in the comments below!