Honoring Pain

I have blogged about pain a few times already—not that it is my favorite topic; I just consider it as part of my everyday life. The morning after I do yoga, I welcome it. Every time I get rid of my unwanted hair, plucking or waxing, it is there. From a simple paper cut to a more terrifying root canal, pain is my inevitable company. But these are all physical pain—the kind I find easiest to deal with. And to heal.

The other day, when Teacher Pio was in lecturing mood, he said that there are different types of pains and wounds—physical, subtle (referring to emotional and psychological), and even spiritual. He continued, “when you give yourself to someone….” Now I won’t get into that; just let him tell you his story, he he.

I have been wounded several times over (I’ve said it here), not the physical kind, and for various reasons. Sometimes healing does not come so easy, and so is forgiveness. Add to that the usual remarks from well-meaning people:

— “You should not feel that way.” Fine, but the fact is, I am feeling this way! I am hurting. I am in pain. Please do not make me deny it.

— “Learn to forgive, as God has forgiven us.” That’s noble. But that’s not my issue. I am in pain. A Catholic priest once told me when I was blabbering about my pain and how frustrated I was for not being able to forgive those who hurt me, “So what? Who told you that you should forgive them?” I was shocked. Of course, this statement of his should not be taken out of context, as a long processing came after his rhetorical questions.

— “Pray.” As if I don’t.

— “Move on.” Could you please tell me how?

— “Let go.” The best response to this remark that I have ever heard came from my former spiritual directress. She said, “You cannot let go of that of which you do not have a firm grasp.”

The article When Pain Comes Our Way, Honoring All Experiences has a profound message on how we could honor our pain (instead of denying it). It has brought me memories of my crisis period and how I struggled to find healing, only to realize that it comes only after acknowledging, embracing, and honoring that which needs to be healed.

I am still on my way to recovery and yoga plays a part in it. Not only has the practice taught me to listen to my body and emotions; more importantly it has brought me healing through self-love as well as pointed me to where my subtle hurts lie. Thus, I always tell my friends, yogin or not, who are experiencing chronic body pain to listen to it, dialogue with it if they can…as honoring pain leads to healing.

Recommended readings:

The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen

Don’t Forgive Too Soon, Extending the Two Hands that Heal by Dennis Linn, Sheila Linn, and Matthew Linn

Healing Spiritual Abuse and Religious Addiction by Dennis Linn, Sheila Linn, and Matthew Linn

Healing Life’s Hurts, Healing Memories through the Five Stages of Forgiveness by Dennis Linn and Matthew Linn

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3 thoughts on “Honoring Pain

  1. Hey Chons…nice post. I went ahead and dealt with my shoulder pain last night and got a good beating from 2 masahistas at City Lifestyle (Ok sila! And we will still push through with our Palm Garden date ha.). In the course of the 1 hour treatment, many times they touched on something that was so painful I would just laugh in pain. That’s my normal reaction to pain, natatawa until tears start to run. When I had my long weekend at The Farm, the doctor there told me that our body parts store particular emotions and memories. Interesting research…hint, hint. 😉 Here’s one trivia: the liver stores anger. Hmm…

    Forgiveness is really hard. What made me learn how to be quick to forgive (others and myself) is when I read somewhere that forgiveness is a decision…not an emotion. All the feelings may not support the decision to forgive, you may not even want to re-establish relationships with that person (or yourself), but the decision to forgive the offense is done nevertheless. Why…well, because in my Christian belief, God said to pray “…as we forgive those who sinned against us…” When I realized that my forgiveness and reunion with my God is anchored on my ability to forgive others (and humbly ask for forgiveness as well), that’s when I realized how much power I have in my control. Yun, just sharing…and I hope this does not become a “usual remark[s] from well meaning people.” 🙂

    You know what, kanya-kanya tayo ng approach to healing…isn’t diversity wonderful! And it’s very good that there are people like you who put it out there for others to munch on as well. Generous Chona.

  2. Thanks Crissy! I guess we go through something in life so that 1) we can learn and 2) others can learn from us (as to what to do and NOT what to do, he he). Yeah, we have different approaches — at least may options ang readers, ha ha! Beauty in diversity.

    Body and emotions…sige next dissertation ko ‘yan 😉

  3. Pingback: No Surprises « CrissYoga: The Yoga World of Cristina De Guzman

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