Friday, January 18, 2013

Sick, But Happy: The Difference Between Suffering and Pain

Something I learned a long time ago, I believe it was 6 years ago when I started my yoga studio, was how to be gracefully ill. When I first opened I got really sick, or really I was battling germs left and right. Every other week I'd have a fever, and students would arrive, and I'd have a scarf and hat on, sometimes several blankets, and be sitting on the heating grate. But I would always feel like smiling.. Most of the time I'd still teach too.

I discovered that my body may feel sick, but my spirit doesn't.. and I choose to honor the connection between the two, but to think of myself more as my spirit/energy then the wonderful, but temporary body. So when the body has discomforts, like bodies do, it doesn't damage my self-esteem or inner peace and joy.

When I thought all I was was the body, I was miserable.. because a body isn't perfect, and never can be.. its a walking, talking, pooping, farting, composting machine, that has mucus and mentral cycles, and hormones, which I still haven't quite grasped why those are so chalenging, and yet they are!!... and the body grows and ages, and eventually composts back into the giant Mother Earth.

So to shift, and see who I AM as energy, and not just body.. and to release mcuh discomfort comes from the interface of the physical and energetic.. it makes sense, it resonates, it brings liberation!

Even when I suffered a broken heart recently.. I had some severe moments of misery and got a little lost in it. But quicker then ever, and so fast I was surprised.... so quickly, in fact, that I caught myself not wanting to let the pain go so easily because it seemed almost to easy... I found my peace.. the pain existed and still, a bit, exists within my energy field.. its within my experience.. but it isn't my total experience by any means, and it is just there, and we co-exist, and it lessens everyday, like a cut on your finger slowly heals, especially once you stop STARING AT IT.. like that proverbial pot that just WILL NOT BOIL! ;)

It is the same method whether dealing with emotional pain or physical pain, and of course, like the secret to everything else amazing in the Universe, being fully present is the center.

So I become aware fully of the pain... I breathe.. I feel and acknowledge its source, and the way I am experiencing it. As I write at this very moment, my body is so achey that my finger tips almost sting as they hit the keys, I am achey and exhausted, belly sluggish and now on a tea fast for the night and early morning.. but I am surrealy at peace.. I have a great deal of love in this moment, just a general feeling of love.. I just am love, I love, I love the Universe, life, all that is.. and I feel this, along with all the discomfort, and a splash of heartache...

So you feel your pain and your loss.. feel it fully, acknowledge its source and depth, and act truthfully in its honor.. taking care of your sick body.. crying and journaling and processing your emotional pain.. but never grow stagnant, never cling to labels.. "I have a headache, I have a headache, I have a headache..." "I am sick, I am sick.." "I'm in pain, I'm in pain, I'm in pain.." "I am devastated, I am devastated, I am devastated.." That's what the left brain loves to do... obsess.. a negative affirmation, concretizing the split moment experience and making a shrine of self-pity out of it.. a monument to this unpleasant experience is errected in that obsessive redundancy....  until you expel the thought.. just.. let it go.. everytime it repeats, don't feed into it.. just breathe and let it fall away, turn your attention to your FULL experience, in the present moment.. and the pain will shrink.. because it is only one part of your total experience.. it is only part of this moment.. along with the entire singing crying laughing dying dancing birthing learning lying loving ebbing flowing Universe.. it is only one part of what you feel.. along with the space around you, the light of your energy, nature, and anything or anyone else in contact with you.. and the music, art, beauty.. the Universe smiling at you through everything that is.. because everything that is, is conscious energy.. Divinity. We are the cells in the Divine living conscious Universe, or what a lot of people call God, or whatever way it resonates in your heart.. we are all connected to all that is. We are so vast.. our life story so significant, and so transient.. this too shall pass.. so find the light in it.. enjoy the mandatory rest and smile.. you are alive.. this is your life story, you are the star, stay real, stay you, life is beautiful.

Okay, so in the moment when you are so sad and in so much pain that it feels like all the air is sucked out of your chest, that you can't see, you don't have quite enough life force in your body to move, and eating is absurdly out of the question, and breathing is asking too much right now, because your entire torso feels like it was scooped out with an icecream scoop.. you may not feel like smilin' at the sunset.. those are the moments when you are so fully surrendered.. the moments when the migraine is so bad that you CANNOT leave the present moment or else you will vomit from the pain, those are the moments you cannot have any other intention but to be present.. weather it out.. because IT WILL PASS, and when it does, it becomes clearer why.. if not right away, someday...

Even my chronic migraines have become a forced and mandatory meditation practice for me, and have increased my mindfulness immensely.. they also keep me in check as the pain shoots up exponentially when I leave the present moment in my head.. so I get knocked down to the lowest rung, so to speak, and humbled really fast.. drawn into the present moment against my will by the degradation of pain, I find my heart becomes extremely open.. totally open. This is the beautiful way that sickness and heartache work for us. When they force us to let go of everthing that is not now, we clear the way.  All false priorities die, and as they wither and dry and blow away, love is right there shining at us. 

As I say in classes, everytime you are present, every yoga practice, every moment of deep mindfulness, even a split second, begins to wipe the slate of habit energy clean, and you can make a conscious choice in how to act and react when you arise afterwards. All of the expctations, habits, paths of least resistance are wiped away, and we can walk in a way that describes the energy that is who we are.. the unique creative flow of Shakti.. life energy..soul.. that is shining through the prism of us.. each of us, a unique and precious crystal, casting our own refletion of the light into the world.. when we clear away all the acquired debris in our heads, and free ourselves of fears, our hearts shine and the light dances through us into the world, into the lives of others..

Most people make the mistake of letting the left brain take over, condemning ourselves for our limitations instead of honoring them and getting over it and going on wisely, we knock ourselves when we are already down, and our energy is dragged down further. Get too stagnant and sucked into the dark chasm of the left brain chatter and judgement, and being sick and depressed will converge and you will feel worse then you had to feel. Most of our suffering is self-induced.. arguably all of it... see, if we are in pain, that is one thing, if we cannot accept that we are in pain and fight it, we suffer.. see there is a difference.

Suffering is the rejection and fighting of reality.. of what we are experiencing in the moment. Accept reality, accept that you are in pain, and suffering ends.. the mind and heart are ok, but the pain remains.. This is true in illness and in heart-break.. and by staying present and responding in integrity with your inner rightness, the pain will heal over time, like any wound, and the it will be gone..

So you see, that is the deal.. there is pain in life, there is heart-ache.. but you don't need to suffer.. you can choose to accept reality and still touch your inner peace and joy while you are also experiencing pain and discomfort, even great pain, I have found. Opening, instead of closing, the heart, makes everything easier and brighter and better. Open wider in the face of your pain, and you may cry, but you will be letting it go, and the pain cannot last, and the heart remains wide open.. more love and beauty flow in to nourish you, life becomes brighter.. over and over, pain cracks us open to let go of the debris and find ecstacy..  and so it goes. I hope you find the bravery to try this, and see for yourself. Love and Blessings to all..... xoxo

1 comment:

  1. Laura as I have said before, you have been put in my life for a is no mistake to be sure. I am practicing staying in the moment...but it has been many years of not staying in the moment, so I must REALLY pay attention, keep my heart open, even through sadness and pain. Thank you Dear Laura for sharing your love, your wisdom ♥ Namaste Shelley