I Am Not My Pain

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A deeper layer of my pain body has come to visit me yet again yesterday.

Part of my journey has been to learn how to exercise again, and not have this healthy stimulation elicit a trauma response. Roughly 5 years ago I came to the decision to finally listen to the pain in my body and I took a break from all strenuous activities. I had gotten to the point that I would cry myself to sleep at night and wake up in tears from the pain and burning sensations that I felt in my body. I was so stiff that it would sometimes take my breath away to even move.  The simplest activities like house work or lifting a water bottle onto the water cooler was too much most days. The only exercise that I did for a couple of years was to just walk. Walking felt good and it helped lift my mood.

My emotional pain was locked underneath all of the physical injuries and traumas that my body had endured. I was in a constant trauma state and so physical healing was not occurring. My body was in a serious crisis.  I had also become intolerant to a lot of things in the world around me. The pain and inflammation in my body was being exacerbated  from my reactions to the food I was eating, the environment around me, and the energies of others that were constantly bombarding me. I had very little filter or boundaries to the world around me. I did not understand yet that I had the power to say no to what entered into my space.

I completely changed my diet, no gluten, dairy, corn, soy or nightshades for a couple of years. I still mostly eat like this today but not as strict as I once was. I did many alternative therapies to bring my body back into balance emotionally, energetically, and physically. I just kept trying one thing after the other, inching closer and closer to wholeness. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I had thought that I had jumped off the cliff into a deep dark abyss that I would never come back from! There were times when it took a month to get myself back from the trembling psychotic state that I felt like I was in. There just was no other option to me other than to just keep going.

Next I began to incorporate yoga into my life. I kept my practice to a gentle meditative form of yoga, and my body cautiously began to open and unravel. Some classes I still pushed myself too hard and I have since learned how to find that place of stillness in each posture, and not push myself into pain which was one of my patterns. A few years ago my body was feeling better so I wanted to start working out again and building back up my strength and endurance. I found again that I had to stop. I discovered that when my heart rate would be elevated, the next day I would feel like I had been run over by a bus even though I was very careful and gentle. I would feel so stiff, sore and utterly fatigued. I had hardly done anything! The emotions of frustration, depression, and worthlessness would appear as well. My mood would plummet. My nervous system interpreted all sensations as danger! I would sometimes feel like I had reverted back to a child.

I continued to work with many different type of therapists, and I learned how to be more grounded and present in my body with healthy boundaries. My nervous system began to recognize pleasant, safe healthy stimulation from that which would harm me. I began to feel safer in the world. I unwrapped layer by layer of pain until I got to the core of my trauma symptoms buried deep in my pelvis. A big shift occurred and when I tried again to exercise about a year ago, I was ecstatic at the difference I felt. For the first time that I can remember, I felt so energized and alive. My muscles felt awesome and strong. This is what you are supposed to feel like after you exercise, I proclaimed in joy!! I honor and respect where my body is and I know when to stop and what my limits are.  I am still strengthening and repair old injuries. There is such a freedom that comes with movement and I am opening into it at my body’s pace.

In January I also noticed that another shift had occurred in my energy field, and I was no longer living in a post traumatic stress disorder state. I have begun to really feel at home in my body and not as easily attach to the sensations or emotions that I am feeling as being who I am. This brings me to yesterday and something that I have been observing in my body during yoga for the past couple of weeks. I have noticed that my quad muscles are becoming unhappy and if I hold a asana a little too long and I become nauseous for a couple of hours afterwards. It’s like a deep trauma memory stored in the cells is being stirred up as I work to strengthen them, and they are fighting back. On Monday I tried a new class at the gym which was too intense for me at the time. Yesterday I felted the old sensations flood back into me like I had been in the fight of my life. The pain, fatigue, anger, hating my body, why the hell is this happening again?!

It took me the day to work through what my body was speaking to me and I’m still sitting with it, but I woke up this morning in a peaceful place. My body is still sore but that is ok. I had to come to accept that is was needed for me to sleep in the afternoon for an hour, and I didn’t need to feel guilty or weak about it. These sensations I was feeling where not typical for me anymore so I took the time to sit down and listen to my body. I stopped judging it, blaming it and found the place in myself again where the week before I held such gratitude and love for my body. I recognized that part of the reason I am so careful and put limits on what I do is because I am still in fear of feeling that physical pain in my body again. I was partially associating that pain to who I was as that was my identity for so long. It was like neon lights flashing from every cell of my being… Pain, pain, pain. I am Pain!

I changed my question to my body from why why why…(because in asking, I was just yelling at it and not waiting for a response anyways) to what do you need from me? I learned a few things that I was not being truthful to myself about. My body needs more water and I need to tweak my diet again as I am showing signs of being too acidic. I acknowledge and understand that I need more rest right now. I have been telling myself that there should be no reason why I don’t have more energy, I need to be doing more, getting on with my life ect. but in reality, these last 4 months have been the first time I have allowed myself to just be. I have been able to release many deeply held tears and have been riding wave after wave of emotions as I make space for what I am going to create next. I am right where I did to be right now. I need to ease up on the demands I have for myself.

I had to bring myself back to remember again in a time of great physical pain, that I am not my pain. I release my grip that I have so tightly held on pain. I am able to move once again in this knowledge.

I drew this card yesterday morning and it was the hardest thing for me to do with how I was feeling;  today I understand.

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What is it about trusting myself that has me feeling disorientated?

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What is it about trusting myself that has me feeling disorientated this week? I have peeled back many layers of distrust as I have opened into feeling safe enough to inhabit my body again. I have trusted the process to get here even when it felt like hell, and I would have preferred in the moment to hide. I have trusted my intuition as it has guided me to the people, places, and experiences that I have needed to heal. I continue to trust it as I take each new step in creating my life. I trust my seen and unseen supports that are always with me. I trust my journey knowing that each choice I make is neither right nor wrong but just a choice that leads me to a new experience, and understanding that if I don’t like it, I have the ability to change it. I have learned to trust that I am safe and I can always remove or defend myself if I am in a situation where I am not. I trust that I have my back and that I have the support and resources that I need at all times.

And Yet…..

I witness that there is a newness as I have learned to trust my feelings, my gut sense, and heart felt knowing. I have learned to differentiate, trust, and allow the sensations of pleasure. To my nervous system, there was no difference between pleasure and pain, all sensations registered the same. They invoked fear, panic and there was a time that I would even dissociate. Also at a young age, I discovered that I could  help people feel better when I held their pain and suffering. I formed the belief that this was my responsibility. As I result, I walked through the world with no boundaries taking in the hurt around me as my own. I could not trust what I was feeling as I did not know what my emotions were or who I was. It got to the point where I felt like I was going to loose my mind and I did not leave the house much. Letting go of this belief and recognizing that I am only responsible for my own healing has allowed so much more space within me, the ability to see and feel who I truly am, and trust it.

I took me a long time before I could say the words, “I trust myself”. It took more time before I believed these words and longer yet, to be able to feel this in my body. As I have begun to allow myself pleasurable experiences, I have accessed a new part of myself which has not fully integrated yet. I am now able to experience sensations and emotions with a new perspective. My brain registers that these are safe pleasant feelings and sensations, and my body now trusts that this is also true.  As I began to re-frame my beliefs around trusting myself and what I felt, confusion set in. At first I thought that I still must not able to trust what I felt, but I was shown many examples over this last year where this was untrue. I was trusting what I sensed with my body (but perhaps maybe only at the skin barrier).  I was growing frustrated trying to understand what it was about trusting myself that I was not understanding.

Ah ha…

I trusted what I felt, but I did not trust it wholeheartedly with my body. I recognized that I needed to embody the sensations, emotions, and trust of what I experienced. Trusting with not just with my head, a gut sense, my knowing, but to feel this with my whole body, incorporating all parts. Giving permission to my body to trust, choosing to continue to let the sensations in, recognizing these as positive experiences. This feels disorientating as it integrates, but I am now able to feel this new trust in myself as it soaks through my skin to settle into my bones. Its new, its uncomfortable, and I rest back opening deeper into it.

I TRUST MYSELF…. these words today have a much deeper meaning as I peel back another layer, widening my perceptual lens and allowing this integration. I shake and I soothe as the process unfolds.

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Healing does not always come in the manner that I expect

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Healing does not always come in the manner that I expect, but it always comes in the form that I need. Once again, I was shown this as an experience was presented to me. My initial response had me caught up in the sensations of trauma and my view to what was happening narrowed. My world became distorted and I felt the pain of past events rise up and take over my reactions. This had me sink into a layer of great disappointment. I was disappointed in myself and with the experience of pleasure that I was wanting to have, as it did not present as I was expecting it to. I was holding attachment to an outcome and how I thought it would look like, and feel like. I was still trying to control my healing, instead of allowing it to occur. It was my perception of the event that I first interrupted as being so unpleasant. I was fixated on the old patterns and behaviors I exhibited and what I had “done wrong”.

As I stood back and became open again to a new perspective, I became aware of the new choices I had made, and what I had done differently. I was able to understand a deep seated belief that I had about myself, as it was brought up for healing through this experience. This belief that I was harboring was hindering me from having the pleasant experiences I was yearning for. It order for me to move deeper into the healing that I have been doing, this experience showed me what was holding it back. It taught me many valuable lessons once I understood it for what it was, just an experience. Also, in letting go of taking the situation personally the emotions that arose began to fall away and the belief of being traumatized all over again, dropped away.

How we look at a circumstance, an event, even people, and choose to feel about it is truly in our perception. I am amazed at the difference I felt once I changed my perspective. I was open to looking at it differently and everything shifted. I even briefly started to complain about why I had to go through such hard lessons ect., but then once again understanding, that I was making them hard through how I was perceiving them. I saw two completely different views to the same event and I chose to re frame my experience and so the healing continues, and I continue to grow.

INTEGRATING THE NEWNESS OF CHANGE

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Lately I have found myself feeling a bit speechless. The words have not been coming to me and my writing has stopped. Over the last few years the words, feelings, and tears have spilled out onto the pages. They  brought me much healing, understanding, encouragement, and strength. I have opened, grown and found the support within myself from them to make the changes I needed in my life. These words have soaked through my skin and settled into my bones. They have reminded me of who I am, motivating and encouraging me to keep my eyes up and moving towards that which nourishes me.

Recently, I have needed to go through a period of integrating and soothing as I journey through this experience of change and transformation. I have felt a great sense of loss and grief as I let go of the familiarity, comfort, and security of the things, people, and identity of who I believed myself to be. I also hold excitement of the freedom as I learn and witness that I am enough, and that what I have been searching for has been within me all along. I am my support, unconditional love, comfort and strength. Acceptance of who I am brings me into stillness. My thoughts, beliefs, perceptions create my life. I CREATE MY LIFE!! So now I sit with the questions of what do I want, where do I want to go and how can I support others on their journey?

I also experience the feeling of guilt over the excitement I feel to be moving on with my life.  There is a part of me that believed that this was not an acceptable response and that happiness is not allowed.That critical, self-sabotaging ego that was battering me!! I have also become aware of that small child part that believed she was responsible for holding others pain. I acknowledge all of these emotions, holding them all together and allowing each their expression. I allow their energy to rise up within me and wash back out like a gentle wave. I feel the fluidity and strive to sway like seaweed while connecting, rooting into the earth, and opening to the energy and support of the heavens above.

I breathe, I move, I write, and I make conscious choices to things which will nourish and support me. I remind myself to rest back, to feel into the ease, to move through my experiences from that place of stillness within me where all my answers, support, and knowing lie. That place where the essence of who I am radiates out from. From here, experiences I encounter and the emotions that arise do not become overwhelming. I can see more clearly, my perceptions do not get skewed, and I learn to not take things personally. This has been very freeing and healing for me. I remind myself constantly and consistently to make these choices. Day by day, moment to moment, one by one, I change these old patterns and beliefs.

I ground and fill, keeping myself in an energy rich state and so therefore I am stable, my strength unwavering.