Allowing and Disallowing: Finding truth in Pain

Today I am thinking of allowing/disallowing. Things we allow: changes in weather, we adapt. Aging, we adjust to body changes. We allow happiness and pleasant emotions. We allow friendships and gifts. When physical pain begins we disallow. I don’t want this. I don’t want to feel this. I want a pill. I want some brandy. Is this my fault? Why am I experiencing this, I don’t deserve to suffer.

The pattern of disallowing creates tension and increases pain. This is a battle of futility, I lived on the forefront of it while self-shaming, experiencing a lack of creativity, and distorted thinking. While suffering, I felt a door slam shut. The door trapped me in a version of myself that was untrue to who I am. Pain changed my reality and distorted my perceptions. Pain is not who I am. Suffering is not who I am. Pain made incongruent with my own power.

After a shoulder injury, I had to learn new skills to cope, these skills changed my story, and revealed the futility of fighting against pain. I live where the weather reaches twenty below zero. Coldness can trigger pain and tension in my shoulder. When Minnesotans walk in the cold they squeeze their shoulders together as if they can push their way through the cold air. This dysfunctional shoulder movement causes more pain.

Through meditation, I learned to relax my shoulders. I relax my breath to 6 breaths per minute, concentrating on only the sensing of my breath moving in and out. Where there is tension, I breathe relaxation into that shoulder muscle. I practiced this 3 times a day until I became of aware of what makes my shoulder tense, like the cold air or reaching for something. Relaxation and breathing helped me cope with the discomfort that the injury caused, and it helped my awareness of how my shoulder feels in different situations. I can create safety by moderating activity to prevent injury and releasing tension from stress and worry. At first, this took a few minutes, and learning to relax my shoulder at one command is tricky. Now when I feel shoulder pain, I recognize my emotions that are attached to the pain, such as fear of movement or feeling insecure about completing a task. I focus on strength and stability, while releasing tension and emotions as they arise.

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