Yesterday I had a “tune up” at the chiropractor. I haven’t gone since September and that’s a good thing for me. I had chronic debilitating pain for years and would be going to chiropractors and massage therapists and acupuncturists ALL the time. This is the longest I’ve been because I’ve been pain free! Anyway, I went because I’ve had some numbness in my one foot and I could feel a short muscle in my back/pelvis area that would be like a sticking point that would give me a sharp pain if I moved a certain way. I figured something is a little out of whack and maybe pressing on something to hurt and cause numbness. I went and my pelvis/sacrum were indeed in a way that was shortening my right leg a bit. My chiropractor (Leita Hancock) said that overall I wasn’t needing very many adjustments and was so happy that all the yoga, stretching and strengthening work I’m doing is helping to keep me from her office. (I am happy for that, too.) She ended the adjustment with a deep massage and I left feeling quite good.
In the evening, I noticed that I was feeling a release of some kind. My pelvis and sacrum were doing something. I can’t quite put it into words. It was kind of like a small spasm – it was more annoying than truly painful. Leita told me to keep my body moving so it wouldn’t get stuck. I noticed that when I felt the worst yesterday it was when I was sitting. So I did what she said and I kept moving my hips: I got on all fours and did the cat/ cow pose from yoga and it brought tears to my eyes. My pelvis/sacrum area was shaking a little bit, like the muscles were tired. I remember this pain. My body remembers this pain. The tears lasted only seconds. It was not at all like years past, thank goodness. I told my body that it was ok to feel this and it was ok to feel good, too. I told my body that it was safe and that it didn’t have to hold onto this pain and discomfort. I sat with it like it was an old, old friend. (In truth, it is an old friend.)
I have years of experience with pain in my body now and I can get to a place of being mindful in it. In a way there is a meditative quality about it. I can feel a bit like I did while in labor: breathing into the pain and being with it and then watching is dissolve until (and if) the sensation comes back. It’s weird to say but there is a sensation of really being in one’s body when there is pain. How can we not be?
Yesterday’s pain was not extreme by any sense and so I was really able to move in my body in a very pleasant way despite the annoyance of what I was feeling. It is true that there is sometimes little difference between pleasure and pain. I guess I can say that I welcomed it as an old friend knowing that it wouldn’t be here long and it made the experience much more tolerable. I think this is an example of the “radical acceptance” that Tara Brach writes about in her book.
My mom used to say, “This too shall pass.” I would amend that to say that “This too shall pass, so accept it and love it like an old friend.” This goes for the “good” stuff as well as the “bad” stuff… for physical pain, emotional pain and pleasure, too. I do personally think that emotional pain is harder to deal with than physical, but all pain is difficult to deal with at times. With regards to pleasure, there’s a desire to hold onto it for as long as we can.. but this too also passes… 🙂