What Pain Will Do

Pain will make you unable to think.
Unable to create.
It will slow your momentum.
Make you feel frail.
Make everything, from getting out of bed to tying your shoes, harder.
Shrink your world to a tiny fraction of what it was.
It will exhaust you.
It will make it harder to fall asleep.
And harder to stay asleep.
Make you more dependent on others than you’d prefer to be.
It will overwhelm you.
Freak you out.
Slow you down.
Make everything take longer.
It will make you tense up, inside and out.
It will weigh you down.
It can make you tune in.
Listen in.
It can get you to tend to your mind and all that arises there.
It can improve your patience.
And your appreciation.
Of going faster (or even just ‘normal’ speed).
Of small wins.
Of how good the moments when things don’t hurt feel.
Of how precious those moments, and each moment, is because it could all change again.
It can make you take stock of your Life.
It can teach you.
About your particular painful sensation.
About what you could try differently next time.
About what you can do right now to help your situation.
About how you handle challenge.
It can make you resourceful.
It can build your compassion.
For yourself.
For others.
It can inspire you, motivate you, and remind you of your human-ness.

Pain will bring you a lot. Not all of it is going to be pleasant. The objective, to me, is not to turn the unpleasantness into a positive, but rather to fully face it, embrace it, and allow it to exist. To be crude about it, you’re allowing yourself to feel the ‘screw this’ nature of it all. Cry it out! Be angry! Feel the unfairness of it all!

It is only then that there begins to be enough room for the full experience of the painful sensation to emerge. In a nod to Dr. Les Femi, father of open focus meditation, the pain can then go from being your entire existence to being one thing amongst many things in your existence.

Pain sucks. It’s why I teach you how to avoid it as often as you can. But for the times you can’t avoid it, for the times it showed up uninvited and overstays its’ welcome, it pays to learn how to work with it. To make the situation as advantageous for you, your mind, your body, and your life, as you can. They say “live to fight another day”, but I say “live to live another day.”

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