Today my focus is on the difference between pain and discomfort. In yoga, most instructors will remind you that discomfort is a place to grow, pain is a place to stop. When we experience true pain, our bodies are telling us something needs to change. Discomfort, on the other hand, provides opportunities for us to become stronger as we explore this space. I have probably heard this at least a hundred times, but only this weekend has it started to make sense.
About two months ago I embarked on a journey to heal myself naturally. There is nothing horribly wrong with me, just a “condition” that results in what I have always considered to be reoccurring pain. The only thing doctors could offer me were pain killers, so, as soon as the discomfort began, I would medicate as not to disrupt my normal routines and to save myself from what I considered to be suffering.
What I discovered as I began my natural treatment was that true healing is hard work. I now understand why many people give up on natural remedies as the healing takes weeks, months, maybe even years of consistent effort. In addition to changing my diet, taking various flower essences, and drinking herbal teas, I have had to spend 30+ minutes a day, most days of the week, applying castor oil packs. Setting aside this time has been hard work. It has also been an extreme blessing because it has forced me to slow down my busy evenings.
Fast forward to today. As the familiar discomfort set into my body, I braced myself for pain. Last time, I refused pain killers, intent to fully feel what it was like before doing all the hard work to heal myself. This time, it is already different. I am uncomfortable, yes, but so far I have not experienced any real pain. Even if I soon eat my words, I will feel like I have made progress because I have created a space to grow within the discomfort. I have also come to recognize the difference between discomfort and pain, an amazingly powerful distinction in the mind.
I leave you with a Sunday Song about pain. Maybe not exactly the same kind of pain I wrote about, but a powerful song and a challenge presented by a family member to include in today’s blog entry. Ironically, it rather fits even though I forgot about the challenge until the end of this post. Love it when everything comes together, even imperfectly.