Prana and Dealing with Pain

This is a re-blog of a personal story about dealing with some physical pain while I was at Kripalu. For those of you who live with chronic pain, I hope you will be inspired by this.keep calm breathe and ouch

I have a deformity of my low back, which was exacerbated in a skiing accident in the 1990’s. The bottom line is that I have to be really careful not to jolt it, do quick movements or backbends that could bring about spasms or make the condition worse.

So, going to Kripalu a few years ago, I made sure I had strong antispasmodics if my back went into spasm. I didn’t want to be incapacitated for yoga teacher training!

I was alert and prepared. I was also pretty tense about it.

The first two days I was being so careful; avoiding certain poses and making my own adjustments. I feel good about taking care …  “of this darn back of mine that is preventing me from having as much fun as everyone else!”

Then I experienced a sharp pain in my left knee. With all the sitting I wasn’t surprised, and I needed to give it attention.

pranayamaWe were doing pranayama and meditation practice, and what I was learning was to breathe deeply, adjust my body, and  let the prana or life force flow into the area that  hurt.

The idea is to allow the channels to be open so that the body’s natural healing can work. There are different breathing techniques to activate and move the prana energy.

The next day my knee stopped hurting. But there was a shooting pain in my ankle.

So I adjusted my position and breathed deeply letting the prana flow there.

The next morning, there was no pain.

What about my back? I had forgotten about it. It should have been aching after six days of sitting but it was doing okay.

In fact, I felt wonderful. No pain anywhere.

The lesson I want to share with you is:

Notice it.

Let it relax.

Give it space.

Breathe into it.

Let it be.

What I now understand is that this can work for all pain – whether its physical or emotional.

Our body has a way to deal with hurt and brings its own ability to heal when we recognize it, and are kind towards it.

I’ll still take the meds and apply heat  when needed …. but I’ve learned a valuable lesson about living from my Middle Ground.

I am so grateful.

Namaste.

* Allow this Moment to Be

Can you simply relax and allow this moment to be? 

Can you let go of evaluation and judgment, and simply accept that this is what is happening?

peace in darkness

“Between Darkness and Light ” by Pure Poison 89

Remember it is only our resistance to the present moment that causes us to feel any pain.

Acceptance creates the inner freedom and inner peace that we are all yearning for.

So take a deep breath… and then another.
Relax.
Be easy on yourself and others.

Instead of wishing things to be different, focus on expressing the love that is within you.

Get out of your head and open your heart.

Namaste

* Struggling to be Happy

rainbows and bluebird
How can we be happy when we are struggling?

.. When we are in emotional turmoil and pain?
.. When our thinking and our body feel burdened and heavy?
.. When we withdraw from others and the world because we hurt inside?

We can’t…

If we think we can turn on happiness like flicking a switch…
If we expect someone to come and rescue us…
If we think things will be better – if only…
Then we have joined the storybook world of fairy tales, rainbows and bluebirds of happiness.

Yet most of us do it all time. Its part of being human and our ego’s way of dealing with pain. Our ego is the survivor and protector part of us. It would much rather escape into wishful thinking than have to face being vulnerable or feeling more hurt.

No wonder Walt Disney is so popular with grown ups!

So we focus on all the things we wish could be different. We wish this suffering would go away. We dream about how things might be or could have been.
And in doing so, we deny this moment and create more stories to keep us exactly where we are – still wishing for happiness.

The only moment for living is now. And now is the time for accepting what is alive in us … and to start to take small steps towards being happy.

The first step is to accept what we are feeling. By acknowledging and accepting that negative feelings are a part of life … and its okay to have them … we allow ourselves to begin the unburdening and the healing. The more we resist these uncomfortable feelings, the more resistance and tension builds up within us – mentally, emotionally and physically. Until it is released and healed, we will find ourselves getting caught up in cycles of inner struggle and the world of Disney, and we become physically weak and ill.

pause

Sit comfortably. Take a few moments to breathe fully and connect with the sensations in your body…. What is alive in your right now? Your thoughts? … Your feelings? 

Give these feelings… thoughts… and sensations…  space.

Notice where there is tension or contraction.

This is resistance to what is.

Breathe into it.

Allow it to soften and expand.

Give it space.

Embrace it.

It is real.

It is you.

Do not reject it.

This is a precious part of who you are.

There is nothing wrong with it.

Give yourself tender care for this vulnerable part of you.

woman alone

Ask – what does this part of me yearn for? … attention … recognition … understanding … acceptance … tenderness … love 

Let it show you what it needs.

That feeling is deep within you.

Connect to this living energy and embrace it all.

Trust that in doing so you allow the loving energy to flow and release whatever is ready to be let go of.

Wishful thinking and waiting for rainbows and bluebirds may make us feel better for a while … but our body and soul know that it is fleeting.

If you are experiencing one of life’s lows, perhaps it is time to reconnect to your very being and really feel all of the aliveness within you, instead of rejecting it and wishing it would go away.

Acceptance opens up real steps towards happiness.

Namaste

* Dealing with Stress and my Inner Teenager

waves of lifeOn Tuesday I had a stressful day. A dip in the highs and lows of life day. It wasn’t surprising. I had some concerning news that took the wind out of my sails, and I developed a pressure cooker of a sinus headache. I was in a trough. I know how my mind and body are connected. My body tells me quite clearly when I have to pay attention to what is happening around me and what I am feeling. The message is clear –  take care of my well being. Pause. Connect to my Self.

In hindsight it is easy to catch, but at the time it may take a bit longer to realize that we are under stress. In this particular occasion it became very clear as I went through emails and started to read updates from fellow bloggers. As I painfully squinted at the screen. I was no longer present, but my inner judge was! “What do they want? … Why bother me with this?… How stupid! How superficial!… They are so self centered!… Don’t they get it?… This is trivial! Who has time for frivolity? Pl-ease get to the point.”

My thinking revealed that Val was not present or in balance. My defensive inner teenager had been Teenage bratunleashed.

Everyone was dumb. They didn’t get it. They didn’t see how much pain I was in. They took advantage of me. They tried to control me. All the unmet needs from the past were right there demanding attention.

Our inner teenager  is challenging and requires some kindness and understanding. Its in pain – emotionally and often physically. It has so many unmet needs and is trying to figure out how to get them met as they move from childhood into independence.  It is our ego at the height of all of its immature defensive glory.

One part of me was determined to be miserable and show the world (?) that I had every right to be. Thankfully the part of me who has learned to be a compassionate observer knew that it was time to unplug. NOW!

You are stressed. Take care of yourself  and find your middle ground. Be gentle and kind. Let things be as they are.

Stones surrounded by rushing waterIt was easier after I had taken half a Sinutab and put on my favorite restorative yoga music. I embraced everything that was coming up. I noticed resistance. I breathed and didn’t push. I found my middle ground and was able to stay there. Healing tears fell softly. I meditated and lost track of time. My husband came and went and let me be. He knows better than me sometimes ❤

I began to feel better and went to watch tv to distract myself … and found I had no appetite for it at all. ZERO. I wanted to stay in solitude. I journaled instead.

The old habits of distractions, shopping, cleaning, entertainment, drinking and eating had lost their pull in that moment. By being fully present and knowing how to ride the wave and find my middle ground helped me center myself.

So I honored the request to be alone and put my teenager to bed early. I woke up as a headache free and stress free adult once more. Ready to approach the day with a sense of curiosity.

Thank you to the makers of Sinutab, yoga and meditation, journaling, my husband and friends who support and nourish me, and to those of you who read this today!

May we all find our middle ground in the waves of life.

❤ Namaste ❤

 

* Accept the Seasons of Your Heart

Here is some more powerful and inspiring wisdom from the heart of Kahlil Gibran in “The Prophet”. This moved me deeply and draws me back again and again. Val x

breaking the shell

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Just as the stone of the fruit must break, so that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And if you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.

woman with heart glowing

If you accept the seasons of your heart, as you have always accepted the four seasons, you would watch with serenity the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

healing the self

Therefore, trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen.”

 

Every time I read this it brings me into the present moment… no matter where I am in the highs and lows of life.

May we all embrace the seasons of our heart and the love that is always there.

Namaste