I invited a friend over to my place yesterday.
The homebody-recluse that I am, I rarely invite people over, although I yearn to host guests more often. Instead I get worried about the consequences of people judging my space, and I close down. This time though, instead of refusing the visit, I chose to suspend my discomfort and do my “work”.
This morning I processed it. I asked myself what was stimulating my nervousness about him seeing my place. The answer that surfaced was, “I want him to like it.” I asked myself, “if I got that, what would it get me?” The response I heard was, “if he likes the place, it’ll mean he will still like me.” I again asked myself, “if I got that, what would it get me?” What emerged was, “if he likes me I might have a possible life partner.” Again I asked, “if I get that, what would it get me?” What emerged is, “possibility for home….stability, security, peace…joy.”
As I connected to this core, underlying yearning, this root desire for stability, security, peace and joy, I noticed muscles in my body relaxing. As I exhaled more of the tension, and rooted myself to the fundamental beauty of stability, security, peace and joy, I felt softer and softer. More and more, I shifted to a state of clarity, equanimity, and ease, absolutely free of tension.
My experience this morning got me thinking about the process I live for “Powerfully Processing Pain” – and the freedom and benefit it’s brought me.
And then I got excited about sharing it with you.
- Would you like fewer arguments and more power with others?
- Would you like to finally live a life with full choice and freedom?
- Would you like better, more sustained and more fulfilling relationships?
When we cultivate habits of Powerful Pain Processing, we cultivate the capacity to thrive and to find the freedom and fulfillment beyond our wildest dreams.
Our culture doesn’t teach this core skill, the skill of how to powerfully deal with pain.
No matter what, pain happens. How do we live with it in a way that is most likely to open us and the world around us into greater ease and fulfillment?
For the sake of simplifying the conversation, let’s say that as human beings, there are generally four ways that we tend to respond to pain:
– We can close down around our pain, trying to protect ourselves from it. Ex: I don’t want to be hurt so I will write off the opposite sex. Ex: I don’t want to risk hurting myself to I will never ski again. Ex: I don’t want to stir him/her up, and if I talk about that it’ll blow up, so I won’t talk about that with him/her.
Especially right after a painful experience, this ‘withdrawal’ tactic can give us a short-term shielding to give us time to heal. Long-term, however, this tactice closes down our life energy and limits possibility, reducing our choice in the world. Less choice = less freedom.
– We can recycle our pain – resort to blame, wrong-making, labelling, “shoulds” and “have to”s to close others down to prevent our pain. Ex: I’m a jealous spouse, when I see my partner talking to people of the opposite sex. I won’t do my work about my pain, instead I’ll tell my spouse that they “shouldn’t” act that way and that they “have to” stop. I’ll tell them what they are doing is “wrong” and “bad” for our partnership. Ultimately though, all of my attempts are so that I don’t have to hurt or feel pain. What I may or may not realize, though, is that I’m demanding my my partner close down his or her life energy to suit me. Ex: I broke my leg skiing because of those “bad” snowboarders who “shouldn’t” be in the way. It’s “wrong” to allow snowboarders in normal ski trails. The owners “should” pass rules to ban snowboarders so that people don’t get hurt. What I may or may not realize though, is that I’m attempting to limit someone’s choice and joy in order to accommodate me. Ex: He/she gets stirred up every time I talk about this – what an idiot! Anybody with a little sense would be different. What I may ro may not realize though, is that I’m choosing to close my heart to the humanity of the other being, dropping compassion in favor of me feeling better.
– We can choose not to address it, and let it grow into greater pain. Don’t want to attend to it now? No worries, it’ll get bigger. Don’t want to attend to it later? No worries, it’ll keep getting bigger until it can’t be ignored anymore. Ex: I bite my tongue when my spouse flirts until one day I blow up, or decide I’m fed up and divorce. Ex: I spend years not skiing out of fear of hurting myself. I also do this with other areas of my life, relationships, work, my dreams. Over the years, all of the ways I’ve chosen closure instead of freedom catches up to me. I feel disgusted with myself and how limited my life is. I have lots of stories about why I can’t do the things I most yearn to do with my life. I wind up diagnosed with depression.
– We can work with pain to find a way to metabolize it so that freedom and equanimity emerges rather than closure or more pain. Ex: I want to talk about this, but I’m afraid my partner will get all stirred up about it. Why does this scare me? Because I want peace between us. What would that get me? Hope that our relationship will stay in tact. What would that get me? Security in my home. What would that get me? Peace of mind and joy. Now that I realize my core desire is for peace of mind and joy, I can exhale the tension and fear I was feeling, and root myself in the beauty of my deepest yearning. Connected to this root yearning (this desire for peace of mind and joy), I can 1.) Find 10K strategies to bring me peace of mind and joy without fear of expressing myself. 2.) I can release the frustration around the thing that orginally irritated me, so that I find peace despite it, rather than only finding peace by changing it / solving it. 3.) I can connect to the deepest truth of who I Am, realizing my conscious connection to Infinite Source. Here I discover I have no discomfort to begin with about this. From my connection to Source I find freedom and equanimity.
From this equanimity we can act, or not act. From this released state of peace we can express our concern and our desires, or not. We can find other strategies for our desires, or not.
In any case, we are at choice.
The freedom of choice is far more powerful than the limitations of fear and closure.
Working with pain powerfully requires a few foundational skills:
a.) the ability to translate our experience to the underlying yearning and needs that are often unconscious within us
b.) the ability to recognize shift in our physical body and shift in our emotional body, so that we can easily see when our work is powerful or not powerful
c.) the ability to recognize when we’re doing closure, contraction, fear, insecurity, or worry – and a desire to work with those moments (either instantly or after-the-fact) as opportunities to increase our freedom and peace of mind.
Living with this as a life practice eliminates huge amounts of stress from my life, and brings me huge results in terms of finding peace of mind where it didn’t exist before.
And people say I look younger, too. 😉
If you’d like to cultivate greater skill in Powerfully Processing Pain, you can email me at gail at integratedcoaches dot com, or call me for a free consultation. 914.882.9667.
For the record, he said my place is nice. Not that it matters – ironically I no longer feel concerned about his opinion about my space. Isn’t it funny how, in the Infinite Greatness that we most deeply Are, personality / ego still emerges?
Me, I love practicing mastery both in cultivating my connection to Source and cultivating mastery in attending to the personality phenomena that arises.
Join me there?