When it hurts so bad



I’ve had a some experiences in the past few weeks that have me thinking a lot about pain, physical, mental, and emotional. My strong warrior solider of a mom is recuperating from an excruciatingly painful back surgery; I also have a few members of the Find the Midline community that have reached out for help from the chaos of transition, and the deep squeeze of emotional pain that that can bring.

Pain often comes in what feels like tidal waves. It comes when we need change, it comes for no reason at all, but when it comes it wakes us up.

Just like your nervous system alerts you when you are too close to the stove, pain resoundingly calls our attention.


In a strange way, there are few moments in life when we are more alive than when we are in the depths of harrowing pain.


Everything in us wants an escape, but the more we resist, the stronger it gets.

Pain Meditation here ...

 Research on pain, (consider this article from Psychology Today) is now confirming that our experience of pain is two fold. The brain first receives a signal of pain, and then begins to try to understand that signal. In exploring the pain, the brain in a way, “amplifies” it. The brain, Daniel Penman writes,  “...sifts through memories for occasions when you have suffered similarly in the past. It is searching for a pattern, some clues, that will lead to a solution.”  This pain processing, researchers call secondary pain. (Penman 2015)

Consider childbirth, widely considered to be extremely painful, yet a growing number of women experience it as pleasurable -ecstatic birth, without the intervention of medications. Consider also the monk Thích Quảng Đức who in 1963 set himself on fire in protest against the Chinese, or the Tibetan monks who not only are capable of withstanding meditation for hours in cold caves but can actually melt that snow with their body temperature (Cromie 2002). 

What research on pain and meditation is coming to understand is that when you stay with your pain, the bottom eventually drops out, and the brain can come to interpret the experience differently.

In his article, Can Mindfulness Meditation Really Reduce Pain and Suffering?, Penman relays that research from clinical trials on Mindfulness meditation shows a 57% reduction in chronic pain, and a 90% reduction in pain for advanced meditators. (Penman, 2015)

I want so badly to help my mama with her pain, and to aid the people in my family as we try to support her in this time. It can be hard to not wish for a magic wand to take away the discomfort we see in others or experience ourselves. The statistics on Mindfulness meditation, however, are really quite optimistic. They make of our pain, a doorway, an entry point into something greater. If we can learn to not shrink, but to meet that which we most want to avoid we take a huge step forward in our journey of self realization. The tidal waves of pain will always come, mindfulness meditation gives us the chance to surf them.      

If you find yourself in contraction- deep pain- whether it is physical mental emotional- when the walls are closing in, try to know that part of what you feel is the experience of your pain itself , and part of what you feel is your brain trying to process your experience.

Click here for a meditation where I help you to enter your pain.

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a series of step by step videos to lay a beautiful foundation for your new house. Learn techniques to relax the hips, protect the lower back, strengthen your core, support your neck, address tight hamstrings and keep your shoulders aligned. 

"The Mind when housed within a healthful body possesses a glorious sense of power." - Joseph Pilates