I remember the shock I felt when I first realized there is an emotional component to my pain. I have always been a joyful person. I smile often, and it is the kind of smile I feel deep in my heart. Despite everything I have been through and live with daily, I have always felt fortunate and happy for my life. I knew I had unresolved anger and resentment, that is how I found myself in therapy, but I had no idea that I had been physically storing it in my body for years.
It was several years ago now that my therapist tried to help me resolve my physical pain by dealing with my suppressed emotions. Ironically, her recommendation to me was to write. She believed that through the process of writing, my muscles would begin to let go of everything they had been storing. Unfortunately I did not get very far with her. Maybe I was not ready to hear her and understand then. Maybe the time was not right. But today as I sit here writing about it, I am so much more aware and accepting of where she was trying to guide me.
My muscles are full of emotions I have spent the last 40 years avoiding.
The pain is stored there because that is how I unconsciously chose to process it. I stuffed it deep down inside to avoid facing it, but it doesn’t just disappear, it simply manifests itself into a different kind of pain.
My muscles are inflamed and toxic because I did not have the skills to manage and deal with the crisis in the moment. Who does have the skills? They are not easy to acquire. I still do not have them, but I am working towards it. It may take me the next 40 years, but at least I am now aware.
Healing is not a simple process.
First we must really come to terms with the source of our pain. For the purpose of this post I am focusing on emotional pain, but as we all know there are many other components to our pain (trauma, infection, toxin, etc.) that make this process even more complicated.
So where do we start?
Again, there is no easy answer. Years ago I started in the most logical place, therapy, and yet it turned out not to be my actual starting point. I had years of stagnant suffering after that, waiting for my health to change, but not actively making the changes necessary for my health to improve.
Looking back on it now, I am learning from my time spent in therapy, but it made little difference in my life at the time.
My true starting point in understanding how my emotions have contributed to my pain is this blog. Writing here has allowed me to explore and examine myself in ways I never would have otherwise. It has allowed me to acquire new tools and resources to actively apply to my intention of wellness.
What does that mean?
Well it means I am no longer sitting on my couch with a tub of mashed potatoes, convincing myself that my misery entitles me to eat it. And it means that I am no longer waiting for better health to find me, I am actively seeking it out. And it means I am no longer discouraged by the many set backs, because I understand it took years for this damage to occur in my body, and it will take years for me to correct everything, but each step I take towards healing tips the balance to the path of wellness and a better life.
For me, the tools and resources I have acquired to deal with emotional pain are writing, yoga, and meditation. The combination of the three have given me a greater awareness of the mind-body connection, which I believe is essential for healing our emotional pain.
Yoga and meditation teach you to connect with and examine your body, scanning for places of tension and pain. They teach you to acknowledge and breathe into those places, and not ignore what you are storing there. It has been an amazing process of self-discovery, and both practices often leave me more emotional but less painful.
Writing is where I come to process everything. This is where I put the piece together and try to make sense of them. Without this blog, I am certain I would still be waiting for my health to change.
So how can you take what I have learned and apply it to your own path to wellness?
First, you have to be ready to take your journey. You have to be ready to do the work and the research to find the best tools and resources for you. Then you have to understand that it is a journey of endurance and not be discouraged by the inevitable setbacks. You have to believe that you are worth the effort and that better health is possible.
If you are not there yet, like I wasn’t not that long ago, keep reading, keep researching, don’t give up. Never give up! Better health is possible. Once you believe it is, your journey will begin.