Chronic Pain Brought Me Peace of Mind
When my pain started at age 14, my life got a lot worse before it got better.
I spent years being afraid of my body (What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I get a diagnosis?), feeling frustrated (Why couldn’t it function properly?) and wondering if I’d feel that way forever.
I remember sitting in the passenger seat of my mom’s car, during my freshman year of college, at a complete loss:
“I don’t know how I’ll find the energy to be in this body for the rest of my life without wanting to end it,” I told her.
My body couldn’t remember what it felt like to not be hurting.
At a certain point, I realized that a life with constant physical pain wasn’t sustainable for my mental health. I shouldn’t be pushing and fighting for comfort all of the time. I should be thriving, and not having to center my activities around how the pain would be affected by everything.
It felt unfair, and I spent a long time feeling sorry for myself. While other teenagers were enjoying their social lives, I was self-isolating. I enjoyed being alone, but it didn’t always feel like a choice. Over time, my anger towards my body grew.
Finding peace in a body that felt like it was at war
My mother introduced yoga to me, which led me to try meditating, as it’s traditionally done at the end of each practice.
Meditation opened up a new world. The stillness I found already existed inside of me, and could be accessed so easily. All I had to do was play a guided meditation on Spotify, lay under the stars, and surrender.
That practice became my sacred space. I could find peace in the midst of extreme pain through connection, instead of escape.
When the body and mind are tense, the natural tendency is to resist and become closed off to connection.
At first this practice was nerve-wracking. My body felt like a threat, and my mind was anxious and depressed. I tried it anyway, and let myself soften into it.
Visualizing the connection to my body
I learned the basics about the body’s energy centers (chakras). Those meditations showed me that I could self-heal by working with my own energy.
The best part was that for the first time, healing wasn’t fear-based. It wasn’t another emotionally draining trip to the doctor’s office or the obligatory ingestion of another painkiller.
It was an exploration of myself.
In a state of deep meditation, I wasn’t rushed or worried about how to heal faster. The healing was embedded in the practice.
My connection to my spirit was fueled by curiosity. By just looking up at the stars, I’d instantly remember how much I really didn’t know about anything. That was a freeing feeling.
Learning, wondering, and practicing new routines stimulated my mind. It created expansion beyond the small world of pain I was living in.
Pain yielded love
With a regular practice of yoga, meditation, and reading, I noticed my perspective shift. In a flow state, my fear about my body turned into curiosity. The more I learned about energy work, the more fascinated I became with physical and emotional healing.
Being curious creates space for new energies to come in, and allows for more ease in releasing old ones.
By integrating a regular practice of meditation, I changed the quality of my whole life. As time went on, I had completely reframed the way I thought about adversity.
I stopped resenting my body and started feeling grateful for what the pain had given me.
It gave me:
A connection to something sacred.
A better understanding of who I am.
An appreciation for anything that has the power to heal— art, holistic treatments, energy work.
Most of all, in the midst of pain, I dove deeper into love. I found that (through A Return to Love, the book that transformed my perspective) love is the source of all things.
Love washes away fear and pain.
Integrating unconditional love into my practice changed my energy whenever I was at rock bottom. It’s what I come back to when the pain is still too much to bear.
It’s a lifelong practice of turning towards love rather than sitting with fear.
Having chronic pain pushed me to search for something deeper. It gave me the drive to find meaning. Consistent practice over time formed a foundation of resilience and a sense of peace with what I couldn’t control.
In my desperation to escape my body, I dove deeper into my mind and found a place that I never wanted to leave.
For more meditations, mindfulness, and chronic pain coping skills, check out the links below:
How to Start Meditating
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