I had an interesting experience not too long ago. My friend is shooting a music video and asked me if I wanted to be in it. I said yes, of course. Different natural phenomena occur to the woman (myself) in the video such as floating or walking on water. Now it’s the end of November in Canada when we’re filming this, and I’m apparently going to be walking on water. Here’s a shot from our day.
Photo by Shannon Harke
We headed down to the lake, and while it was a sunny day, I assure you it was certainly not a warm one. There were three of us who had to wade into the water, and I stayed in the longest. My feet went numb from the cold, and overall it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I slipped around on the slimy rocks as I came out, toweled off, put my shoes back on, and that was that.
Until I got home.
When I got changed out of my wet clothes and began to thaw out at home, I noticed a cut on my foot. Then I realized there was a dark bruise forming around it. I saw another handful of bruises scattered across my foot. A huge lump on the outer arch. Swelling around the metatarsals. I didn’t understand how this had happened; I hadn’t felt any of it.
I doctored myself up as best I could with bandages and arnica salve, but I was limped around for days afterward. In fact, that cut only just recently finished healing, and I’ve got a scar as evidence. This demonstrated to me the importance of pain.
Pain is a protective signal.
It tells us to stop or slow down. It causes us to become present, more aware of our circumstance, and search for a solution. I lost the ability to receive that signal when my feet when numb, and it cost me. If I had known that I was bashing up my feet, I would’ve stopped. I would’ve at least been a lot more careful in my steps. I could have asked for help. This is true for physical pain, such as my feet, but it also applies to emotional pain. We typically live our lives actively avoiding pain of any kind. When it does occur, and it will, it’s helpful to have a mindset which acknowledges the practical job pain fulfills.When pain wells up, emotionally or physically, allow it to guide your actions with intention. Click To Tweet
When the hurt wells up, emotionally or physically, allow it to guide your actions with intention. Here’s how it can work to your benefit.
1. Stop what you’re doing and focus on the present with an open awareness of your situation.
2. Take steps to improve the situation.
-ask for help from friends, family, coworkers, mentors, or a professional
-learn from someone else’s experience
-alter what you’re doing
3. If the situation is out of your control or cannot change at present, implement healthy coping strategies.
4. Healing takes time, so be patient and compassionate with yourself.
Pain is difficult and unpleasant; that’s why we avoid it. The importance of pain, however, is that it serves a functional purpose for us. I briefly experienced what it was like to have no pain, and I was in no better of a situation. Pain alerts us to an issue and encourages action to solve it. Use the above steps to allow pain to work to your benefit.
What insights or changes have you experienced because of pain?
Also, I’m going to be broadcasting again on Periscope today – January 19th at 5 pm PST! I will be going through and demonstrating how to make my natural yoga mat cleaner. Find me by searching Heartful Habits. If you can’t make it for the live stream, the video will be available for 24 hours afterwards. I hope to see you on Periscope!