Monday, July 28, 2014

Ode to pain

It may be that in order for me to write a book, I may have to shun happiness.  I always write and create more when I am in some kind of pain.  But let's assume that won't be necessary and my book will have an utterly happy ending and so will I! 
Creativity often stems from pain.  Many famous writers and artists were in pain most of the time.  I created my best choreography when my life was painful.  

When I had both of my babies, I had extreme pain.  Duh.  That's part of childbirth since the beginning of time.  The ultimate creative process is painful. 
But that's not entirely my point.  

So...when I had my first child I received an epidural.  It took several attempts to get the damn thing placed and that process of trying to receive relief was excruciating.  I had an awful nurse for that birth...another story.  And to receive the giant needle in the spine I had to curl up and contract my knees into my chest.  Yeah...you try that when you have a giant baby belly!

Well something else is necessary for them to place the needle- you must be having a contraction. It's kind of barbaric actually but again, that's another blog altogether.  I believe the notion is you'll be distracted from the enormous needle in your back if you're focused on the horrible contraction you're having. 

But something...Um...interesting...happens when you curl up in a ball when your giant uterus is contracting.   It hurts A LOT more.  Like...a lotttttt more.  It's pretty awful. I had to endure that 5 or so times to get my epidural in place.  

I offer this story for a reason here. I was listening to someone deliver some wisdom about life and experiencing pain. Here is the gist of it:

Pain is like a wave. Or let's call it a very very strong wind blowing toward you. You can let the wave or the wind take you and you will get tossed around.  Or you can lean into it and let it roll over you and it will pass.  Emotions are like water.  They are meant to flow.  But when we feel one coming we often grab onto it and assign it a story and a job and try to attach meaning to it and rationalize it.  It's truly not meant to be rationalized.  It's meant to be felt.  

The suggestion was that we open ourselves to the pain and let it roll over us.  He actually said that when he feels an emotion coming, he physically opens his arms and arches his back, opening his chest to the sky in such as way as to offer it up.  Visually you can see how this has almost an aerodynamic aesthetic.  He claims that when he does this the pain leaves him quickly. (Sometimes if will return.  It's not necessarily a one hit wonder). The challenge is that this is completely contrary to our instinct. What is your animal instintive reaction to pain? To protect the heart and belly and curl up...in a ball...in the fetal position.  Which brings my visuals full circle.  
Instead of curling up around the pain, we challenge ourselves to just feel it.  That way it passes. It flows.  We don't get tumbled  around by it.  We don't hang onto it.  We just let it blow past.  

Will it still hurt? Hell yes.  

Will it be less horrible than the alternative? Hell yes.  

Don't grab on to it. Let it flow.  

This is me opening my chest to the sky...

And I AM ok.  :)