I suspect that everyone is familiar with unpleasant bodily experience. Sometimes a fellow doesn’t even need to get out of bed in the morning to begin to study pain in its natural habitat—pain is endemic to living in a body. But despite our preconceptions, pain is not (necessarily) bad. We might even say that it is useful under many circumstances. Pain is integral to our organism’s method of self-preservation—it serves as the instantaneous impetus to remove one’s hand from a hot stove, lest the infernal appliance consume one’s entire appendage in its fiery rampage. This is ridiciculous, obviousy, but it’s ridiculous precisely because we know that pain will always intrude & heroically deliver us from the demonic kitchen-burner. We ought truly to be thankful that we’re suffering cause otherwise we’d probably be dead.
Appreciating this fact & embracing the slight shift in perspective that it offers is extremely useful as an initial step towards understanding how to interact with pain and ultimately develop the most useful orientation towards it. A healthy relationship with pain supports a flourishing life.
To reiterate, pain is usually useful. It is perhaps the body’s most potent channel of communication with Ahab up in the attic (brains are also useful, and they can tend towards downright tyranny). So to conclude this first piece of a three-part series, some advice, since that’s what everyone wants to hear 😉 …every time throughout the day that you feel discomfort in your body, appreciate its utility. Rather than viewing it as a problem, turn towards the sensation and say, “thank you for the information.” And then if you must, go ahead and keep doing whatever crazy thing that got you into pain in the first place. But make sure to be proactive & schedule a session at The Way of the Elbow first since that attitude keeps Rolfers & co. in business.