When To Keep Your Hand On A Hot Stove

B -beauty If you are committed to personal growth, I want you to stop what you are doing for one minute. I want to invite you to check in with yourself about something: Where is your pain?  And are you finally ready to turn toward it, welcome it, feel it, and release it?

I'm talking about that old stuff. That stuff you don't talk to anyone about. That thing your cousin did to you. That decision you made about yourself -- that you must not be very good -- since your parents were so angry all the time. Maybe deep down, quietly, you feel disgusting.

Whatever it is, it's that thing you've been hoping for years, for decades, will just go away on its own if you just wait it out a little longer. If you just find a more effective way of ignoring it.  If you just fix a few more things about yourself.

Connecting to pain might not have been high on your priority list. After all, emotional injury/trauma that has been packed away for years tends to be vaguely, if at all, present in our day-to-day consciousness. It doesn't grab our attention like a crisis does. It's more like background noise that we can effectively tune out-- most of the time.

It might not look like much is happening to the casual observer, but a tremendous amount of energy is required to keep an unprocessed core wound at arms length. Your whole being is organized to keep you away from touching this pain. It was a brilliant survival adaptation, but you no longer need to maintain this stagnant energetic holding pattern.

Your good, good body wants to keep you feeling safe. It will pull you away from harm reflexively. It doesn't know that some discomfort is purposeful; that healing and transformation sometimes requires us to encounter darkness.

What your body doesn't know is that something very curious happens with an old wound: it becomes possible to move skillfully into the pain in a way that heals, not harms. What was once poison to you is now a vital nutrient to be rediscovered and reabsorbed. After all, the "pain" we are speaking of is really a dark, sparkling expression of an authentic part of you. It's been hanging around so long because it craves expression; it insists on it.

Instead of asking you how efficient you can get at "settling" for your internal arrangement, I want to ask you how freely, how wildly, you want to live? Think of all that will be possible when you resolve and integrate your past: You will be lighter.  You will soar so much higher. You will feel more authentically connected to yourself and the world around you. You will stop hurting in that private way that only you know about.

You must be willing to go to where grief is frozen in you and allow yourself to thaw. Your body will want to pull away. Your work, your practice, is to find a way to stay. You don't have to do it on your own. Do it with your therapist. Do it with your bodyworker. Let your time on the yoga mat support and grow your "staying" power. You can do this.

It is counter-intuitive to move toward pain, but to know ourselves more deeply this is exactly what we must do.

Photo credit: Creative Commons License M Yashna via Compfight

I would love to hear from you. What helps you to stay in your feelings when things get hot?