My Quest for Healing - Demystifying the Healing Process

 

For almost a decade I struggled with upper back nerve pain. I don't know if you've ever been in a situation like this - whether with migranes or hormonal imbalance, extreme digestive issues, or extra weight that just wont come off - where there's something "off" but nobody can figure it out,  so there seems to be no end.

But it you have, you know how helpless it can feel. 

And you also know, if you've been here, that it can be pretty all encompassing and yet you feel like you shouldn't talk about it much. That it effects relationships because you want to shut down, and not be seen as complaining or like there's always something wrong. 

It's easier to try and do life as usual and always remember it could be worse. 

But I was really in trouble.

Some days I couldn't bear the intensity - like fire shooting from inside my ribs down my arm. I wanted to get rid of my arm or even just not exist anymore. Most evenings I cried in despair at not being able to "participate in the world."

My social butterfly nature shifted to being a hermit. If I did go see friends, I had to sneak out early because I just couldn't wait to turn off and go to sleep. The pain was like a limiting factor that I would see how far I could push - just to be a "normal woman in my 20's."

I used all my resources to meet with probably two dozen healers - from a high end osteopathic spine specialist to a shaman. I couldn't live like this anymore and I thought I may have to go on disability! I really wanted a diagnosis so I could know how to fix it! Meanwhile, I was working full-time and building my yoga and meditation business. 

Yoga has been a blessing to me since I entered my adulthood and I'm so thankful to have had a place to go with these practices to let go - and to learn what pain has to show me.

I'd enrolled in advanced yoga therapy training in hopes to learn more specialized tools. I began working closely with my teachers and they highly recommended that I just lay there and breathe. Basically, they let me off the hook! All I really could do for relief was to curl up in a ball and breathe.

And there were times in the healing process where Ayurvedic considerations helped. But - there was just this underlying thing that wouldn't give me a break until I reached a breaking point. I'd fluctuated with giving up mentally or not. I did - I gave up. And then I knew myself to be strong beyond capacity. 

But - there was this weird thing!  Sometimes I could backpack around Asia and Big Sur! I'd still been able to push into strength and I'd realized there were random times when the pain kind of wasn't at the forefront anymore. 

 

 

Then literally one day, I understood that my problem was not just physical or mental. I'd studied psychology and yoga for 13 years, I knew about the body-mind connection, cmon!

But I was in the dark.

My teachers were showing me just how connected my pain was to my deepest fears, anxieties and my nervous system. While you might think I'd be relieved because I'd finally "figured out what's wrong" - I wasn't. I was now aware of all of the resistance and worry inside me - for days.

And then weeks. More soul searching. My beliefs that I uncovered went through questioning.

After that, I did see the parallels between my symptoms and what was truly going on with my fears and insecurities. 

I'd been practicing restorative yoga therapy for releasing spinal tension. I began to notice and coordinate the "flare-ups" with stress. Once during my time at a job that was not a good fit for me and another when my mother was in a coma. My symptoms would be full force during stressful times even if I was doing all the same things. 

I continued my meditation practice and I practiced emotional awareness and self-love. 

Why was it such a deep dark mystery when it came to my pain? I had thought I understood how when we work through emotional symptoms, then the physical resolves. 

Why is it that the thing that helps is also so difficult?

Many emotions I was working with mirrored the things I had so long experienced with physical discomfort - even back to when I struggled with an eating disorder.

Always people-pleasing meant not listening to my body enough. 

My fear of vulnerability meant building up psychological armor. I maintained such a solid shell with my independence and confidence, and that's what people saw - when on the inside I felt squishy and needing of love. 

My resistance towards things I uncovered was s-t-r-o-n-g.

I had begun seeing how my physical symptoms and psychological struggles were so intertwined. 

Can I be honest?

What was really scary was - now I had the power to resolve this! It turns out I was terrified of fully "participating in the world." There was this kind of trapping assumption that I'd either be really successful - which meant less freedom, or I'd be not good enough.

Once I was sitting in my backyard in Northern California, looking at the mountain when I heard my inner critic voice - clearly for the first time. The quality of some of the thoughts and opinions - it was shocking! It was kind of upsetting, until I softened and loved this little inner critic energy that had been there all along - quietly impacting my behaviors and experiences. 

My fears turned out to be keeping me from really getting the healing I'd yearned for. 

So I made some promises

  • I was going to respect myself {the intelligent integration of body - mind - and more} and work from the inside. I was going to let that effect the outside.

  • I committed to celebrate each little win for my healing and growing.

  • I wouldn't let myself get sneaked {by myself} into being so harsh to myself!

I had days with no pain and then some with more. I was releasing from the inside out. Then one day I noticed that I'd made a big shift to where pain-free was starting to be the baseline - I couldn't even believe it! I had seriously given up on that and now it was happening! 

Why am I telling you all of this?

I know I'm not the only one who's felt stuck in some kind of physical ailment, along with it's emotional symptoms. Not to make any kind of comparison to your unique circumstance, but I do know that our inner world reflects our outer world. 

If you're still reading. Thank you. This is a lot!

But if you're like me, considering this might bring you big insights and breakthroughs.

Also, our physical experience often mirrors the emotional experience.

Finally, hang in there! It might be a more zigzag journey than you thought, and then you have some great understanding when you're not expecting it. 

If you're on one of those healing journeys, stay with it! RIGHT NOW you're changing and becoming in ways you don't even know.

Stay committed and you will get deep healing for long term change.

 

With Fierce Love,

Lauren

 

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