My Disembodied Body

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. -Khalil Gibran

Remember last week when I wrote out a conversation between “me” and “my hip”? My hip was hurting on a recent run, and before accepting the pain and modifying my activity I disowned a piece of my own body.

I do that kind of thing all the time. My clients do it, my friends, my family, fictional characters in books; so many of us are running around with disembodied body parts.

When/where does that kind of thinking start? I really have no idea. It seems like aversion to pain is a part of the human condition.

Pain is no fun. Absolutely not. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to alleviate pain, both my own and my clients’. I’ve come to see that when I reject my pain, I am rejecting a part of myself.

I realized this in a Focusing session with Marsha late this winter. My right wrist was flared up and I wanted to sit with it for a time. As I Focused, I felt a stone wall separating my right arm for the rest of my body.

I cried when I understood that my aversion to my pain caused me to reject a piece of myself so completely. It hurt to see just how self-destructive my instincts were in this case.

Yet. Yet I still do this today. My first reaction to feeling pain is to turn it, and by extension the part of my body that hurts, into an enemy. I turned a piece of my own body into an enemy and I made the rest of me into its victim.

I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, gee, this is a good story to build my life around. I just didn’t realize that I was caught in a story of my own making.

Even at the time of that Focusing session I didn’t understand how profound this was for my life.

Once I gained enough perspective to see the narrative I was stuck in, I could break free. That’s when I really changed as a person; when I became so much bigger than I had ever been before. When I came into my own.

I don’t know if I’ll ever rise above that instinctual aversion to pain. I think the best I can hope for is to spend less and less time trapped in it.

My physical, mental, and emotional pains are not my enemies; I am not their victim. I am the sum total of all of my parts, they give me insight and they give me depth.

From now on, wholeness is the watchword.


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