“And every need brings in what’s needed.
Pain bares its cure like a child.”
It always struck me how Rumi wrote about pain. Pain as a portal. Pain as something to turn to. Just start walking towards it and you will feel the wings that you’ve been growing this whole time. You’ll get lighter and lighter and eventually you’ll be able to take off and fly.
Whether the pain you are experiencing is from a physical or an emotional hurt, as soon as you begin to ache, you also develop ways to avoid more pain.
The sprained ankle makes your whole body move stiffly, so you don’t end up hurting yourself more. You brush your teeth with the hand that’s well, while the other one heals from a cut. We’ve all experienced guarding and moving less right after we get injured.
We guard from emotional pain in ways that are really similar to what happens when we injure our bodies.
We learn to suppress, avoid, minimize, overcompensate and override. We defend ourselves with myriads of creative adaptations, and if we do it long enough, those adaptations can start to look as if they are a part of our personality or even our essence.
I talk to people daily who identify strongly with the ways they are protecting themselves from emotions – past and present. They know all of the strategies to not feel – from overeating and overindulging, to starving and punishing themselves with exercise.
The trouble with focusing on the ways we compensate for pain is that we actually never get to the pain. Changing behaviors – especially when it comes to food and exercise – misses the most important message – that pain bears its cure like a child.
While we are busy tracking and judging and fixing behaviors, the body is really sending a message.
This is why diets rarely work if you’re dealing with emotional eating.
This is why disordered eating does not get healed with “a plan”.
The body is speaking.
It’s up to us to listen.