Gambling on moving through the pain.
There are two types of pain, I reckon. There’s like an outer, punching pain, and then there’s like an inner sea-sickness.
The first is what we usually talk about when we’re talking about pain. It’s like you burn your skin. You’re aware that there’s something painful happening to the outer extremes of your body.
Or you’re playing sport. You’ve been running so hard your legs are burning. Your stomach is cramping. Your opponent has kicked the crap out of your shins.
To be honest, this pain is kind of fun. It’s kind of a game. It’s kind of fun to roar into it and let the pain meet the storm of your toughness.
Some people even take it to extremes. Like Arnold Swarzenegger. He trained himself to get off on the pain of lifting weights… like literally.
“When I'm lifting weights and it's burning and it's hurting to push, that's like an orgasm. It's even better than an orgasm for me.”
Yeah, ok. I kind of look like Arnold Swarzenegger doing weights when I have sex, but I never have that kind of reaction to a work out.
But it is definitely possible.
And I think it’s because that kind of pain – the pain that is isolated and has an easily identifiable cause – is easy to externalise. You can detach from it. You can see the pain, you can see your ‘self’ in relation to it.
It becomes just a sensation.
But there’s another sort of pain, and it’s something I don’t think we’ve really developed the words for yet. It’s kind of like an inner sea-sickness. That’s how I experience it.
And this pain, rather than being outside coming in, is inside and… well, going nowhere because it is you.
This pain is really hard to be with, because it’s right in your face. It’s closer than your face.
It’s behind your face. Aaaaghh!
It’s kind of horrible, but I think it’s the price of being truly alive.
Because what I think that pain is, is the consciousness waking up to the reality of having a body.
Now, everyone knows they have a body. But they think of it kind of like this cold robot they control with their mind.
That is not the reality. Your body is a living animal. It’s doing an incredible amount of things, every second. Can you imagine if you had to do everything your body does, consciously?
Like, if you had to consciously regulate your breathing, your blinking, your digestion, your hormones etc. Just no way possible.
So your body is alive. Wherever your consciousness ends (there’s a defined point right?), a living body begins.
And that body has a lot to say. It feels pain and trauma and fear and doubt and love and bloating and poor circulation and blocked meridians.
There’s a lot it wants to tell you.
And when you listen. Oh my god. It’s overwhelming. All these horrible feelings. Aaggh. Yuck.
Even just the realisation that you are so intimately connected to a living organism is cosmic-level weird.
No wonder most people retreat back into their heads and stay there.
To me the sum of all that is a kind of inner sea sickness. A kind of nausea that I can’t escape from. I can’t lean into and go Roaarr, because there is no separation from it.
It is me.
It’s not fun and its definitely not orgasmic.
So what can you do?
I think my challenge is to stay still long enough, to stay present to that sea-sickness long enough, that I move through it. That the body says what it needs to say, and then settles down again.
That’s my hope anyway. It’s hard for me to sit still. I’m a man who likes to get a lot done.
But there’s a promise there – that if I can heal that relationship with this weird organism I’ve ended up in, I can move from a deep place and really tap the full potential of my power.
Worth a gamble, right?