“When are you going to help yourself out of this pain?”
Twenty years ago, these words hit me like a ton of bricks when my chiropractor of about a year suggested I should look a bit deeper into why I was getting debilitating migraines. This was the most earnest a-ha moment I’ve ever had in my life. It honestly NEVER occurred to me that I should take responsibility for my own pain. These words still ring true whenever I feel myself looking outside for solutions to pain or discomfort in my life.
My journey toward leading a (virtually) pain-free life began with the practice of yoga in the year 2000. The physical practice grounded me and helped strengthen my body and ease some of my physical tension. I experienced a reduction in the frequency of migraines, but still lived in fear of the eventuality of the next debilitating one.
I started to notice positive changes in the experience of migraines when I began to practice the wisdom of yoga philosophy. By consciously bringing it into my daily life, this informal practice gave me so much more freedom to trust myself and to regulate my internal stressors. I was able to recognize and release myself from harmful habits and confront obstacles I had been avoiding my whole life.
The next ingredient to living a pain free life was establishing a mindfulness meditation practice. The results were profound. I didn’t think this path of self healing was even possible! I learned how to notice and detect subtle ‘migraine-y’ sensations in my body early on so that I could care for myself and prevent the onset of pain completely. Imagine that!!
However, the most profound was still yet to come. During a silent meditation retreat. I learned, through self-reflection, that I did not truly value myself. My internal voice was constantly self-critical and unforgiving. It took time, kind guidance, and a lot of self investigation before I understood and started to believe in the value of loving myself as I loved my own child. There is no amount of physical treatments and medication that can equal the power of self compassion, care and love.
One thing is for certain, the work is never over and this practice is for life. It has taken me years to solve this pain riddle and the solution, this healing power, lies within me. It was always there; I just needed a bit of guidance and perseverance to find it.
“MEDITATION IS NOTHING BUT A PREPARATION TO REDISCOVER THE STATE OF BLISS THAT IS ALREADY INSIDE YOU.”