A few years ago, while living in Bali, I had a small run in with a large vehicle whilst on my scooter. Not a scratch to either my body or the bike’s body, so no need to worry. But it was enough to induce a whole lot of tension and pain in my lower back.
I could feel it growing in my back from the moment I got up off the ground after the accident.
Straight away I could tell that there was no physical reason for this pain. The scope of the accident didn’t warrant it and it was not making me fearful of riding in future. I knew the pain was misguided and emotionally-driven.
But what was causing the pain?
This accident, and the subsequent pain, arrived after attending a presentation earlier in the week that taught tools for asking your body about the medical issues it was experiencing. It was a fascinating class and I knew I’d use the tools I’d learned.
Though perhaps I didn’t realise I’d use them so soon!
With my back pain slowing growing as I made it home, I booked a massage for the next day and then I laid on the bed and began using my new tools.
The process is quite straight forward. It simply involves asking the question “are you ready to let go of this pain in my back?” to three areas of my body: my mind, my heart and my gut.Ask your mind, your heart and your gut 'Are you ready to let go of this pain?' and listen for the answer.Click To Tweet
In this case, the answer was very enlightening. And kinda logical.
The meaning of my pain
When I asked the three parts of my body about giving up this pain, several things became very clear.
Firstly, my mind was ready to give the pain up. It had no attachment. Great!….except that I was still in pain.
My gut, however, was very enlightening. It knew immediately that I was afraid of taking confident steps forward in my business.
Lower back muscular pain really slows you down. In makes moving painful, whether you’re walking, sitting, standing or turning. Action is greatly hindered. Motion becomes something to avoid.
I’d been asked to do a presentation on one of my core coaching philosophies, a few days prior to the accident and I’d pulled back from saying yes. I was still mulling over whether I had the courage to do it, feeling fearful about putting myself out there.
Dealing with lower back pain is a great excuse not to do something that involves standing, moving and engaging people. Having this pain was very convenient!
The answer from my heart was equally enlightening. It cared deeply about the pain I was feeling. It also pointed out that when I am in this kind of acute, physical pain, I take great, great care with my body. I am tender and gentle with it, I don’t expect too much. I do things just because they give relief and feel good (like scheduling a massage). I soothe it and give it ease.
I do none of these when I am not in pain. So, funnily enough, my heart kinda didn’t want the pain to go away – things are WAY kinder for my body/emotion self when I’m in pain.
Hmmm…..no prizes for picking up the lesson there!
Taking further action
I resolved to say yes to the presentation request. I was scared, and knew it might not go well (specially if I was still experiencing back pain) but I knew I wanted courage in my business building so I decided I could cope with a bad presentation. [and, for the record, I did offer, but they had no free slots before I had to leave Bali, so I didn’t end up doing it].
The other thing that happened, when I finally turned off the lights to go to sleep the night of the accident, is that I cried. Really sobbed. I still don’t really understand it.
I wasn’t feeling sad or scared or alone, I knew I was ok. There wasn’t stress about the bike being damaged or my body being seriously injured. But I cried.
I think the tears were simply my inner little child, crying out of shock, out of a moment of confusion and feeling “lost” because something happened that she wasn’t expecting and didn’t really understand.
I let myself sob until I it felt ok to stop. I spoke kindly to myself, I was tender and gentle with that little girl inside me. And then it was over. The emotion was gone
Perhaps I was tired and just reached a point of being over it all.
But perhaps I had found a way to injure myself so that I would take some kind and gentle care of myself. Maybe I cried to allow the really hurt part to be cared for, and once she was, she got calm.
The physical pain healing
24 hours after the accident, I was still sore, still moving stiffly. But I’d begun being kinder and giving my body more tenderness and gentleness. I decided I’d book a weekly massage, just to feel good (and lets face it, in Bali, that doesn’t cost much!)
Within three days, the pain was all but gone. What I’d learned, however, has stayed with me. And at the point of writing (two years later) I have had no more recurring back pain.
What’s causing your pain?
If you’re ready to explore a different approach to understanding your pain and finding healing, try this Mind, Heart, Gut worksheet, to see what’s really going on behind your pain.