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Day 121: Living in a Pain-Filled Body

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” -Carl Jung

I am not sure if it was my boldness in lifting two boxes at a time, maybe just a little too long on the Precor trainer, or a silent unnoticed bad turn, but something in my pelvis/ hip area went really wrong today. The smallest of movements are accompanied by bursts of pain and even just sitting very still has a decided low-grade ache to it. I lived with back pain and body aches for all the years that I bore and raised children. Until the last one, when recovery didn’t just happen and the smallest of movements would have me glued to the floor.

I knew that I had a choice to make about living in my body then; there was no more time for the lackadaisical approach to fitness that I had adopted until then. I needed a strengthening program. Pilates saved my back, saved my ability to move and hold myself in life. Pain has become a much more rare occurrence for me. Today I am remembering why I prioritize my exercise routine over most everything else that I do.

In my home, body aches and pains are a regular visitor for my over achieving athletic sons. It is a very fine week when no one is taping an injury or slathering on the Topricin. Icing and heating schedules may just as well be posted on the freezer door. I have become cavalier about their injuries, the motto we ascribe to is “pain is weakness leaving the body.” They are young, it seems believable when I see how quickly they are back at the game.

Pain is the liveliest of sensations, be it physical or emotional. In fact, most deep physical pain manifests in the body. There is no looking away or diverting your attention from the certain and dependable impression that pain marks on your life. It is hard to imagine the mental fortitude required to deal with chronic pain. Many succumb to depression or worse, because living in pain so dulls the experience of happiness.

Pain reminds you in the loudest and clearest of voices of how well everything was just moments ago, when you took a solid back moving through space for granted. I am awake again to the power of the body to capture my full attention, and more remorseful than I was earlier at missing my Pilates lesson. Michelangelo once said, “Everything hurts.” It may well have been as he was getting on in years and painting upside down finally got to him. He never stopped creating, which is what pain is supposed to teach us.

When we are well, even mostly well, appreciate the strength and power of a capable body and do something. Anything that will make your life feel meaningful, that will give something back. Maybe tomorrow.