I was recovering from a concussion.
Yep. I banged my head for the third time in a year and this time I had to listen! I'm stubborn so sometimes I get hit with a wicked bang on the head, so to speak, before I wake up and pay attention.
Fortunately I didn't have an extreme concussion where people have to sit in the dark for months, but it was enough to impact my life significantly! Limits on screens, headaches, a very tired brain and having to wear earplugs and funky glasses to manage the sensory overload... Basically I had to SLOW down....way down and for while I wasn't happy about it at all... But I learned a few golden things I want to share with you!
Ever noticed when you need to rest, your mind as lot to say about it! Mine did....the old "what's wrong with you?" " you aren't working hard enough' "you've got to get this done" and on and on.
So here's a few takeaways from my summer to help you navigate your mind whenever you find you need to slow the pace, rest or heal.
Takeaway 1. Learning to do pain well:
When we're feeling the worst physically, we often hear the worst things in our mind."You aren't doing enough" "You're being lazy" "It's not that bad..." "What's wrong with you?" Ever hear this kind of stuff?
I love the idea of "learning to do pain well."
A mentor of mine once introduced me to this idea. It became very helpful when my children were little and constantly bringing home colds and flues. I learned there's an art of settling in and allowing ourselves the rest needed to heal. This applies to physical or emotional pain. W hen our mind gets in the way we suffer and struggle to heal.
Our mind confuses our worth with what we can accomplish in a day rather than with who we are. Our minds push and push us to keep doing. Basically it works very hard to ensure we still have value! It takes some strong inner direction to let our mind know that it's safe to rest and heal. Our value will not be affected! A radical idea hey?
Takeaway #2: Balance
Pain is a valuable opportunity to reorganize how we manage our minds and understand our worth. It can strengthen the inner muscle that values the delicate balance of both the being and the doing of life.
Pain of any kind allows us to challenge this idea in our mind. Pain requires stillness to heal. It's perhaps like breathing. It's the in -breath to all the out-breaths we take. Pain will force us to stop. Perhaps if we learn how to embrace stillness as much as we embrace busyness we might spare ourselves a lot of pain. It seems the more we learn to embrace the value of stillness then the sooner and more easily we can return to all the" doing" of our lives.
Takeaway #3: Self Trust: Consider pain as an opportunity for self love and trust. It requires significant trust in ourselves to acknowledge what we truly need. We then have to navigate beyond ideas of being bad, lazy, selfish and instead dare to believe it's okay. It takes a lot of inner courage to truly recognize and claim what we need in a moment or in a lifetime.
To dare to rest and step out of all the doing, we have to trust we'll not get stuck in the pain forever..... that we will rejuvenate and come alive again. Ironic how in resisting pain, it persists! It's like trusting the in-breath will always be followed by and out-breath.
Whether you find yourself healing from a concussion, or dealing with an physical illness or struggling with depression, anxiety or inner conflict of any kind, let the pain be a golden invitation to a new experience in your own mind.
Pain invites us to find balance and reorganize our thoughts. We may learn to experience a gentler, more loving relationship with our own mind as a result. It's challenging terrain!