Digging Deep: Releasing the Emotional Roots of Physical Pain

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I have grieved a lot in my life.

I have grieved over the past and the future, for my pain and for other people’s pain. Grief has left me on my knees with no breath in my lungs and no thoughts in my head but “Why? Why? Why?”. In these moments, sadness and loneliness seem endless, dark abysses seem welcome and the tears go on and on and on, unless they don’t. Unless the apathy takes over. The numb staring at the ceiling as I laid in bed on my back, not caring that it is 2:00 in the afternoon and there are places I am supposed to be. Not caring that friends were knocking on the door and slipping love notes through the door frame.  

I used to believe that when people leave, or die, or just stop caring out of self-defense, that a part of me died with them. I believed that I started off as an infant, whole and intact, but with every crushing moment of abandonment, a new part of me was stripped away. Death was inevitable, inconsequential, either I died doing something stupid, or some random accident happened, or I lived until there was no more of me to strip away and then grief would take me into nothingness. Either way, it would be over, and that was okay with me. I never really believed I would live past 30. Maybe that’s why my 30th birthday this year felt so…consequential, so big.

Today, I live a different life.

A life where each part of “me” that is stripped away brings me closer to experiencing the whole of ME. Grief seems to exist only to point out, through contrast, the awe inspiring brilliance of life and to be a part of what it means to fully heal. Every once in a while, grief pours out of unexpected places, hidden underneath the layers of resentment and rage that I never allowed myself to feel before. Hidden under layers of archetypal stories, linking lifetimes of mistakes and the growth pains of being human.

(*For more on anger click HERE)

Society defines the significant events in life as the weddings and the funerals, the acceptance letters and the graduations, the building of homes and the birth of children. However, whenever I sit down to write about the moments that really changed my, the list is filled with tiny BIG moments that no one else viewing the movie of my life would have even noticed.

The times I crawled in bed next to my mother to say goodbye before catching the bus to school in the morning. The warm smell of comfort, and being able to pretend to be a child for a while, before reality locked its cuff around my wrists.

The first time I so coolly and casually said “I love you” to someone, but meant it with all my heart, and the way it felt to keep from crying until he closed the door behind him for the last time. The feeling as my knees gave out and slammed against the wood floor as all the breath in my lungs was taken away and the feeling of not wanting it back.

The time I planted a poem under a Sourwood tree for a friend that I wasn’t sure if I loved or not, but knowing that now, I would never get to find out.

The first time I really had the courage to say “NO!” and the moment that I decided inside my heart to forgive what I once believed was unforgivable.

The day I found out how deeply I had abandoned the person I loved most in the whole world and the guilt that settled deep into my body, but had to play if off as no big deal.

Love flows through us, Joy flows through us, Elation flows through us leaving happy memories and a sense of expansion. But grief, anger, resentment, self-loathing, guilt, shame, they tend stick to the deepest layers of the body because they are the emotions we were taught to never fully feel. We were taught to be afraid of discomfort not to allow it to flow with gratitude through our body and into Mother Earth. So the grief, or fear or anger or resentment, hides inside our very bones, causing chronic pain, so easily rationalized and explained away as something superficial, something that makes sense.

Recently I was meditating and intentionally releasing some chronic pain that I had in my lower back for about a year, when my attention was forcefully relocated to my right hip instead. I have had on and off hip pain for over 10 years ago, “it was from a rock climbing accident” I told myself, “I worked it too hard at the farm today” I would explain.

However, when I started to breathe into that space, a tiny door that appeared in my mind. I opened it, shone and imaginary light into my hip and called a timid “Hello?” into the dark, I was in for a big surprise.  

I was confronted by a past life version of me. A woman screaming in rage and grief “How could they do this to me?” over and over again. She looked like me, but not like me at the same time. They had taken her toddler away, stripped the child from her arms and took him away. The pain of that separation ripped through my body and the woman turned into my teenage self, then my adult self and I instantly knew all the ways this past life experience related and explained my tendencies, behaviors and chronic emotional grief, guilt and pain in this lifetime. The details of which, I will not go into here for it is a long story in and of itself.

The moral of this story is that it is okay to grieve, the feel rage and hurt and disbelief that life happened the way that it did, but we need to acknowledge that if unresolved, these frequencies, these energies cause chronic dis-ease in the physical body. They cause stress and tension and inflammation and so much more.

For most of my life, I didn’t make the connection. I didn’t know how to allow pain to flow through me, so it was stored by default. But now that I know better, it is my responsibility to stop rationalizing away my physical pain. It is fine to see a doctor and to treat the symptoms, but I also need to begin digging deeper into the emotional root and clear that with breath and intention.

In this case, I experienced about 10 minutes of extreme discomfort, but in exchanged I was granted lifetimes of knowing and patterns and connections that left me feeling lighter and able to love myself more than ever before. I intend to continue this physio-emotional exploration and look more closely under the sensations that I have rationalized aside as insignificant for far too long.

I wish you the best of luck with any explorations you attempt and encourage you to gather your support system closely around you, because you don’t have to do it alone this go ‘round.


Love you all!