A friend and I were recently talking about how the body manifests very specific aches and pains that always coincide beautifully with the emotional and psychological issues that are happening at any given time. Take for example the condition of Sciatica. Both my friend and I have had to deal with this issue from time to time in our lives. At times it is just a niggling annoying ache and at other times it is debilitating and crippling barely allowing for any kind of movement at all. So – yes, we did something that wretched our poor backs out of alignment, causing the sciatic nerve to become pinched as it travels through the hip and yes, we can take an anti-inflammatory along with alternating hot and cold packs every 5 – 10 minutes and yes of course we can and will do our stretches that open up the hip-joint and gently allow the pieces to all slip quietly gently back into the proper position eventually creating restored balance and relief of pain. But why? Why does this happen when you’ve done nothing out of the ordinary, and why is it that it is so damn frustrating? I know one thing for certain – the hips don’t lie – and they like every other part of your body they have a story to tell!
When a body part isn’t functioning at it’s best there are always many parts of the story that we need to try to pay attention to and try to accommodate in the healing process if we want to get to the root of the problem. We need to pay attention to the details, specifically to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the issue. This is a truly holistic approach to health. When we approach any health issue from a whole perspective we come to know many of the details that will create awareness and most often prevent reoccurrence of the same issue. Mind you, that said, there are certain issues which do recur for us because they are our life issues. They are issues that we will continuely have to keep dealing with from many points of relevance if they are our life’s work. For instance a genetic disease, a chronic recurrent condition, or a syndrome that creates specific limitations that have to be considered everyday. Although the same principles apply, for now we’ll just talk about the daily, ‘accidental’, transient incidents that come and go easily without long-term ramifications. Like sciatica.
So this is how it works:
i) get your journal – that’s that book/pad of paper where you record all the happenings relating to your personal growth – this is a journal moment! Speak/write clearly and fast; not prettily. Do not edit yourself, say what comes to mind, use the vernacular that emerges do not worry about proper grammar, nice language or being politically correct – just call it as you see it. The words that spontaneously spill out of you have a truth all their own. For instance: ‘Sciatica is a pain in the ass! I can hardly move one foot in front of the other’ is much clearer when trying to get to the truth of the thing than saying ‘Sciatica is an intensely painful sensation beginning in the buttocks radiating down my left leg toward my ankle’. Your doctor might prefer this way for diagnosis but we’ve already determined what ails us physically, now we want to know the nitty-gritty of the thing!
ii) Identify all related information – take a look at the body part that is affected, what is the result in the functioning of the part due to the problem, how should the body part normally function and what is being restricted? What could you do before and what can you do now? How does this condition affect the way you live the rest of your life? What does it stop you from doing? What do you have to do to make it stop hurting? What does it permit you to have? In other words – how does it serve you?
iii) Now feel it out. What emotions are stimulated by the problem? Are you frustrated, angry, self-pitying, grief-stricken, beside yourself, worried, whiny? Are you being melodramatic? As you move your body – what happens to the emotions you feel? Move slowly making tiny deliberate micro movements. Pay attention – often there are unresolved emotions locked into old injuries that have never been released. The body will hold on to the emotion in those areas until the day comes when it’s time to release them. A renewed injury may serve simply to remind us to revisit the issue and get it gone! Be careful not to stuff away any emotion that may arise. Keep journaling – even through your tears!
iv) What do you think or believe. Notice your mental reactions to the emotions and to the pain you are feeling. Where do your thoughts take you? Do you tell yourself not to be stupid or weak? Do you listen easily? Does a memory suddenly flash into your mind of something you’ve long forgotten? We tend to live our lives in patterns and rituals – do you remember other times when you had the same experience? Did the injury or pain begin on the anniversary of something? I had a client once who suffered migraine headaches every year around the same time each Spring for approx 10 years- eventually it was discovered that they actually coincided with her mother’s death 15 years earlier. They had had a very unhappy relationship and there were many things that were left unsaid with her passing. After a very emotional outpouring of past resentments and betrayals she discovered that not only did she love her Mother very much but that she was also punishing herself for not having made amends before her mother died. This was her way of suffering in atonement for her guilt of not setting the record straight before her death. The migraines never came back.
I have had many clients over the years that start developing health problems after a certain age just because their parents and grand parents did. They unconsciously believed that there came ‘an age’ where you just naturally started to fall apart – after all they had heard it said millions of times. When they realized the pattern they were able to quickly re-establish themselves as healthy, vibrant and pain free. We are all programmed to believe certain things about our selves and our bodies from body image to function that are not necessarily true in real life yet we create conditions and circumstances that seem to validate the opinion. Learn to become really aware of what you ‘think and believe’ about yourself. Every pain has a story that hasn’t been told yet. Be patient with yourself and the story will reveal itself.
v) Let Love and Forgiveness flow. Every pain also represents a lack of faith in your perfection and gives credence to a weakness. Your divine nature understands you are perfect and accepts every opportunity as one in which to learn and grow. When we stop learning and growing we experience pain. Ask yourself what have I lost faith in? Why do I want to stay stuck in this moment rather than move freely forward? When we are in pain we have lost an ability to love ourselves in some measure. Ask yourself why? Are you willing to love yourself back to health? Are you willing to believe that you are worth loving as you are? Can you practice forgiveness and acceptance toward yourself. One client was experiencing recurrent bladder and urinary infections every few months for no apparent reason. After doing the steps above she realized that she had been ‘pissy’ to all her loved ones causing grief and hostility whenever she spoke. She was behaving this way because she had lost a sense of her own purpose and life direction and was creating small conflicts everywhere to stay distracted rather than face her own perceived inadequacies. Through love and forgiveness directed at herself she came to find an enjoyable path and she stopped creating painful infections and interactions.
The Truth Will Set You Free of Pain
Does this seem like a lot of work? – it’s not actually. Discovery of the truth really happens very quickly once you learn not to be afraid of it. When the ego can step down for a moment and not defensively protect it’s right to feel pain we can learn to really just get over it!
So Sciatica – well – it turns out it’s a matter of integrity – do you walk your talk? As you are growing and learning are you still walking your talk? Low back issues are related to support issues and usually support issues related to money. Our hips are our gross motor functions on how we move forward in the world. Our knees and ankles are finer motor skills relating to manoeuverability but our hips direct our movement forward in life. When we have sciatica we are choosing to ignore a vital piece of our truth and usually are trying to push ahead or through a situation without considering the whole truth. Our conflict appears in our inability to take a step that is in harmony for our highest good or in alignment with our highest truth. Our sacrum represents the cradle of our life, our security and our core strengths, when we ignore our fundamental truths and are acting outside of our core truth we experience a mis-alignment which causes our bodies to shut down in pain. Usually it’s the feminine softer issues that are being ignored as the masculine energy power drives us forward toward a plan contrived in the mind. Depending on where the bulk of the localized pain is felt will give further clues, ie; low back relates to financial support issues, rear buttocks relates to ability to move freely, knees to choices and decisions, feet to ability to step forward etc. AND…It’s so damn frustrating because you KNOW intuitively that you aren’t living in your truth! There are many books available as fine resources to help you with clues – one of the best is Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life or Heal Your Body.
Generally speaking these types of problems are easily solved with self loving supportive treatments like, stretching – which gives permission to move safely, hot/cold packs, baths and wraps – for nurturing and contact, and just plain listening to what the body has to say about what ails you. The body doesn’t lie and it is intimately connected to all the happenings of your life. Every thing that has ever happened to you is stored in the cellular memory bank that is your body. With enough patience and self-directed loving kindness we can access our stories, belief systems and fears simply by listening well – just like you would for a best friend.