Yes. Yes it can. Think of that painful breakup, or that time you ran so fast, so exuberantly, your lungs and legs burned.
The opposite is definitely true. Sitting on the sofa instead of moving enough is certainly not painful, but it is definitely harmful. And I don’t mean that in a patronizing fitness industry way, but in a body-mind-health way. Our bodies are made to move and so keep our minds mobile.
Pain calls for attention and care. It asks us for ways that this can be easy. It asks us to acknowledge the hard and the resistance.It asks us to look at our boundaries and decide whether we are ok with where they are.
Sometimes we are in pain because our container is too small and we need to expand.
Contraction is painful, intentionally making ourselves small. Expansion is painful too, as our parts release into the newfound space, shifting painfully. Getting to stand up straight is scary. Scary is painful, it is the contraction just before the release.
So if we put avoiding harm, before furthering the mission, what is the relationship to pain? Pain sits on the edges, both the edges we want to dissolve and the edges we want to maintain. It is a guide, asking for care and attention. And yes, this does sound super kinky.
My friend Debbie on the Camino told me „Others give us pain, but we create our own suffering.“ I keep understanding this phrase and then forgetting its meaning, always relearning: I can try to avoid all the pain and suffer at its inevitability, or I can learn what it has to teach me and move on. It is my choice. What am I choosing today?
I am choosing to enter into conversation with the pain. I choose to bring it all into this life.
This beautiful, scary and painful life.
What are you choosing?