Listening to My Body?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Today I learned that listening to my body is very important to the healing process. It is not easy for me, nor is it what I typically think about when I hear, “Listen to your body.”

When I am standing and activating my energy or breathing in with my Life Gate/Kidneys and out with my feet, my lower back and left hip and legs feel really hot and tense. As the day goes by, of course, it becomes more intense. And, I keep asking myself, “Am I crazy to keep going when I feel so much pain?” And, I won’t even tell you how it hurts to shift my weight onto my left foot and hold it.

But, like any kind of new exercise, I hope that the pain gets to be less intense with time. After a year or two of practicing Yi Ren Qigong, I may find myself more wise and understand better what my body needs and is telling me. My teacher, Brendan, tells how he became more aware and sensitive to his different energy centers and organs. He tells us how our energy will develop in our bodies so that we can use it, move it and cleanse it to maintain our health. I know it works. I will never forget when I came to my second Level 1 class with a terrible back and headache. After an hour of energy activation exercises, I felt tremendously better and continued practicing all day.

Already just weeks into this and barely able to practice independently, I see changes. My scoliosis typically puts much more stress on the left side of my body. And, my lower extremities are much weaker than on the right side. So, if I am listening to my brain talking, I feel like quitting. It’s exhausting to try to empty my mind–find Wu– and also feel this intense pain for ten minutes or more over and over again through out the day. Maybe it’s less. I feel rather timeless, when practicing Qigong. I know that it will stop hurting if I lay on the floor. But, I think it’s important to listen to the pain in my body too. I need to feel it and not avoid it so that I can understand it.

I know that my pain is connected to my fears. I have been that way since I was a child–afraid of becoming crippled. Afraid of causing myself to be in more pain. Afraid of being dependent and different. Consequently, I am fairly stoic and not very kind to myself usually. I push hard, when I could stop and resign myself to poverty and disability. I am sure I am not alone in my feelings about when to give up or whether to just keep going until I can go no longer.

What is quality of life anyway? I am not sure. I, like others who suffer from chronic pain with scoliosis, likely measure quality of life with how much pain we are in at that moment in time. The pain is never gone. So, less pain equals more fun today and more pain tomorrow. I make decisions about what I can do for fun by considering if I have the time to suffer more and possibly have to stay in bed most of the next day. Pain medication helps me be a happier, more active woman. But, it also has a trade off. I can take it for a few weeks, but then my stomach hurts so much that I have to quit.

But, hey….who am I to complain! i almost feel guilty writing this. But, I know that other women my age have similar types of scoliosis. And, likely they have the same challenges and the pain cycles are probably similar. Anyway, I have so much to be thankful for in life. I will keep going with my Yi Ren Qigong practice. I have nothing to lose by doing this and everything to gain! Yes, I am grateful!

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