When we’re not feeling pain, the body is pleasant to be in. Life feels good, our breathing is steady, we can use our creative faculties, be loving in relationships, take care of ourselves well.
When we come in contact with overwhelming emotional pain, the body interprets this pain as a life threatening signal. All of our attention goes to eradicating and removing ourselves from the discomfort. This makes sense, and is a rational decision.
At Mindlight we call this action a coping strategy.
Coping strategies help us remove ourselves from feeling something painful. We love this because it helps the body to regulate, and carry on functional, daily lives – like going to work. The coping strategies only become a problem if over time, they start to disrupt our daily lives.
In the book, The Untethered Soul, author Michael Singer talks about protecting trauma as if it were a thorn in your arm. Instead of pulling the thorn out because it would be painful, we protect that part of the arm so that nothing can bump into it.
Let’s say we create a metal sleeve to protect the arm. And then to sleep well at night, we have to surround the arm with pillows so we can roll over it at night. And then it seems we need to get custom made jackets, so the arm can be warm in the winter and fit inside the sleeve with its metal and pillow exterior. And you can see on and on in this example, how more modifications to daily life get made to protect the thorn from getting bumped.
It seems ultimately, that pulling the thorn out would be beneficial, because it removes much more work and effort that has to be put toward protecting it otherwise. With the thorn removed, there is no painful place in the arm at all anymore and you could walk around with freedom and ease.
It is the same way with healing trauma. Once Trauma is healed, then your coping strategies gently melt away. Where there was once pain, there would just be peace. Freedom would become your dominant experience.
It is okay to live a life protecting the pain, and we invite you to consider… if you have the choice, would you heal it instead?
If this post resonates with you and you’d like to explore your healing, check out the support available to you in a private Midnlight session.