“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.”
– Rumi, The Essential Rumi
Years ago I had a frozen shoulder, first on one side, then the other. The pain was intense for over a year. The pain turned into a dull ache that finally went away as long as I didn’t try to use my shoulders the way I used to. My mobility was limited; I couldn’t swim, carry a backpack, reach over head, or clasp my hands behind my back. But if I wasn’t in pain I was ok with part of my body remaining frozen.
Last year I got tendonitis in both my shoulders at the same time and the intense pain returned. I believe the pain had been lying dormant in my body because I hadn’t worked it all out. I tried everything to help it; deep tissue massage, physical therapy, stretching, acupuncture. Nothing helped and after some treatments the pain even increased.
Only when I was willing to be gentle with myself and started doing Feldenkrais again did the pain go away. My range of motion slowly came back and yesterday I moved my shoulders in a way I haven’t been able to do in ten years.
This got me to thinking about how it’s the same with our inner pain. We hurt and look for ways to get rid of the pain; we numb it, try to ignore it, complain about it, lose sleep because of it. And as long as that pain goes away we’re ok with less range of motion in our spirit, with loving a bit less, with not taking risks, with letting go of our dreams.
When we try to stretch beyond those limitations we’re reminded that we’ve lost our mobility to move with ease, joy and support. So we remain frozen in our lives.
By being gentle with ourselves we can warm up the frozen places in our body, mind, heart, spirit and soul. We can move and think again in a way that is free, playful, and wild. And we can reach our arms high above our heads and jump for joy that something we thought was lost has been found again.