November 29 2005

November 29 2005
February 13, 2006 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing allows us to be a friend to a part of us that is in pain.

“Something in Me” Doesn’t Want the Pain

Chronic pain can be stressful and preoccupying, and seriously decrease our quality of life. I can’t promise you that Focusing can make your pain go away. But Focusing can help you shift remarkably your relationship with the place in you that has to bear the pain… and in the process, the pain may shift as well.

Even to be able to be with a chronic pain at all, we’ll probably first need to acknowledge all the feelings ABOUT the pain. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings from Presence, and not be identified with them. Typical feelings about a painful place include: Not liking it, feeling scared it will persist or get worse, feeling scared about what it means, and just plain not wanting it to be there.

There’s a BIG difference between
“I don’t like this pain.”
and
“I’m acknowledging something in me that doesn’t like this pain.”
Try it, and feel the difference.

Is “Pain” the Right Word for It?

Once you have acknowledged the feelings ABOUT the pain, you will be able to acknowledge and spend time with the pain itself. But first let’s throw out the word “pain”… or any other word or label you have been applying to the experience.

See if it’s possible to approach the sensation directly, freshly, as if you’d never felt it before. If you can do this, you will probably find yourself surprised at what you find! Call it “this place” or “this sensation” rather than “my back back” or “the headache.” Let all labels go, and just be in contact with it, describing it as it is right now.

As you do that, you may continue to experience parts of you that have feelings ABOUT the “pain”–and you would want to continue to say hello to them as well.

Eventually, you may be in enough contact with the uncomfortable sensation that you can sense how it feels from its point of view, its emotion or mood… and being able to acknowledge that is likely to bring about some kind of shift, possibly in the feeling itself, certainly in your relationship with it.

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