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“I struggle regularly with physical pain.”

“I struggle regularly with physical pain.”
August 16, 2017 Ann Weiser Cornell
Pain two sides fighting

Focusing Tip #572 – “Is it hard to honor and listen to physical pain because you just don’t want to be in pain?”


Michelle writes:

Wondering if you can help me. I struggle regularly with physical pain. And there’s a part of me that wants to honor that pain when it comes up and listen to what it is wanting to tell me. And there’s another part of me that doesn’t want to feel the sensations of the pain. Sitting with both sides has not resolved this and I continue to feel like I’m in between these two sides fighting with each other. Any help?

Dear Michelle:

You’ve made a big step by turning toward “something in you” that doesn’t want to feel the pain.

So many of us become identified with that part of us, and say “I don’t want to feel the pain.” Saying “something in me” and acknowledging this as a part allows a separation.

You’ve come to the place of feeling that you are between those two parts, the part in pain and the part that doesn’t want to feel it.

And you feel them still fighting with each other.

OK, then here is the next step: 

  1. Turn toward the part of you that doesn’t want to feel the pain and say to it, “No wonder!” Get a feel for it… is it like a pulling away? Does it feel afraid the pain means there is something wrong with you? Or…?
  2. Be the listener to that part for a while. Whatever it is feeling, let it know you hear it. We are not saying that it shouldn’t feel the way it feels. But now you are here, listening to it. So it doesn’t have to fight. It is being heard.
  3. At some point it will relax a bit because you are listening. That doesn’t mean it has changed its mind. It still doesn’t want to feel the pain. It’s just that it doesn’t have to struggle so hard.
  4. Now turn toward the other side, the pain itself. Remember that it is not trying to hurt you. It is suffering too.
  5. Describe it freshly… as if you have never felt it before. And keep on giving it this quality of attention… pure describing.

I have a whole short course coming up on working with pain in a Focusing way… including a free webinar two weeks before it starts… so there is more I can say… but those five steps are the essence.

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