“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy.
I woke and I saw that life is all service.
I served and I saw that service is joy.”
Being thankful is such a beautiful key to have with us as we move into the month of December, and to a month we think of as a time to give. Being thankful is actually a way of sharing.
For many of us, the holidays are difficult times. We also often make them more difficult than they need to be. One of the ways we do that is by not recognizing the gifts we receive. In other words, we may receive something in the form of pain, physical or emotional, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a gift. But, when we can shift our perception of what is going on, we might then see the real gift behind the pain. As we begin to do this, especially with events that certainly are not easy, it can change our lives in subtle and not so subtle ways.
I was working with a woman the other day, a regular client, who came to me complaining of leg and hip pain on the opposite side of her usual painful hip. If she is having hip pain, it is usually on the right side. As I scanned her body with energy work and with looking at her with Chiropractic eyes (are her hips level, are they torqued, and such) I discerned her issue was a muscle called the piriformis muscle. This muscle lives in the middle area of our buttocks and is involved in externally rotating our legs. This muscle is responsible for our turning our legs outward. When it spasms, it can be extremely painful. She was experiencing severe pain to the extent she could hardly walk.
As I was working with her muscles I noticed that all the muscles around her hip were in spasm. This is not usual for her. I asked her if there was something in her life she was feeling stressful about. She couldn’t think of anything. So I asked her if something was going on which felt like it shifts her foundation. As I asked her that type of question, she had an “aha”. She has been a smoker for years and was thinking about stopping smoking. As she got more serious about stopping smoking, her whole hip went in to spasm. She then told me that stopping smoking is like losing her best friend.
The gift of this pain was that it helped her to listen to feelings inside of her that she had kept bottled up for years. She knew that it was hard for her to stop smoking but she wasn’t sure why. Her father had smoked most of his life, and she was very close to her father. Losing her father was difficult for her and she smokes as a blind way of keeping her father close to her. What a gift to finally recognize how her young feelings are attached to smoking. Those young parts in her needed to be heard. They made sure they were heard through the hip spasms.
We made an appointment for her in three days, and I told her that if her pain is gone, just call me and cancel the appointment. She called and told me her pain was completely gone; not a trace left.
This gift came in an unusual package. Who would think major hip pain could be a gift? It gave her a chance to identify and explore some of her feelings that she might not have acknowledged otherwise.
Pain, dysfunction, anger, resentment, anxiety are often unusual gifts that show up in our bodies in disguise. We call that disguise pain when in reality is a gift that wants to teach us how to come more fully alive and how to move toward a whole and healthy life.
Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results
A small change we all can take involves seeing things differently. That can be hard because we often have some kind of an investment in seeing something a certain way. We see ourselves as victims or as silly, or as sad, or as angry, and so on. Seeing a challenge as a gift does involve letting ourselves shift from being sad or lonely to being with ourselves and being full and okay as we are.
Take a moment and imagine a challenge in your life right now. See it as a difficulty and something that hurts you or is hard for you. Now, take a deep breath, and let yourself see the hurt or challenge differently. See if it is possible to see deeper into the challenge and see any gift that is there for you. Because of this challenge, are you able to understand something more clearly, are you able to develop new psychic or physical muscles, and are you able to see a new strength in you?