By Susan Crimmins, Jan 4 2016 04:32PM
When I woke up this past Thanksgiving morning all ready to spend my day devoted to gratitude, no one was more surprised than I that my lower back had a different idea. Upon getting out of bed, it went into rolling spasms that lasted for about 10 minutes, and then proceeded to continue to interrupt my peace intermittently throughout the day. Not one to pay too much attention to symptoms as such, immediately I was curious what could be encouraging my back to be speaking so loudly to me? I did all of the usual, alternating ice and heat and some stretches and still, no relief. Trips to urgent care and the ER marked the next few days as the pain escalated and shape shifted into my back and hip, and I then found myself landing in acupuncture experiencing some relief and some intensification because layers of pain were being uncovered and brought forward rapidly. Treatments resulted in severe pain now shooting down my right leg, obstructing my ability to walk.
I don’t know about you, but physical pain is, and has been, one of my bigger fears in life, as far back as I can recall. Unfortunately, when pain is present, one of its key exacerbations is fear! When in physical pain, moving through emotions with a certain amount of ease is crucial to lessening the pain. Breath is instrumental, as a ready assistant to facilitate ease, however, it requires one to be aware and present with its offering—no easy feat when caught up in the spiral of fear and anxiety, which then are reinforced by debilitating pain! The cycle is powerful and can be difficult to interrupt once in full swing. Not to mention the idea that most of us wish to push it or to wish it away, having a disparaging and resentful attitude toward pain and its inconvenient timing of showing up without our permission. So here I was, in a most vulnerable state, with fear escalating to panic due to a mounting inability to remain present with “what is.” I had to reach out to ask for help from friends and acquaintances, as I could not walk nor drive, and this required a healthy dose of humility and surrender in order to get some additional help.
“Pain: a guide into inquiry.” These were the words that came forward in meditation. Okay, I could acknowledge that pain was my guide, but where to begin with the inquiry? I knew enough about pain to realize that it appears when something needs attention that has been neglected. Also, that it is best to view it with dispassionate curiosity and to allow it to inform by saying, yes, I see you and I hear you and I most certainly feel you, and I promise that I will explore all the aspects that brought you to my attention, so that you can return to your proper place and perspective and receive your much deserved exhale. This is the promise I made to myself and to my pain.
Step one of any inquiry is to gather the appropriate resources to facilitate the journeying in the asking of the questions. I knew I had to locate and to identify the “right” healing modality and its respective healer, which would allow me to uncover and discover what was underneath the pain. I had begun with allopathic medicine and no one was able to diagnose accurately what was occurring. The usual suspected culprits of disc compression and sciatica had been ruled out. And instead, prescriptions for multiple medications were offered. I began asking friends and colleagues for their advice and as a result, a chiropractor, who also practiced kinesiology and some “other stuff” that could not be articulated is where I ended up, mostly because he came highly recommended and had an opening that very afternoon.
When I entered his office, I saw the sign “BELIEVE” on the wall, and while lying on the table, the ceiling held another sign that said, “EXPECT A MIRACLE.” I knew I was home. What transpired over a series of sessions fulfilled my promise to myself and to my pain. Guided inquiries, based upon what my body and essence were revealing, which ran from the acute to the chronic engaged multiple levels of BE-ING, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and covered this lifetime as well as previous ones, were facilitated. Themes of injury, trauma and unresolved emotional reactions were addressed and with each session, I felt an ever increasing sense of relief. Each time as he stood over me and allowed his hands to guide him, I was more than aware that this was shamanic healing at its finest.
What transpired was a reawakening of memories, symptoms and visual/auditory/sensory information, which I began to identify as important missing pieces to the puzzle of this life’s journey. Constellations of information came forward, as the picture started to come into focus for issues that had me worried, confused, and left hanging for years. Grace. Underneath the progressively lessening pain, Grace sat, waiting patiently for my acknowledgment. I extended my gratitude to her and for her benevolence in showing herself to me.
There really is no growth without some kind of pain or discomfort, at least as far as I have experienced and witnessed? It takes time in darkness to appreciate more the presence of light. As it turns out, my fear of pain in this life was a leftover from a previous life, which got resolved in this recent healing “crisis.” I also learned that the true shamans out there are typically not named as such. They operate underneath “cloaks” of other credentials, maybe a part of humility or maybe just so we, as seekers, can realize that layers are everywhere to be peeled back before true Grace can be seen?
Wishing you in 2016 a host of experiences that feed your soul and allow you to locate gently how Grace is present in your life!