Check 'Your Engine Light': Heed the warning that Pain is Present!

Oct 16, 2023

Most of us spend a lot of time trying to avoid pain instead of recognizing the value of what it is here to tell us. Have you considered that the actual reality is that pain has gotten a bad rap? 

Imagine getting into your car — running late for work in rush-hour traffic, rushing to meet a friend or get the kids to sports, or finally getting away for a much needed vacation. All settled in and seat belt safely fastened, you turn the ignition on, and a bright “Check Engine” light comes on! You think - “ #%@%! Not now! Why me? How much will this cost? Am I safe to drive?” You immediately realize  that you need to know what's wrong so you can address it and get on with your life. Right? God forbid we ignore the check engine light in our car.  Why then do we so often and SO intentionally avoid our natural human warning system? The pain light comes on and we put our heads in the sand. 

When our mind, body, heart, or spirit informs us that we feel pain, it's actually a good thing. This is how we are warned and informed that something isn't right, that something needs our full attention. The warning of pain is telling you that something is being overused, strained, pulled, torn, broken, wounded, or burned out and is in need of some care, protection, and healing. There may be a noxious or harmful stimulus that is causing damage in the present moment – fire, pressure, pinching, crushing, or abuse of any kind (mental, verbal, physical, or emotional). It may also be that there is no clear and present danger, but our body and mind perceive that there is because we are triggered into a current state resulting from an unhealed wound seeking space in our consciousness. 

Although pain is defined as a sensory and emotional experience, it is traditionally researched and clinically treated separately from emotion. Any type of pain or emotion can create a natural protective response – fight, flight, freeze, or fawn – creating a physiological change in our body. Physical and emotional pain go hand in hand, as there is an inherent bi-directional relationship between pain and emotion. What you think and feel vibrate at the same energetic frequency, which is why it is difficult to think our way out of what our body is feeling. This emphasizes the need for closer investigation of your pain and emotion and their connection, allowing for a complete awareness and understanding of their manifestations in your life. 

When either type of pain persists – because we choose to leave it unacknowledged, dismissed, or resisted – it will most often lead to unnecessary suffering.

We each have a different pain perception, tolerance, and unique injury or wounding - so there is definitely no comparison in suffering. Pain can be graded on a 0-10 scale, zero being “no pain at all, I’m at peace” and ten being “the worst pain you can imagine – take me to the emergency room and end it!” The number on this scale does not correlate with what you are able to accomplish at that level of suffering, as some of us take to bed with a papercut and others heroically carry a comrade across a battlefield without even noticing their own pain. Please don’t ignore your pain, as doing so will keep you from getting the care and healing you're calling out for. Too many of us dismiss or minimize our pain, to our own detriment. This is certainly not something I advise!

It is time to give our own check engine light the level of attention it deserves. When it goes off, in the form of a trigger, negative mental thought, emotion, or a behavioral outburst you don’t feel good about,  simply pause and allow your pain to come into consciousness. Then give yourself the space and time to explore what it is trying to tell you. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Why is this pain happening for me? 
  • What is this pain here to inform or warn me about? 
  • Can I stay present with it and allow healing to occur? 

Let these warnings serve their intended purpose – to bring into awareness that there is something you need to attend to before you break down.

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