To my dear body in pain
I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time right now. I admit I find it hard to stay connected with you right now, but I care for you deeply so I’m really going to bring my self-compassion practice in to be with you, to keep you company, to let you know that I see and hear you, and to see what we might do together.
The first thing I notice is that there seems to be so much going on. Sensations, thoughts and emotions are swirling. I feel overwhelmed, and so I move toward my practice. I bring my attention to just one part of you at a time – ah, irritation and burning there; ah, tightness and tension there; ah, dryness and pressure there. These are the individual sites of pain. When I bring my awareness to them one at a time in a slow process of exploration of my body, I am able to ground my awareness in each experience. The swirling ceases and I start to feel a sense of the energy starting to come down. It all seems less overwhelming. I feel smaller, more contained, more finite. This pain is not everywhere and forever – it is in specific places just for now. There is comfort in recognizing this.
Even though it feels alien to bring affection and tenderness to you right now, this vessel that is making me hurt, this is where my practice moves me next. I see myself, in my mind’s eye, holding you, dear body, as a child, caring for it, loving it, seeing it, acknowledging it. I feel a hint of sadness as I feel the contrast between wanting to abandon you and starting to bring affection to you. You, dear body, have wanted to come home to affection the whole time – coming home is touching, a relief, as if there are tears of release because the resistance is over and there’s nothing left but homecoming and rest. I take a deep breath and know that I am taking a deep breath.
I feel that you, my dear body in pain, long to be touched, so I start to offer some massage. I bring curious awareness and touch to my hand, my wrist, my lower arm, my elbow, my upper arm. I wring my hands together gently and slowly, savoring the experience. I run my fingers over my scalp and savor that experience. I gently massage my cheeks with my fingertips and savor that experience. I offer the tenderness of a mother to a child; of my own caring instinct to you, my own body in pain.
I let you know that I don’t expect any more of you for the rest of the evening, and that I want to give you what you need. I ask you, “What do you need right now?” A hot shower comes to mind; as do soft, cozy sheets and permission to rest. I feel your relief at being offered rest, and my mind feels the relief as well. It’s hard work resisting pain – rest, warmth and comfort sound really nice right now.
I ask you, “What else do you need?” and you ask me to not abandon you again. I offer to do my best. Somatic Self-Compassion is my intention, and I plan to practice at every opportunity, but as always, the hardest bit is remembering. I will do my best to remember to open the door and practice being kind to you, my body. I will do my best to remember to come home to you again and again until one day, I will be eternally at home.
I hear you say thank you, and I say thank you back. We’re a good team, and we’re going to get even better. I need a home and you tell me that you need a householder. We can be those things for each other. And we’re going to love it.
With much gratitude for all you do and all you try to do,
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- Podcast Episode 9: Compassion in a T-Shirt: In Session with Kristy Arbon - June 13, 2021
- Somatic Self-Compassion Tree of Practices and Neurochemicals - May 2, 2021
- Podcast Episode 9: Favorite Things on my Morning Walk - January 27, 2021
- Podcast Episode 8: Slow News Days and Companioning the Neutral - January 22, 2021