And what it tells us
In the spiritual world (yoga world included), we often think that pain is not only an indicator that something is wrong on a tangible level, but usually gives us a signal that something deeper is transpiring.
Some of my friends and I refer to the book You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay any time we have a cold or ailment, or if something more major happens, like when I broke my baby toe back in September. I didn’t just break it, I broke it and then kept re-injuring the same toe over and over again, and for almost three full months, my toe was in some significant pain. It was all swollen, and no matter what I did, it just wouldn’t heal.
I couldn’t even wear high heels!
Finally one day, after slamming my toe against a door frame, I called my SoulSister sobbing. I just couldn’t get a handle on this toe thing, so I knew there was something greater for me to look at. Through my tears, she quickly researched “broken toe meaning” and found this from Louise Hay:
“Fear of the future and not stepping forward in life.”
Crap. I had just started teaching again, and was so concerned about burning out that I wasn’t focused on anything but the fear! And moving forward, stepping forward, with my broken toe was not only painful, but horribly awkward and not at all cute since I couldn’t wear any of my cute summer/fall shoes.
It was then that I decided to pay more attention to how I was acclimating (or not) to my new employment, and make sure that I wasn’t as focused on the past and how I left my work in Massachusetts, and begin to turn things around to create an easier transition and walk gently forward in life.
I’ve often heard that if we have a lesson to learn, it comes as a feather, a brick or a swiftly swinging 2×4! I don’t think this was quite the 2×4, but I’d easily call this one a brick.
I was replaying old feelings, trying with all of my might to avoid old patterns and emotional traumas by shutting down and keeping an emotionally safe distance from the kids, my co-workers and my engagement with the job.
Totally not my style.
And so, I took my pain and every day began doing emotional healing work on clearing blocks regarding my fears around being in the classroom again.
I was doing yoga, meditating, using the sage to clear energy (if this is too woo woo for you all, it’s cool. I’m not asking you to do any of this!)… and slowly but surely, I, one foot at a time, began to walk confidently and gently into my life and into my cute shoes once again.
Today, every time I’m in a forward bend in yoga class, I look down at that little toe and see its imperfections. It healed awkwardly larger than I was hoping, and has a little more character now than it did before, but it no longer hurts and is still a perfect part of me.
The pain I felt throughout the initial and healing process was a major indicator that something was wrong, and I knew that by not paying attention, that poor little baby toe was going to get beat up like a 5th grader on the 8th grader playground. I couldn’t let that continue to happen, so I accepted the pain for what it was, and moved on from there.
It is so often that we don’t pay attention to our pain and just let it continue, or we get hit over and over by the 2×4, which never feels good. We continue emotional, physical and mental patterns that keep us in our own broken prison, creating disease, fears, and ultimately pain. And while pain is a great indicator for a more significant problem, it’s what we do when discovering the pain that heals us the most.