From the prism of Pain + Breath-work exercise
“How can you relate to my pain? Things I’ve gone through and endured. How can anyone understand my Pain? It’s not possible. It’s not the same. My heart was broken. I was betrayed. Do you know what this means? I will never be able to trust anyone again! My happiness is gone! All I’m left with is so much pain. How can you or anyone relate to this pain? My pain!?”
I can feel the soft breeze of cool air from the rain touching my face. There’s a power cut due to the rains and everything is dark. The only light that comes is from the diyas and votives. As I sit here in this dark, trying to write about this experience.
These words feel so familiar. I feel as if I’ve said these words before. Many times! Each time I close my eyes and think about her words I can only think about how close her agony feels to me, as if it’s me who is in pain and not her. As if she and I are in the same boat, wrapped in the same skin.
Even then, I wonder, ‘Is it possible that I don’t understand her pain?’ Her words have taken me back to a time when my world had come crashing down. I was in pain. All I could think about those days was closing my eyes and escaping into a world where pain didn’t exist. The memory flashes before my eyes, its been so many years but it feels as if it happened just now. The memory is too painful for me to revisit. Each time I do, I can only feel my skin burn with anger. The betrayal, the pain, the trauma. Even today, it feels too much.
As I watch the rain, I take a deep breath, almost as if to calm myself, her words come back to me, “My happiness is gone! All I’m left with is so much pain!”
Once again, I shut my eyes and started to think about my own happiness. I’m happy today considering the pain I had to endure back then. It raised a question that felt very unsettling. ‘Was my pain, less compared to her pain? Was my pain not that painful? If it was painful, how is it that I’m happy today? How is it that I laugh and smile and have a good time today? Was my pain less compared to her pain? And if that’s true should it not make me feel calmer considering It wasn’t as painful?” But I felt far from calm.
All I could think about was I’d once said the same words. Exactly the same way. Is that just a mere coincidence or does everyone in pain feel the same way?
I remember someone told me something beautiful a long time ago about my career. I don’t recall her exact words but it was something on the lines of, “You have the capacity to take in pain. The way it feels and the way it reflects. I admire you for it.”
Today as I sit here and write about this, I realize I wasn’t very happy when they’d said it. It felt as if it was a bad thing. “How can taking in pain be a good thing?” I said to myself. After years of practice and working with women, just talking with them when they are in pain, I think I can safely say it was a compliment.
In my present moment, I smile just thinking about this.
Yes, I understand pain. Yes, I can relate to pain. I’m not an unhappy person. But I know how it feels when someone’s in pain. The desperation, the anger, the feeling of suffocation, the hope that this pain will end someday, looking and searching for a way to solve things, make things better again, feel normal, just like before. Yes, I understand pain.
The more I write about this and think about this the more I realize that pain is so personal. It’s so deep-rooted that it’s possible to feel as if no one will ever understand it. But the fact is that it may not be that way. When we’re in pain, our judgement is not always helpful. Its foggy and confused. We’re at the verge of shutting everything and everyone out, it’s understandable to say that we may not be okay with anyone’s pity, concern, counsel, sympathy or even love.
Anger quickly replaces pain several times because our confusion gets the better of us. Anger makes us feel in control of this pain. A way to try and make sense of this pain.
But a question comes to mind as I write, ‘Is it only because I went through something that made me feel so empathetic about pain? Would I understand pain if I wouldn’t have gone through pain myself?’ I immediately start thinking about the people I’ve encountered in my life who seem to have never been affected or felt pain. A few faces come to my mind and quickly fade away. Eventually I conclude that we’re all aware of pain. In some form or the other.
We’re all afraid of pain too. That could be one of the reasons why we don’t listen to the pain someone maybe going through. The possibility that it may hit close to home, trigger the pain we’ve tried to overcome is daunting.
With the help of the candle light I quickly go to my book shelf and pick out a book that reflected something close to pain. It wasn’t the exact same thing but close. I pre-ordered this book because I’d been following the author on Instagram and I was so nervous to read the book. I wasn’t prepared or aware of the emotions I may go through. So what if it wasn’t a direct connection to my life? I was still nervous and yet very anxious to read the book and the stories. So, with an anxious heart, I opened it and slowly kept reading.
Today as I talk about pain, I thought about this book.
I don’t have all the answers yet. I’m still searching. I’m still trying to understand. I know sometimes we shun pain away because we’re not sure how it would affect our lives if we were to go through that same pain. Sometimes we feel as though people are callous because they seem to have it all, no care in the world, free from pain but the more I think about it the more this callousness feels like a defense and oblivion. Morality and humanity are yet to be taken into consideration. But from a stand-alone perspective it comes across as defense due to known or unknown fear.
I’m not sure how this helps anyone. How understanding about pain will help anyone. And as I conclude my thoughts on pain, I can listen to her words again – “How can anyone understand my Pain? It’s not possible. It’s not the same.” I smile. I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. Pain is Pain. There’s no rank or degree to which pain can be measured as worse or better. All we can do is be supportive, not judge and be kind.
The lights have come back on. But I continue to sit here for a while. Look at the rains, as if washing my pain away!
THE BREATH-WORK PRACTICE -
I hope this breath-work helps I your pain. It helps me calm down. I often use this during my sessions with my clients and they feel emotional and calm and lighter.
Sit/lie down in a comfortable position.
Place your left hand on your heart and right hand on top of it. Close your eyes. Initially breathe normally. Once you feel centered and focused, take a deep breath, inhale – hold for a count of four – Exhale. Repeat this minimum of 5-6 times, maximum as 10 times. Be gentle and slow with the practice. If you feel light headed or dizzy, come back to normal breathing. As you inhale and exhale focus on the pain that you’re going through. Allow the thoughts to come during the practice. If you cry or fee emotional it’s okay, let it out. Close your practice with rubbing your hands and placing it the palm on your eyes. Open your eyes slowly and journal your experience. It’s okay if you fall off to sleep while practicing.
I highly recommend you read this book. And practice this breath-work.
Thank you so much for stopping by.