Why Do We Feel Pain?

Pain is a messenger.

Our body has many forms of messaging; emotion, feeling, and sensations like discomfort and pain. These are the languages the body uses to communicate a message to our brain or our conscious awareness. The feedback system that we all know to be true is the most simplistic language of the body: I touch the stove, I feel pain, I remove my hand. The pain is a message "get your hand off of there or you are going to burn."  It is pretty simple, our reaction is automaticWe do not question the purpose of this kind of feedback. We do not question the meaning or usefulness of our body's capacity to communicate in this way.  This is the simplest form of communication. It is very cut and dry. It is very clear.

The messages also come from deeper and more complicated places. I see the example above as the kind of communication that happens on the surface of things. But the complexity of our body is as vast and uncharted as the ocean. So complex that there is not a person on this planet, even with all the technology and intelligence,  who completely understands this complexity. There are experts on our parts, generally on the physicality of our parts. We have gynecologist, pediatrists, optometrists, dentist, neurologist, etc.  There are people who know things regarding the energetics of our parts, like the chakras, the meridians, the energetic blueprint. No one is an expert on how all the parts (physical and energetic) work in relationship to one another AND the world around them. Needless to say, these human bodies are infinitely complex. So the communication from the body to our conscious minds can be equally complex. This is the language of the depths of the ocean. The meaning and significance can come from uncharted territory. 

The majority of us, the majority of the time exist on the surface of this ocean. Generally floating in a boat we will call The Mind. So The Ocean is the body and The Boat is the mind. In our boat we often get messages, simple messages from the body that come through our thinking experience, like: "Hey, I am hungry!", or "excuse me, I have to go pee." Again, there is no difficulty in determining the deeper meaning of these messages, because there really is none. It is pretty simple, pretty surface, and fairly clear. What we don't realize, if we spend all of our time in the boat, is that there is a whole conversation; an exquisite, complex and very intelligent conversation happening in the waters beneath us. If we have never even put a toe in the water, then we do not yet have the capacity to understand the language. Fortunately, with a little practice we can learn a few words, enough to have a chit chat. And with a lot of practice we can become fluent.  Every time we jump in we learn something new. Every time we swim we increase our body awareness and body intelligence. Each time we dive deeper we gain more acute skill in listening. Because of this we can often hear the whispers of the body before they become loud and intense. Like the heat sensation before you touch the stove is a whisper, and the pain when coming into contact with the stove is the yell. In this case, practice equals jumping in the water, getting out of the boat over and over again, to swim in an ocean of intelligence that is the watery depths of our own body.  Sounds great, doesn't it?

But then there is pain. And when there is pain... the last things we want to do is swim towards it. We want to get in our boat, and we want our boat to have a fast motor so we can get the hell out of there. This is reality on the surface. If I put my hand on the stove and it is burning me, I am not going to stay there and contemplate the meaning of the pain!

For the swimmers in the room, the practice of being in the water has gifted us with many things; one being an increase in our capacity to listen and communicate with our body, and with that a known awareness that there is so much more here than what is on the surface.  And it is not all pleasure and joy, it is deep and complex and often frightening. But is amazing and our curiosity is peaked. And because of this, when there is pain, we know, there is also more than the pain, we know it is a form of communication.  And this can make all the difference in the world. 

In the motor boat, we want to speed away, find someone to give us an answer, a diagnosis, a treatment. And all these are important, just like pulling your hand off of the stove is important. But, like I said, there is no one in the world that understands the complexity that is you. Painkillers are a lovely thing. They are even more lovely if they give us the respite we need so that we can jump off the boat, and find something more interesting in the depths. In this case, jumping off the boat, does not mean running away, it means turning towards. Pain is always a message. We do not always listen. For we can only hear the messages and decipher the meaning when our conscious awareness is at the level the messages are coming from. We can neither listen nor hear anything from the boat. And some messages come from a place so deep that we may never even hear them in this life. But if you practice swimming and deep sea diving, your curiosity will not be satisfied at the surface.  

Get out of your head. Move your awareness into your body. Start feeling what is happening there. This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths at the stoplight, or doing a body scan before you go to bed. Every day, find a way to dive in a little deeper. A daily meditation practice, present moment awareness, moving meditations like yoga, sitting in nature with internal awareness. Slow the boat, put your toe in the water, eventually dive in. Start exercising your swimming muscles and this will increase the depth and meaning in your life, increase your intelligence and allow you to hear the messages. These practices, over a lifetime, will keep your boat from being taken down by pain and suffering.  If you are not in the boat and you are a really good swimmer, you cannot be taken down. You may become tired and weary at times, but you will not suffer. Pain does not equal suffering. Pain is pain. Suffering comes with being stuck in the boat and not knowing there is an ocean of possibility under the hull. Remember, the boat is your mind... full of stories of the past and worries about the future. The mind can be a beautiful tool when used to serve the deeper meaning and wisdom of our lives. But when not connected to full body awareness or the deeper sea of meaning, our minds generally take us for a ride. Kind of like a jet ski, not really going anywhere... just burning fuel and making a lot of racket. When we are being taken for a ride, this is our opportunity to jump ship, dive inward and get more intimate with your own body, its intelligence and its languages. In this way, we don't have to wait until our body is yelling at us... we can hear the whispers. 

Brilliant Medicine is a medicine that encourages you not to run from the messages that are coming from within, but to rather turn towards them and take a deeper dive into yourself. This is one of the reasons why the medicine is sustainable. When we don't listen, the symptoms have a tendency to come back again and again. When we do... we can heal.


Why Am I So Tired? Re-Sourcing: Personal Remedies for Fatigue

Often the answer lies simply in Re-sourcing. I use the term frequently in my work to describe a crucial element of our lifestyle. To re-source is to fill up our internal stores of energy; to enhance our bodies resources. Our resources are our riches. Our riches allow us to thrive in our life. It benefits us greatly to find effective and lovely ways of re-sourcing. 

We use energy in our movements and our work in the world. We use our resources, and therefore must replenish them. When we don't, we become fatigued, we burn-out, we wilt. What happens when you do not water your houseplant?  

We have stores of energy, nutrients, blood, fluid, and Essence that are the resources of our internal environment. They keep our body working. We rejuvenate these stores with food, water, the air we breath, with sleep and dreams, and with our own personal ways of renewal; time in nature, a bath, time alone, meditation, yoga, cooking, tea with a friend, putting our hands in the dirt. There are many ways we can choose to do this, but choose we must... 

Many imbalances in the body stem from a lack of resource. These imbalances may lead to symptoms from fatigue to restlessness. Lassitude to anxiety. Depression to insomnia. The self care necessary to replenish is worth it's weight in gold. If we do not take care of ourselves, then we cannot take care of another. If we do not take care of ourselves, then our bodies start to suffer and we are less capable of doing our work in the world. If we do not love ourselves enough to put ourselves first, then how can we truly love another? 

I treat so many people that are running on empty. Shoot, I find myself there frequently. We can only run on empty for so long before things start falling apart. It is simply how the material world works. I will refrain from the automobile analogies. 

The buzzing energy of running on empty usually circulates in the upper body, causing symptoms like headaches, dizziness, anxiety, neck and shoulder tension, over-thinking, or hot flashes. It is very common that this buzzing is accompanied by an undeniable fatigue below it. And the most popular go-to's for feeling tired are caffeine and sugar, which accentuate the upper body buzzing and the deeper fatigue. 

When we listen to what our body is actually asking of us, we find forms of re-sourcing that have to do with grounding this buzzing energy and taping into the nourishment of a deeper frequency. We may be called to slow down, settle in, to be quiet and actually rest. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes. Our source energy resides in our lower abdomen and pelvis. The Dan Tian, which is below the navel and above the pelvic bone, stores and generates a deep frequency of energy that resonates with the Earth. It is kind of like our battery pack. Plugging into the Earth in whatever way (breathe in Nature, connect bare feet to the ground, meditate into the Earth, hug a tree... really!) not only gives a ground to the buzzing energy of running on empty, but we also receive energy from the Earth to recharge our batteries. Ground the buzz and boost the energy. 

It is Essential your own authentic practices that re-source your center of vitality. Literally; of the Essence. For our center is our Essence.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Read a book in the hammock
  • Go to bed early
  • Take a salt bath
  • Dance by myself
  • Walk in the woods, sit by a tree, listen to water
  • Meditate
  • Sometimes is as simple as taking a few breaths of fresh air. 

Many of these help me to plug myself back into the Earth, which is analogous to recharging a device. Literally, we are electric beings, and we must not only recharge, but also balance ourselves out with the magnetic. This means rest and relaxation, luxuriating, taking moments of doing absolutely nothing. Often we have run on empty so long that we also need some acupuncture and herbs. We need to re-set and then re-source. Brilliant Medicine can re-set the imbalances that cause the physical symptoms of fatigue and burn out. And help uncover ways of re-sourcing so that you can thrive in your life. 




Is More Frequent Acupuncture Better?

The number of treatments and the frequency of treatments is determined case by case. More frequent does not always mean better. For some people, more time between treatments is important. For others, less time between treatments would benefit them more. When assessing your condition and intentions, together we come up with a treatment plan based on what is being treated and your body's response to the acupuncture. 

Many people do actually need more frequent treatment for what is going on with them, so I am opening up more clinic time on Fridays. Frequent Fridays are 45 minute acupuncture treatments that you can schedule for yourself. Because Fridays are awesome! And it is a wonderful way to celebrate a week well lived. 

Acupuncture is rarely a one-shot deal. It works cumulatively, meaning one treatment builds on the next.

The motivation behind creating Frequent Fridays is from your requests. Those who 1) desire to receive acupuncture more frequently, 2) are experiencing acute pain or injury situations, 3) are needing treatment in quicker succession, 4)  are wanting weekly treatments to help calm stress responses. 

You can still schedule full hour treatments with me on Fridays. If you are taking herbs, or want cupping or bodywork, then schedule a regular treatment (45mins will not be sufficient). Frequent Friday treatments consist assessment and acupuncture only. For existing patients, I am offering these treatments through January 2017