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Hi. I'm Laura.

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Why We Create Pain

Why We Create Pain

For years I had upper back pain.

It was a sharp, pinchy feeling near my spine and shoulder blade. Massages didn’t help. I mentioned it to my doctor once, but there didn’t seem to be anything really wrong with my back.

But still, the pain persisted. I would wince and contort to try to find ways to hold myself that didn’t hurt. I did this awful maneuver where I would rotate my neck at a really odd, injured animal angle in an (often successful) attempt to pop my back. Negotiating the pain became a nearly constant preoccupation, like a program running in the background while I did other things. After awhile, I stopped seeing it as a problem to fix, and just accepted it as a new normal.

After years (7?) of enduring on-again-off-again pain, I finally went to see a chiropractor. After a thorough examination, he did some kind of black magic pop-pop to my back, and the pain was instantly gone.

The feeling of relief was overwhelming. I felt tall and open and free.

But the absence of the pain, the freedom I felt, felt wrong. This wasn’t my normal! Normal was aching and heating pads and pinching. I think I made it three days before I did my injured animal neck maneuver and got my spine out of alignment again.

The pain was back. Normalcy was restored.

A few weeks later, I went back to the chiropractor and told him what I’d done. He worked his magic again and the freedom returned.

I did this again. And again. And again.

After several months, I was finally able to leave everything alone and live with a healthy, free back.

But why did it take me so long? Why did I keep ruining things when they felt good? Why did I continue to create pain when I had a way to be free from it?

I had traded my pain for freedom, and that feeling was so foreign that couldn’t accept it.

Chronic pain has a way of getting you to support the status quo. If you have long-term dis-ease in your career, your relationships, or your health, get honest about what you’re doing to create that pain. Chances are, freedom is more available than think. You just have to be willing to endure the sensation of freedom.

Pain is free; freedom takes practice.

In the comments, let me know if you’re holding on to pain or limitations because it’s your normal.

  1. tara@taraleaver.com

    August 20th, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Such a great point and can be applied to so many things. After several years of working with my Tai Chi teacher/spiritual mentor, I have come to a place where there is almost no drama in my life at all. We’ve laughed several times about how deeply unsettling it can be to have nothing ‘going wrong’ in your life, and how that can lead to actually creating problems, even out of very tiny things, just to feel ‘normal’ again! It’s one of those things that doesn’t seem to get talked about much, but is clearly a Thing. I love what you say about needing to be able to endure what freedom feels like; we all want it but perhaps don’t always realise what it will look and feel like when it comes, and that it might actually challenge us after a lifetime of feeling bound in some way.

  2. icess.fernandez@gmail.com

    August 20th, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I can SO relate to this. Except for me, my dis-ease cut me lose which was find because I was looking for the next place to go anyway.
    But when I sat down and thought about it, I didn’t want to return to another job that I wasn’t enthusiastic about. And I just wanted to go home. I’ve wanted to go home for a very long time.

    So, I decided to do something different. I went home. Took jobs for the fact that they made me happy and am now working on establishing my blog as a business. Another thing I wanted to do.

    It feels so odd. I’m still getting use to it. I felt restless. I was so use to getting up, dressed, driving somewhere to work for 8 plus hours, coming home and going to sleep. Now, I have time to work on books, my blog business, and teaching which I LOVE. Don’t think that I still don’t get restless but the new normal will take some time to get use to.

  3. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    August 21st, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Icess, I’m so glad to hear this update. Hope you can relax into your new normal.

  4. jonesje9@gmail.com

    August 20th, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    My pain is emotional. My family was (and is still some) very unhealthy emotionally and took it out on each other. Being happy is just starting to feel okay and not selfish at age 30 and after 4 years of not living close to them. I missed out on a lot of good opportunities and people, choosing pain and struggle most times. Part of me feels like a failure when I base my journey on all the people that seemed to have a normal view of the world growing up. Another part of me thinks how I’m only 30 and I’ve made significant changes and improvements in that time; I have a long happy future waiting for me.

  5. tiffany.grantom@hotmail.com

    August 20th, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I know that if I get enough sleep, pray and meditate, and do yoga, I will be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fit for the path ahead of me. But I choose to stay up late, wake up cranky, get depressed about everything I neglect, and repeat the same destructive cycle all over again. I’m writing a book, building a business, and mothering 4. And doing none of those things to my satisfaction – not because I can’t, but because I won’t make myself do what I need to care for myself so that I am able to give my best to the life I am trying to build. I know that happiness, joy, and peace will be the fruits of my best. I have been reading and studying change, trying to figure out why I keep getting in my own way. Even if I have the information already in hand, it hasn’t yet changed my behavior.

  6. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    August 21st, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Tiffany, I’ve done a bit of research about the science of habits this year. From what I understand, you’ll have the best outcomes if you try to make one small change at a time. That might look like just going to bed earlier, for a start. You have a ton on your plate! Hope you can work your way into healthier self-care habits (something I’m working on, too).

  7. reneeb@thesoulsguidance.com

    August 20th, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    What a great article! I know exactly what you mean by holding on to pain. I did it for a few months with panic attacks that manifested out of nowhere. When I started to search inside for the answers, I could see that my anxiety was coming from not knowing what direction my life was going, from being afraid of uncertainty, and for feeling that I didn’t have the power to overcome what I was going through. I get it! The thing that stopped the panic attacks was cleaning the fear of the uncertainty, and they went away. Thanks for sharing!
    I want to talk about a different kind of pain though. The pain of limiting beliefs or unconscious blocks that stop us from manifesting the kind of life we really want. There must be something unconscious going on because I give my all to my work, with little return. I don’t expect things to fall into my lap (meaning I actually do the work that needs to be done to go after what I desire), but for some reason there is a huge block in my way. I feel disconnected sometimes.

    I have been putting myself out there for years, clearing my emotional baggage, tuning into my intuition, and really going after what I desire, but for some reason I am not being well received. I feel like I am struggling to keep this thing going. I lay my heart on the line, and I see that people are connecting with what I have to say, but when it comes to gaining support from them, they don’t budge. I love what I do, but what do you do when the manifestations (clients and income) isn’t matching what you desire in the career/business aspect?

    I figured I should at least reach out to see if there is anyone else that has gone through this type of thing?

    Thanks for reading – Renee

  8. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    August 21st, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Renee,
    I don’t know much about the specifics of your situation, but it sounds like you could use a dose of strategy and problem-solving. We *hope* that putting our heart into what we do is enough for us to make the money we want, but it sounds like you’ve done plenty of personal development work and could benefit from learning more from a business coach or mentor to solve the disconnect.

    Good luck to you!

  9. reneeb@thesoulsguidance.com

    August 22nd, 2015 at 12:39 am

    I agree. I don’t think it’s from a lack of effort, heart, or passion. I just may not be putting the pieces together as well as they can be put together. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I love your site, and I love stopping by to read what you have to say. Thanks again.

  10. niamh@createawholenewyou.com

    August 23rd, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Hi Laura,
    This is so familiar to me and I’m so fascinated by the idea of what’s behind pain and illness. I know for me that fear is a massive factor and every time I make a change in my life, pain and illness come back full force to try and force me back into safety.
    It’s all pretty complex and there are no quick fixes (for me, anyway) – just lots of awareness and self-compassion!



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