In a recent post I talked about pain as part of a spiritual journey, particularly as to facing inner pain. There’s another big way that pain comes up: from the shifts and transitions that arise when practice or exercise or release, etc. changes you and the many systems with which you are entwined have to accommodate.
It’s probably easiest to understand when it’s physical. I’ve experienced it in a couple of ways. In the early days of getting body work I’d been doing yoga for several years already so my practice was well established and I felt very comfortable in the poses I knew. As the massage therapist unlocked some of the major muscles I found that it completely altered my balance in a lot of poses—it was like re-learning my practice. Every time some of my muscles opened, other muscles had to readjust and while it didn’t hurt, it was the first time I understood that my body really is a system and when one part changes other parts have to accommodate.
More recently I’ve seen the physical shifts in connection with the Bodypatterning work combined with my triggers of release practice. For instance, every time my left hip lets go and moves closer to proper alignment there are shifts across my low back and in my right hip and sometimes in one or both shoulders and sometimes the new placement is painful. It’s generally not too bad and it’s always been easy to work out, but when parts of your body are reorganizing not every arrangement they hit is comfortable.
When you follow a spiritual path there are many ways in which you are likely to change from relaxing to detaching from old issues to developing more compassion and more. Similar to the physical situation, your family relationships and friendships become systems that are organized around all the personality traits and behavioral patterns of their members.
When one member begins to change behaviors and let go of aspects of personality, the shift forces everyone else to readjust. Sometimes other people won’t accommodate you as readily as your right hip accommodates your left. Worst case, a friend of mine wound up divorced and estranged from her children, who thought her new path was crazy. I’ve also seen people who met their authentic selves and became happier and threw it all away in order to keep the status quo with family. More often a long period of discomfort, misunderstandings and shifting behaviors ensues until some new–and usually MUCH better–pattern sets in.
Your own internal equilibrium can also be thrown off as you work through emotions or release a lot of the past. When I went through the Fischer Hoffman process I really threw myself into it, combed through my life and beliefs, did vast amounts of release work, etc. By the end I’d let go of so much I really wasn’t sure who I was any more. The facilitator called this “the void” and advised me to just sit with it and not try to grab onto an identity because I’d probably just reconstruct some part of the past
Over the years some sense of self has emerged but I’ve kept working and letting go and there are some ways in which I’m still wondering who the authentic me is. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t make me all that uncomfortable. I know some people seem to find it intolerable to be without that strong sense of self but I’ve been okay with it and enjoy watching the process of becoming. Sometimes shifts just mean going through emotional ups and downs or manifest in some other way.
On every level and in every aspect of your life transformation creates miracles but most often it also requires many phases of readjustment that aren’t necessarily easy nor comfortable and sometimes they hurt. When you sign on for the journey you take on the probability that you will experience growing pains like these. Are you ready? Do you have your own stories of readjustment or abandoning growth to avoid the change?