I remember many years ago I began reading up on Buddhism in an attempt to try & alleviate some of the struggle & pain in which I’d engulfed.
This was back when I was quite sick with Anorexia; so obviously it seemed way easier to address my problems by diving headfirst into spiritual exploration & existential questioning than it did to eat a sandwich.
Of all the things I read on this topic over the years, the lesson that has always stood out the most, & simultaneously pissed me off the most, is the teaching that suffering is created not necessarily by specific situations, but rather, our resistance to such situations.
Now as someone with a fair amount of trauma littering her past, the idea that my “suffering” wasn’t related to the actual situations I was thrown into as a kid sounds like utter bullshit. And it would be if that were the point of that teaching, but I don’t believe it is. I believe the suffering being referenced is about that which we experience as decision-making adults vs. children at the mercy of adults.
But I’ve come face-to-face with this teaching a lot over the past year due to this injury.
I have physical pain: there’s no denying that & that pain has very little to do with my refusal to accept anything, though I most certainly made things worse by continuing to train the way I did. But I was legitimately ignorant about the severity of what was going on.
But after a couple hard mitt sessions a few weeks ago, I sent myself into a spiral of pain (again). I set something off with this injury & haven’t had a single moment free of pain in the 3 weeks since. Today I’m at the point where I’m just sick-to-fucking-death of being in pain bc it impacts my life significantly. It impacts my well being. It sinks me.
So as I’m sitting or laying somewhere thinking thoughts of feeling sorry for myself & being angry about how this is the Never Ending Story of my life. I remember that lesson: suffering is resistance. And I think to myself, “What are you resisting?” And then I get super irritated at myself bc ultimately I want the answer to be NOTHING.
This is being done to me. Sure, I did this by over-training & not listening to my body & pushing too hard, too often but I am behaving now & yet still I keep experiencing this pain. I am not resisting. I am being attacked. Targeted. Unfairly ambushed by fate. God. Goddess. The Easter Bunny. All of them. Everyone is after me.
But you know what’s killing me?
It’s not just the pain, & I most definitely am not downplaying the pain, but it’s that I refuse to lay down & quit trying. I won’t just sit around. And when I have this kind of flareup, I get anxious by thinking that I’ll never get better. That pain is going to be my ongoing reality. That I won’t be able to do most of the activities that I enjoy & that make me feel good. That I’ll get fat & soft & weak & out of shape.
I don’t accept this as today’s reality bc I’m terrified this means I accept this as permanent…even though other Buddhist teaching are about lack of attachment & impermanence….but I’m not a Monk so cut me a break.
I’m not exactly sure what my point is. I suppose it’s simply shining the light on that fact that I realize I make the experience of physical pain worse by not just accepting it as where I am today. Admittedly, It’s tricky bc I have been struggling with this for over a year now. I’ve had a lot of “today’s” filled with pain.
But I do have good days…I’ve actually even had good weeks.
And perhaps if I’m super honest with myself, I might find that when I trigger these soul-crushing bouts of relentless pain, I’ve often (but certainly not always) caused it by not respecting where I am “today.”
I still want to be where I was when I could walk & move & train without any concern of pain.
I still want 100% from myself bc I haven’t quite wrapped myself around what my new (& hopefully temporary) 100% looks like.
Or the fact that asking 100% of myself today doesn’t mean the same thing it meant over a year ago.
I’m not sacrificing my body for the pursuit of skill perfection or athletic evolution.
That sacrifice cost me greatly.
I guess today’s 100% isn’t about pushing to my limit & then 10% more. Instead, 100% is about listening & respecting my body for where it is & what it needs 100% of the time….which realistically will mean 75% of the time.
I’m not very good at it yet. I think I’ve been resisting where I am. I like this reality: it sucks. It’s painful & unpredictable & unstable (physically) & hard to navigate.
And while this resistance doesn’t account for my physical pain, it sure accounts for my wanting to lay in my Lay-Z Boy after work & eat bags of candy in pants with elastic waistbands.
That is why they invented Spanx, after all.
But I’ll resist the urge to give in & instead accept what I need to do today without concerning myself of what I might find tomorrow bc what I have learned is that tomorrow will most certainly not be better than today if I don’t respect where I am & what needs to happen today.