It’s hard for me to right in this moment – as evidenced in that “right” versus “write” as I kicked off. I’ll tell you a bit about why since I apparently can’t focus on anything more grand or insightful right now.
It isn’t my typical emotional and mental overrun that has me grounding back in my body as I type. I don’t need to remember my physical body right now because it is in full spotlight. My body isn’t typically very pushy. But when it is, it’s like the bouncer telling my brain and heart, “Back of the line, toots. The front is taken.”
The skin covering my rib cage is ON FIRE. I’ve suffered my share of pain in three unmedicated childbirths, two broken feet and 20 years of migraines, but – as most of us do – I tend to forget the strength of intense sensation.
Many of my clients lived in the unignorable every day until they found a New Way of meeting their pain. And there are innumerable New Ways. The one that I’m most versed in is learning to feel yourself instead of run away from yourself.
I’ll affectionately dub this Armor Up or Open Up.
We’ll use me as an example right now. The primary sensations – the LOUDEST you might say – are the burning, itching, and tingling. Holy cow they are strong. But if I quiet, there are more. What else is in here?
Close my eyes. Pause. Feel. (I’ll even write with my eyes closed for this next part so I can stay primarily in feeling.)
Loudest is the itch at the sternum. It feels like it offers no relief but wait… the strongest itch travels from the right side of my sternum into the depth of my tissue where I feel it exiting through my back just behind my shoulder blade. Woah. Now a tingling of electricity in my shoulder as I’m with that feeling for a breath or two.
But the left side of my sternum. It is quieter. There is less itch over there. And what I do feel on that side is actually moving forward and out of the front of my chest wall into space. How fascinating.
What else is in here?
Next loudest is the itch in my upper chest. Again, more intense right of center than left. Some sharpness left of center.
Can I feel where the itch in the right upper chest stops and no sensation begins if I go outward? hmm. That’s tricky. But I can feel that in my armpit itself I do not itch. The soft flesh just in front of the armpit shivers with sensation. It’s got some stuff going on too. Again, stronger on the right than on the left.
But all so subtle. No way I would know without typing with my eyes closed right now.
Moving onward to peer through another thicket, I find…
My left armpit and the soft flesh in front of it are quiet. That arm can even be heavy as I allow it. The right arm still on alerted stiffness and shoulder in military “Atten-TION!” with it’s irritation.
Then there is the lack of breath. I am bracing against the itch. It’s been a shallow and tight breath thus far.
My jaw was locked on until this pause too. As I find it, it releases on it’s own and I feel that my facial muscles were all in contraction.
That natural release of my facial muscles and jaw gets me to wondering… What feels the opposite of this intense discomfort? Well, my legs are at ease. Not a bit of itch. Throbbing of blood in a rhythmic way. My nose is quite cool. Not a hint of the heat southward in my rib cage.
As I make this connection of opposites and discover coolness in this same house of a body where the fire rages, I find an involuntary sigh.
And now, now I can feel the tightness in my sternum. Like it is glued together. I begin to massage the soft tissue between my ribs. Tough. Dense.
My shoulder releases. My neck softens. A lack of sensation now. The itch and heat subside multiple stair steps.
Holy cow, the right side of my neck is tight. Now I can feel that. When I began this exploration, my neck was buried deep under my level of awareness. I had to follow the winding path to find it nestled below.
Short story, I am in a break-out of hives.
I could leave it at that and go to a doctor for a cortisone shot. I may still do that at some point. That is an option to get me through this.
But there is so much to learn here. There is so much to feel and discover in the hills, valleys and rivers of my awaiting body. And I still have to be in the discomfort while it runs its course. It is intense. It could be overwhelming. And I can bring my own tools into the mix – my honed toolkit of feeling and breath and movement and more feeling – to open up to them. To release the armor that my brain wants to clamp down in defense of the discomfort but, unwittingly, actually clamps down AROUND the discomfort.
My sweet brain unintentionally had locked me INTO the hot, itchy, and burning.
The itch just has something to tell me. Shivers run through my chest and arms as I write that. I don’t know what talk my body is trying to have with me right now but I do know one thing.
It’s pretty pissed at me. 🙂
As I write those words, I giggle and my whole chest softens. As does the discomfort. Yet again.
I feel my chest release just a hair in the tension and bracing.
Expansion. Over and over again as I’ve been feeling and sharing with you all, expansion.
A million ways to soften inside of the pain, the discomfort, the reeling thoughts and emotions. But in order to do so, you have to choose a road less traveled.
Armor up or open up. If we armor up, we insulate from the world but we also isolate from the world. If we open up, we flood outward. All of our Being floods outward into the Space that awaits.
huh. To return to how I started, “It’s hard for me to right in this moment.” Well yes, it is because there isn’t a “right” in this moment. There is infinite sensation and unlimited ways to explore it.
After all, what have you got to lose? Choose differently. And discover more.