Pain isn’t always something to run from.

The body creates nothing, it is the mind that is in charge of creation.

A loose paraphrase from “A course in Miracles”.

If the body doesn’t create pain, why does it feel pain so well? Just well enough to decide that it’s under attack and should run from it.

Or does it?

What if it didn’t, and what we feel as pain is just our brains sounding an overdue alarm. What if, in those moments we made another choice?

Somewhere along the way I’ve heard this phrase “lean in”, “lean in” when it hurts, “lean into the process”.

Here are three “conversations”, that taught me how to “lean in”.

Conversation #1

My body talking to me when I do downward dog and hip openers.

I’m an amateur yogi, what started as a practice to please my Instagram fueled obsession with flexible sexy bodies and my desire to have one, has blossomed into a beautiful ongoing dialog between my heart and my brain, using body a shared language between the two.

In the book, “The Body keeps the score, by Bessel Van Der Folk. He talks about at length about how the body stores trauma from the span of our lifetime, and beloved, I previously owned a set of tight hips and taut hammies.

Which is why, I committed to stretching everyday. Getting all 200 pounds of me into whatever bendy, uncomfortable position that I pulled up on youtube, that focused on hips.

The first few days were maddening.

Why couldn’t I do more?

What’s wrong with me.

It hurts, it all fucking hurts.

I spent several sessions grunting like I was in labor. It wasn’t until around the second week, that something miraculous happened. I noticed my posture was changing. I twerked in the mirror and my body looked different. Less, girl throwing body around haphazardly and more flowy, coordinated, and dare I say… sexy.

Could it be lord.

The next day, face down in frog position, I found myself hitting that old “it hurts wall”, but this time, I met it with breath. I asked, “what would it feel like to be flexible”, “what would it feel like if this position was easy?”.

That’s a lean in, acceptance to look at where you are with love and compassion + grace to know that it’s okay if this is the beginning.

Conversation #2

My partner telling me he didn’t know how to like my daughter.

Driving down the highway at 80 miles an hour isn’t the best time to try and storm away from a conflict, but that is exactly what I wanted to do when he told me he was struggling to connect with my daughter.

“So you don’t like her”, I said, “what thee fuck am I supposed to do, we have to break up, obviously”.

No, he said, with the a type of calm frustrated exasperation that comes from loving someone like me.

It means, I’m being honest, it means I’m willing, it means I’m asking for help.

Oh.

I said quietly, almost pouty, but moreso embarrassed about my reaction. About how the trauma that was bubbling within me had somehow found its way AGAIN, into the lap, drenching the pants, and seeping into the ears of someone I love.

I was scared. I felt threatened nd my body way doing that thing where it send signals to my brain that we are facing death.

Perhaps, had we not been in that car I might have stormed off. But here I was again, with all of the universe conspiring with me presented with a a chance to lean in.

Communicating fully is the opposite of being traumatized, Bessel says, he also says that for traumatized people, the fear of coming up on the losing side once again, can feel are in life t like death.

That about sums it up.

Something beautiful happened that day, I leaned in. Then we had a conversation.

A conversation that actually resolved a lot of tension I was feeling. Wanting her to love him and him to love her, but being to afraid that they wouldn’t, so I kept them apart.

I was afraid of getting in a situation where I wouldn’t know what to do, didn’t have the answers, couldn’t fix it, and if anything went wrong it would be ALL. MY. FAULT.

Childhood trauma is a mutha.

That’s a lean in, community that is willing to support hold you tenderly while heal + being vulnerable.

Conversation #3

A shady ass internet quote snatches my wig, and reads me for the filthy normal human being I am.

Here’s that raggedy bitch that got me, right here.

“ A man who won’t truly commit is the perfect man for a woman who isn’t mature enough for a healthy relationship in the first place”.

There I was, innocent ole me, hours deep into scrolling and reading things on Al Gore’s internet when my feelings were accosted.

6 or so times a day, I am firmly reminded that if I were a woman, THEEwoman, he would make me his woman.

But this, that right there, it was highly flammable ass sunflower oil on an open flame! Course ass artisanal Himalayan salt on the open wounds of my soft ass heart.

I turned my phone off. I went for a walk. This hurt.

I already felt like I was failing by not securing the ring after all these years.

Intuition said, look deeper.

People that live their life always taking offense, are living in defense of something.

I know, I know…

Lean in…

If it hurts chances are it’s the trauma, stored and housed in the memory of the body.

Past it, on the other side, the grass really is greener.

So I went on and leaned in, if nothing else I endeavor to always be clear about myself. For the past year, a humbling year, the deepest year of my saturn’s return I’ve learned just how emotionally immature I was. How closed off to life I had been, because instead of taking in new information my mind was in a trauma loop, just looking for the past and reliving it.

Same worn out scritp with new fun fresh faces every time.

I wan’t healthy. I was controlling. I was manipulative. I was unwilling to compromise. I was the toxic narcissist everyone is always telling people to run from.

I was also innocent, scared, healing, learning, figuring myself out, and doing my best.

My therapist would ask me to reflect on my self talk, I’d say it has come a long long way.

That’s a lean in, accept, forgive, and release. Could I look at myself with love and sit peacefully with what I saw?

The course says, everything we create is either from love or fear, that we are always creating and truly there is only one thing that is real. Love. Anything else is an illusion. Maybe my body was never really in pain, perhaps it only thought was.

Leaning in, showed me there is always something else I could think. You know me, I love a good thought.

I could think that whatever was happening felt painful, what if I could also think that it was new, perhaps even interesting.

I could think that I was scared just as well as I could think that I was brave. I could think that I couldn’t, in the same amount of time that I could think of how I could.

Lengthen. Unfold. Expand.

Three words, a tiny spell, I tell myself when I hit that pain wall in yoga.

Accept. Forgive. Release.

Three more words, a tiny spell, I tell myself when my body wants to do the 100 yrd. dash in a new situation.

I love you.

A huge spell I say whenever.