If you know anything about me and my story you know that I am no stranger to physical pain. When I initially got hurt, I knew nothing about the mind/body connection. I didn’t yet understand that my emotional turmoil was getting in the way of physical healing. I was the ideal patient. Visiting doctor after doctor and religiously following protocol after protocol. Nothing worked.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to mindfulness that I started to understand that the mind and the body are not two separate entities. In fact, the only thing that actually separates the two is language. But the body has a language all of its own. My body was speaking to me in the best way that it knew how. It spoke to me through pain. The messages were clear. There were changes that needed to be made... DRASTIC ones.
Looking back, I am so thankful to have experienced the grip of persistent pain because it enabled me to make those necessary changes. It has taught me to always take a deeper look, and that is something that I can pass down to my children.
Case in point…
My daughter broke her leg last summer. She spent almost 2 weeks in agony until the swelling went down enough to cast it. She spent the rest of her summer in a cast, which she adjusted to almost immediately, as only children can do. She still played with her friends and went swimming. It seemed as though she was barely affected. But she was.
About a month after her cast was off she woke up in the middle of the night screaming in agony. We took her back to the orthopedic. They x-rayed her leg and told us that it had healed perfectly. They said that there was no reason why she should be experiencing pain. But there was.
Her brain had developed pain pathways and they were being activated for some reason. Luckily, I have experience with pain and I knew how to help her. I explained to her that when emotions get overwhelming the body sends us messages through pain. She’s only four, but she understood.
Last week she told my husband that she was having “growing pains” in her arm. She then informed him that she was having the pain because she was feeling sad. He engaged her and asked why she was sad. She told him that it was because she missed him. My husband had been busy with work and had not been home as much as normal. She then proceeded to tell him that the pain went away as soon as she told him her feelings.
Talk about a proud mom moment. I feel unbelievably grateful to have witnessed such a powerful exchange. I write this blog to help you, as a parent, teach your children how to discuss the interconnection between mind and body in an age appropriate way. Our children need to feel empowered and it is our job to give them the language to do so. The next time that you put a Band-Aid on a skinned knee, take the time to explain to your child that he or she has the innate capacity for healing. I promise you, it is worth the discussion.