Qi Flow, tidbits

Pain is the best teacher

It really is. It’s not the nicest nor the funniest but I learned the most about my body and my Qi through pain. Let me share what happened very recently. When people ask me about Qi Gong and what it does, I always tell them my own story of how I cured severe ankle pain. I injured my right ankle with qymnastics when I was a young teenager and ever since I couldn’t go dancing, shopping or do a long walk without being in severe pain with limping for 1 or 2 days afterwards. Until I discovered Qigong. I noticed small progress at first. After about six months there was no pain anymore after a day of strolling around town. Nor after a 3 day visit of the Angkor Temples. What a relief!

Until three weeks ago. That 3rd morning in Athens. After two days of admiring beautiful archeological sites spread all over town, I felt a familiar nagging in my ankle. I didn’t think much about it until the next morning. I almost cried out when getting out of bed. I hadn’t felt this shooting pain for almost 4 years. And there it was again. At first I felt angry and frustrated. “What? Why is this happening after 4 years of training? I should be able to prevent it!” But then my Qi Gong training kicked in. I became curious and investigated. And I discovered:

  1. When I’m in pain, I’m not centered. I am afraid of putting weight/pressure on the right foot/ankle.

  2. When I conquer my fear and center myself, there is no more pain. How contradictory this may sound.

  3. When moving (very slowly and mindfully), putting one foot in front of the other, I do it differently left and right. I keep the pressure/Qi of the right too much in the back which leads to pain.

  4. When I move left and right in the same way, placing my Qi in the front, the pain dissolves in a couple of steps.

  5. Sometimes the top of my right foot is tense, meaning no energy can pass, causing pain.

  6. I thought that relaxing and changing these habits would take time, focus and patience but after one day of really paying attention of how to walk, it was as if the whole thing never happened.

All this I learned from the best teacher. From pain. Only this time the sensitivity for my own energy was high enough to be able to sense the subtle difference in placement of energy. It took dedicated practice to develop this kind of sensitivity. But maybe even more important, I needed a still mind, one that could let go of the frustration and the urge to get rid of the pain as fast as possible. A still mind that could go through the fear of pain into a state of calmness and wonderment. To see pain as a gift, not something to run away from.

I am grateful for this wonderful lesson that pain thought me. A different body, a different life is here now. How about you? I love to hear your experience with pain in the comments.


PS: Want to learn to center yourself and find out what pain has to tell you. Work with it instead of against it? Contact me for one-on-one sessions!