Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pain Has More Important Messages for Us Than "Ouch!"

Pain has been on my mind a lot lately because I have recently experienced more of it than at any other point in my life.  Just before my broken foot was to be deemed officially healed, and I would get the go-ahead to resume my normal life, I was diagnosed with shingles.  I knew nothing about this condition -- except that it hurt, a lot.

Shingles is a viral infection stored in the spine after a person has chicken pox. It affects the nerves and can develop into a serious condition called post herpetic neuralgia (PHN).  This complication causes burning, itching and nerve pain, and it can continue for months or years.

I am one of the 1 in 10 shingles patients who develop PHN.  Ouch!  Many of you know I've chosen to grow through life instead of just going through it, so you won't be surprised that I have already asked the question: What am I to learn from this situation?  I know, the more usual response is to just want the pain to stop, no matter what we have to do to accomplish it, and I can relate to that, especially in the middle of sleepless nights.

However, with my doctor's approval, and after completing several courses of the recommended anti-viral medication, I decided to forgo pain meds.  This was not easy, but I'd already learned some valuable insights that made it worthwhile to walk this path.

I learned from past situations that pain is not always a bad thing.  Pain can be a gift, a friend, a valued early-warning signal that something is out of balance in our bodies.  Pain is a message that something is potentially harmful to our being (physical, mental, emotional or spiritual), and it gives us the opportunity to do something about it.

I also knew that when I have a question, the Infinite Intelligence within me knows the answer.  It's my job to be focused and supremely aware of what comes into my consciousness that commands my attention.  I had also learned from earlier experiences that it is much easier to receive insights from our inner wisdom when our bodies aren't busy digesting large amounts of food and our minds are still and receptive.

My first breakthrough in discovering the message in the shingles was the result of an e-mail from one of my physicians.  She knows that part of my chosen path in life is clearing the shadow side of me -- the invalid thoughts, needs and hidden life patterns that block good in my life.  Her suggestion was that I go back in my "mind's eye" to when I had chicken pox, as whatever was "hidden" in the track of the shingles (in my mid-back and heart area) had been there since then.  I was to ask myself what life was like in my family at that time and get in touch with, as she said, "What I hadn't accepted and integrated into this life."

My feelings were pretty basic, and self-centered at that young age.  Coming from a large family, I felt abandoned, unsafe and fearful, and I thought I was unworthy and unlovable.  As a result, I decided at an early age to protect myself from being hurt by this situation and placed a shield around my heart.

Obviously what I didn't realize at the time was what such a strong and emotion-filled thought could have on the rest of my life.  According to past medical information concerning my heart, it had started to "harden" slightly years ago, and a current test showed an additional "hardening of the aorta" since the outbreak of shingles.  If the tie between our thoughts and emotions affecting our physical body seems far-fetched, remember what Jesus said and millions have confirmed -- It is done unto us as we believe.

This strengthened once again my commitment to learning whatever I could from the messages this painful condition offered.  I believe unequivocally that invalid thoughts, beliefs and life patterns that have been stored in our subconscious for ages can block our good for our entire lives, and affect every area of our life, including our health.  Fortunately I also learned how to replace the long forgotten and hidden negative directives with positive, life-enhancing thoughts.

Naturally my attention was riveted on the first message about my heart, as I know that my very life depends on a healthy, functioning heart.  I also believe that healing my heart means opening fully to love God, self and others.  I spent time selecting affirmative declarations that spoke to the core of me.  I repeat them daily: I declare today that my heart is the center of Divine Love and perfect circulation.  Love flows through my heart, eternally blessing me and all with whom I come in contact.  My loving thoughts stimulate my heart into healthy action and sends new life to every part of my body.

The other clear message was of being fearful and feeling unsafe ... that no one "had my back."  Since I know the opposite of fear is Faith, I repeat daily: I declare today that I have Faith, Trust and Confidence in God-the Universal Life Force-Goodness-Truth-Beauty--the eternal verities of life, and me.

Naturally, I included a powerful affirmative statement for healing the ongoing pain of postherpetic neuralgia.  Each day I say: I declare today that I am filled with the strength, power and peace of Spirit.  The life forces flow freely, peacefully and harmoniously through every cell of my body.  I am healed of all cares and worries and relax into perfect peace.

Granted, no one would consciously choose intense pain as a way of becoming aware of how our bodies communicate with us.  Yet, sometimes it takes a two-by-four between the eyes to get us to stop and pay attention to our bodies, especially on an ongoing basis.  As for me, I bless and honor this advance warning-opportunity to do my part to clear and cleanse invalid thoughts in my subconscious in order to allow my body to do what it does best--heal itself.
Copyright 2012 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author's books: "Tea with Elisabeth," recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; "You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World," and "The Heart Knows the Way--How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within," are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.