On Pain & Happiness

all-about-painWe were returning from Christmas holidays 2 years ago and on the way back home, in the car I made up my mind and decided to enrol in sophrology studies. I did not have any special goal, any expectations but most of all I was totally unsure how I would cope with  highly specific studies in French. I also imagined all people who would be much more competent than me. But…the subject intrigued me for a long time and I felt the eagerness to learn something new, something that discloses the functioning of mind and body and that it will do me a good. After the first lecture I wrote “Stillness”because at that time my whole being was in a state of surrendering to life as such. As if suddenly the quiet of the room and falling of the snow were telling me it is perfectly all right to be there among the others who were brought to join the very varied group for different reasons and goals.

We had fun together, we witnessed shyness, clumsiness as we tried our first techniques of relaxation, we felt embarrassment as we were shown techniques that required total exposure of body movements in front of the others, there were tears and excessive laughter due to release of various blockages. I met two wonderful girls – pretty, witty, troubled, going through problems that life brings to all of us. I had the chance to listen to some doctors and psychologists who were very interesting. I will never forget one of them – once too explicit and flirtatious and the other time very humble and balanced who announced us his retirement. This touched me deeply – witnessing a sort of farewell to a professional career, so rich and yet it was announced with calm and nostalgia. It made me think about a purpose of life, its inevitable cycle and richness one can experience when doing things they love. He was the one who told me that if we have doubts about ourselves it is actually very good. It will prevent us to stagnate and do things automatically as it often happens to those who think they are perfect.

I learned a lot – about different problems that sophrology treats such as anxiety, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, burn-out, preparation for exams or competitions, typical troubles of adolescents or elderly people, stress, low self esteem, pain issues. The second year flew very fast and there was a time to choose the topic for the final thesis. I was of course driven to deal with the chronic pain syndrome, then dismissed the idea in order not to stick to my personal story but at the end it was the topic I decided to write about. I worked with a person with chronic pain issues and it was challenging to be there for her and not to become her. To listen and not to tell her too much how she should or should not do things. To let her find her own way. To help her find pleasure overshadowed by the suffering, to step out of her identification with the pain, to rediscover the inner resources she already had but was probably not aware of…Let her talk even if it was long and petty but it was vital for her. I enjoyed the work but also despaired many times feeling that it brings no results. I felt useless and other times happy because after the session I had a positive feedback. I became aware of my limits – personal, professional and also of my value. The studies and practical work showed me there is no need to depend on what is felt and said by others. I dug deeply and reopened the past wounds. The pain needs to be felt and acknowledged before it can be dissolved. I tried to pass the message that in order to manage the pain well we need to get rid off the blame. I understood and accepted that if I do my best that is the only thing that matters. I made peace with the fact that you cannot change the character (I will still blow up from time to time) but you can change significantly your reactions to and perception of others and their behaviour.

I tend to decide spontaneously, more with my heart than with my reason and yet I have the tendency wanting to understand everything. The saying says the heart will always make you act like a fool but this time I am grateful for the adventure it set me off to. I accomplished something I desired and dreamt of with the support of my family and friends. It made me believe that dreams come true if we put a sufficient effort and love into realising them. Until the last moment I was not sure I can make it but I worked hard and I believed. It went all extremely well to my surprise and I have felt happiness of succeeding as probably never before. Many people tell me now that I am a sophrologist. It sounds strange and I still have the tendency to diminish the success and change the subject but I am getting much better in congratulating to myself. Anyway, what I feel deeply inside of me is that I am still the same girl, wife, mum, colleague, friend, daughter, sister as before but now with a little plus –  I believe in myself, I really do.

I wish you to believe in yourself too and to keep on questioning. Merry Christmas and let the new year be a good and kind ONE.



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