What Is Your Biggest Ache?

2014-10-06 09.20.21I have a few people in my life who noticeably ask their clients and friends, “What is your biggest ache?” It’s often a good place to start when one commits to healing, moving forward, and discovering any emotional blocks that need attention and release. I’ve also given thought to this question and encourage others to ponder what longing and heartache has shown up for them.

Some people may first think of physical ache–maybe there’s that pesky knee pain that doesn’t seem to go away. What I’ve found consistently in my reiki and coaching work is that physical pain is often linked to emotional and spiritual challenges, even with a physical basis (ex. event of injury). Often our biggest pain and longing is an emotional journey of grappling with what cannot be or what never was.

“Our biggest ache” can pervade our lives and affect us in both conscious and subconscious ways, holding us back and limiting our joy and peace. One of my own biggest aches that again recently brought me to tears is my inability to have children. Endometriosis, age, single-hood and finances are all primary reasons for “no,” and I’ve needed to reach a place of trust and acceptance with this issue.

Ignoring our aches will not help us heal.

What do we do to stop or at least ease the ache?

Whatever our ache, we need to honor the necessary grieving and healing stages. And you will know best what you need to grieve and heal–after you allow time to get quiet and listen and slow down to hear and feel what you need to grieve and heal. That is, if you’re ready to not be stuck in the ache. Just as with grieving a loved one who died–and maybe your big ache is having lost a dearly beloved through death, we need space and time to process and be able to make room for this grieving and releasing.

Perhaps another part of this aching, grieving and healing is acknowledging that in most cases, we can admit that part of the ache is that our lives did not turn out as we expected. We can’t always quickly accept this element of the ache, but I’ve found it’s important to recognize the gifts in how life has unfolded for us and how we can still be joyful.

In what ways can we healthily soothe the pain?

As part of managing and healing my biggest ache, I’ve always made kids a priority in my life, whether it’s being Aunt Erika to my friends’ kids, nannying, babysitting, or daily being extra-sensitive and kind to kids I meet. The fact that I can always choose to enjoy kids in my life brings me sincere joy and soothes the ache.

And what if our “biggest ache” is also our “biggest ache right now“? Like chronic pain in any sense–physical, emotional or spiritual, we may choose to not live in it and trust in our ability to shift even the deepest pain.

What is one next step you can take for greater peace and healing?

© Erika M. Schreck, 2015. All rights reserved for photos and words.

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Are We Listening? Our Bodies Are Talking

A little more than a week ago, as I walked ever-so-carefully in a slight heel on an uneven sidewalk, carrying my tarot cards and crystals and other materials for intuitive card readings I was scheduled to do at an event, I fell. I couldn’t even tell you how exactly it happened, as I was being so careful, but there I was, knees dug into the cement, the contents of my basket spread out on the sidewalk, and stinging, heavy pain in my knees, which now gleamed with blood and snugly held some sand and gravel. Stunned, I collected my spilled items, stood up with new pain and kept walking to my appointment.

What just happened? Why? I looked down to see little-kid-scraped-knees. I felt vulnerable. With the-show-must-go-on attitude, I didn’t mention what happened to anyone at the event, cleaned up in the bathroom and continued with more than three hours of card readings, de-prioritizing the stinging and weeping of hurt knees that would later get the peroxide, salve and bandage treatment.

One of the neat aspects I enjoy with my reiki work is helping clients understand why certain pain or injury may occur in certain areas of the body. With deeper understanding, we are able to better heal our ailments and respond differently. While I tune in to intuitive messages about why discomfort exists, I also rely on universal symbolism for symptoms in the body.  For example, when I pick up tightness or strain in the hips, usually there is some resistance to moving forward, feelings of being stuck or feeling an inability to move forward in some area of life. Additionally, I find that we hold a lot of fear in our lower backs, especially when we’re worried about money or other forms of order or structure in our lives. Pain in our knees can often mean fear of the future or our or others’ mortality, or realizing where we need to take steps to advance, among other meanings. In addition to these insights, I will always ask for the message inherent in the client’s body, just as I encourage all of us to ask our own bodies for our unique messages and then trust what we hear, sense, know, see.

If the body could speak, what would it say?

The body reflects our thoughts, emotions and spirit — my hands have intuitively felt this for as long as I have practiced massage and acupressure. A stiff shoulder carries the weight of the world, a locked jaw holds unspoken words, an injured disk reflects a lack of support.

Could this body language be revealing the subconscious mind, and could it possibly hold a key to the healing process itself?

~ Surja Jessup, Alchemy Institute of Hypnosis

We can blame age, and perhaps we’ve had an accident or injury that explains pain in our body. Even given these legit sources of pain, I believe in also listening more deeply and intuitively—and symbolically. One of my print sources for reference in healing and listening to our bodies is Ted Andrews’ text The Healer’s Manual (2006), which offers some neat perspective on healing our bodies, as well as several tools for healing our physical, spiritual and emotional selves. Sometimes we’re just not getting the lessons, so our bodies seem to amplify what we really need to know—and may even make things hurt or ache or sting or whatever, in order to get our attention.

It has taken me a while to learn to listen to my body….  What I’ve learned, FINALLY, is that when I over do it with running I get injured.

~ Rick Kraics, “Turning 35. Listening to my body,” Run Faster Dad blog

We can learn so much by tuning in to our bodies and intuition, and we can increase our clarity and recovery time by receiving healing bodywork like reiki. Intuitively and energetically responding to long-time pain in our body can lead to amazing, positive shifts.

When I consider my recent fall and knee scrapes, I take notice. I first realized that the Universe is trying to get my attention, given the sudden, unexpected nature of what happened. The instant messages seemed to be about slowing down, paying attention to (and moving forward with) passions in my life that need more of my energy, and noticing my flexibility (or inflexibility) with certain aspects. There’s more I discovered, but my point is that I asked—I asked my body and listened, I researched, I’ve received reiki, and I’m making some adjustments. And I’m healing.