I have a #storytime for you guys about how powerful emotions can be in terms of physical pain. I’m going to start off with a little background on Nick and I. First of all, we are EXTREMELY different. Although we grew up in the same city, we did so on opposite sides. I was sheltered in my safe suburban neighborhood where the only people I saw were little Italian nonnas!

Yet Nick’s neighborhood (and thus, his worldview) was unpredictable, unsafe, and often violent. There are pros and cons to both experiences, and we have SO many theories on what each situation does to the human psyche. While I never had to fear for my life, hurt someone, or be hurt myself – I am NOT aware enough of my surroundings and I’m highly out of touch with my primal instincts. And while Nick is scarred in many ways from the crazy things that happened in that world… he is incredibly capable of protecting himself and holding his own. He doesn’t back down. He is smart as a whip, quick on his feet. The bond he shares with his brothers (blood or not) is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, because he quite literally had to trust them with his life – over and over again. I learn so much from his primal brain and his protective nature. Yet at times, the PTSD-esque fear that has never left his being holds the both of us back from new experiences.

As you can imagine, traveling is tough for him. A man who learned to be suspicious of everything and everyone must quickly adjust to & trust new surroundings and people. Which brings me to the present: since we’ve been in Costa Rica, we’ve met some amazing local friends. Yet every time I’d ask Nick if we could invite them to our place, he would shut down, retreat into old fears, and go into protection mode. Many of these were rational of course – it’s not wise to have strangers know where you’re staying. But after 3+ weeks of getting to know a select few individuals, I (with my instinct to trust + nurture) was yearning to welcome them into our home and cook up some comida.

As of 3 days ago, he was still unsure. That day, I began having INTENSE shoulder pain! Nothing unusual happened and I was not injured. Swimming, walking, even sleeping hurt. I looked up the emotional factor and of course, it relates to ‘carrying a burden on your shoulders.’ I didn’t feel stressed, so I didn’t understand what this meant.
Last night we finally had our beautiful friend Josue over for dinner. As I sat on the couch with him, laughing and learning Spanish, I realized that I was no longer painfully aware of my posture. I was able to put pressure on my left side. The pain was disappearing!!

I knew in that moment my pain was from carrying the burden of Nick’s worries on my shoulders. It kills me when I see him avoiding beneficial experiences & friendships due to his past. I put a lot of the responsibility to help heal that on myself – and of course it affects me too because we are a couple who has experiences (or not!) together. When he let go of the fear, so did I. I was quite literally + physically, feeling his burden.

I woke up this morning completely pain free. And while I know there are SO many factors that go into physical pain and illness, emotional blockages and burdens are one of them. This emotional stagnation weighs on us & slows down the flow of our innate healing energy (Qi or Prana in Eastern medicine). “You have to feel it to heal it” – the more you acknowledge and move past/release these negative emotions and experiences, the more you free up that energy to do its healing, restoring, clean-up work!

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  • KasumiKriss says:

    I really liked reading your story. It was very helpful. I am going to look more into this as this may help me solve things from a different perspective 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • This is so helpful, thank you!

  • Kristelyn says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for writing this. I have been learning to listen to my pain more and it is helping! Just yesterday I was experiencing a nagging headache all day and I am pregnant so I was doing my best to avoid the pain numbing chemicals. I realised that I felt overwhelmed with daily life and it was just building up. I saw a word on my phone before putting it away before bed. It was a photo from an app I don’t remember if it was Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or neither. The word was: Surrender.
    That was all I needed to see. I said “ok” and just said out loud to myself that I’ve been trying too hard to keep things under control, and I had to just let it go. I started crying and just cried it out. My headache started fading , I felt a weight lifted off of me , and I went to sleep peacefully rested in the hands of a Love.

  • Gina & Red Scott says:

    Beautiful story and example of how you came to the realization. Yes, we too carry each other’s burdens. We are very active and no injuries yet when one of us is going through a past pain, or current stress, the other tries to take that from them because we love and care. We are learning this process and we appreciate your help!!

  • Sally says:

    I would like to see the entire publication of Where Emotions Get Stored as Physical Pain in the Body. How can I do this?

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