My ‘knee-trouble’ that I shared about in yesterday’s post has me thinking about pain. I wrote that I’m grateful that I can dance without pain. Now, that’s not entirely true. Like any physically active person, I’ve gone through lots of pain: aching limbs, sore muscles, creaky joints. So what I meant more precisely is that I don’t have injuries, no chronic pains.
I’ve had to undergo a lot of dance-pain to develop my skills. So when is pain good and when is the body’s warning signal to stop, stop right now? This seems to me a crucial question! To gain strength or grow your musculature, you are actually tearing your existent muscles and asking the body to repair it. So there is some real pain going on in the body as you exercise or use it. And that’s part of its growth.
Another reason this topic fascinates me is because of its parallel to emotional pain. In many situations ‘pain is good’. It’s a sure indicator that you have reached your old limits. This is the limit right now, your pain tells you, and the only way through it is to face and bear that pain. The question is when is it too much? When is the agony, physical or emotional, a real plea for you to stop doing what you are doing?
With my body, I just know. I can tell if it’s a bearable good pain or if something is wrong. Sure I don’t listen right away and keep pushing my boundaries (hence some recurrent lower back issues etc), but I know when my body is screeching as opposed to wailing. A screech is bad; a wail is okay :p
Emotionally, what I’ve experienced is that emotions long to be heard and expressed, and the real pain comes from being denied. Then the pain of it clings onto us and becomes a part of us, like a tumor. Honestly, I don’t really understand the nature of emotional pain. What is its screech; what is its wail?