Hi from Bondi,
With winter solstice here we’ve arrived at what most people call the middle of winter, the longest day but down here at Bondi Beach, we’re a long way from winter in the traditional sense. Sure we’ve got camels on the beach (of course it’s Bondi) and we’re getting the ice skating rink back soon (again, of course it’s Bondi) but the real test of winter for us locals is the water temperature and due to El Nino, the water is still quite hot. Even the whales, which are usually coming past right now, are confused by the late hot water. Mid July is what we call mid winter when sea temperatures are bloody cold.. (still hotter than Melbourne).
BONDI BEACH WALK WITH WALKER COACHING IS BACK TO NORMAL (WOO HOO!)
Coaching on the beach is back on now that my spine has been removed, reworked and restrengthened thanks to the team at Prince of Wales… Dr Coughlan .. amazing surgery, an ALIF and for those interested here’s the video…I had three discs done – the video shows just one, so it’s a pretty amazing surgery and I’m at least 1-2 cm taller now (warning don’t watch if you get squeamish.)
REFERRALS THANK YOU
A big Namaste and thank you to those people who referred friends and companies to me this last month. We’ve done a great job working hand in hand to help get 25 new people through significant personal challenge and back on track and as well as getting two new business’ off the ground and introduce “Inspired by Nature” to three corporate teams.. Again, great work to everyone…
NOW, THIS WEEKS ARTICLE – PAIN
Pain exists in nature. Pain is not punishment for being bad. Pain is not a sign that you’ve fucked up or being paid back for the past. Pain is not a sign that you’re off track. Pain is not something bad created by the devil. The most important thing you need to know is that pain is as important in life as pleasure.
If you become obsessed with pleasure, then pain is seen as a testimonial to being messed up. It’s not. Pain is as important to nature as sunshine. You are nature, so never forget that. The conditioning that separates you from nature is religious and you inherited it. Don’t feel bad about it. Your parents and their parents and their parents and back 200 parents were beaten to death for non conformity to those delusional ideas that you are not nature and that sin is eliminated by being good. It’s totally a complete jerk off but who was to know it?
Sometimes it’s super confusing. You might be in pain. You feel it’s terrible. You beg for no pain. And even think not being alive might be better than pain. But you can make pain you friend. Instead of wanting it gone you can believe that pain is taking you to somewhere you wanted to go, even asked to go.
I was in pain and I thought to escape that pain I could jump off a cliff. It’s sort of funny because I had asked for love and I was in a place where there was no love, so the pain was actually taking me to love but I was so fearful I didn’t want to try it. Sometimes we mistake our fear of the unknown for pain and we call it wrong.
To really deal with pain there are three steps:
- Do a diagnostic and work out what’s really hurting
- Do Pain management so it doesn’t escalate
- Fix it
Before we discuss remedy for pain it’s important to understand the source of it..And this takes up the first part of this article .. the second half is cure and remedy… So, lets dive into diagnosis and cause first. 99% of all pain relief is knowing, accurately the cause, diagnosis is therefore a critical step…
Is it pain or has it escalated to suffering?
There’s big difference between pain and suffering… Pain you know will end, suffering is pain you think will never end or you don’t know when it will end.
So, in this case, cleverly we want to make sure that any pain we have we make sure we know that there’s a solution. That’s the best way to start … to know there’s a solution even if we don’t know quite what it is. Sometimes we can learn this by reading about others who’ve gone through what we’re going through, we might not know how they got through, but the fact that they got to the other side and are happy, is knowledge enough. This is why it’s important for parents to show they have confidence in getting through pain. When I went through a divorce I didn’t believe I’d make it to the other side and ever get happy again until I met a monk with nothing, a therapist with resilience and a child in poverty to realise that they were happy and they had less than me… This turned suffering back into pain and with that, I set about finding the real cause and cure.
Seven Fears – Seven Pains
Delay is the deadliest form of denial. -C.N. Parkinson
The longer we sit in pain the harder it gets to fix. That’s why stuff that’s been in the “vault” for a long time can take a bit of chunking down. The best process is instantaneous. To achieve that, we need to quickly get to the root of it.
The seven fears of life create seven opportunities for pain. Sometimes we mask those fears, put them in a vault, hidden from view and use bravado, substances like food, alcohol or drugs, or even prayer to overcome the fear and the pain. (We need to be grateful for whatever we get to use to overcome those fears and pains.) But the sooner we’re willing to deal with all the multiple levels of pain, the quicker we’re back on track and the less secondary damage we cause.
First find out the root of any fear around a pain:
- Spiritual: Fear of Breaking A Moral Code (heavenly punishment, bad joss, letting others down)
- Mental Fear of not knowing enough (rejection and boredom)
- Career: Fear of Failure (meaninglessness and worthlessness)
- Relationship: Fear of Losing Loved Ones (being alone, unloved)
- Financial: Fear of Poverty (vulnerability and powerlessness)
- Health: Fear of Ill-health (death, disease and disability)
- Social: Fear of Social Rejection (violence and other destruction)
Second, Stop causing more pain that it needs to be
I can help people get out of pain relatively easily and I’ve done a lot of it, but it’s really hard to deal with pain about pain. Lets say you’re marriage is on the rocks or your car gets stolen, those things are events and we can sort through them, but when we’re in pain about being in pain, in other words angry or ticked off that we’re in pain about something, it means we’re doubling the trouble. It’s like getting something wrong and then being angry at ourselves for being angry about being angry that we got something wrong. “I shouldn’t be angry but I am.” The pain of getting something wrong is bad enough without adding the pain of being disappointed in ourselves for getting it wrong.
So the second step is to see if we are judging ourselves for getting ourselves into the situation and if we are, to stop that in its tracks. In the chart above we can see the there’s a layering of responses to things that happen. Lets say you got the flu, you can say “I’ve got it and I hate it” or “I choose to be here and deal with it.” Adding pain to pain is a really bad way to fix pain. Every-time we say Got to, or Should, or even Need to, we’re adding pain to pain. Best stop it before it adds a secondary pain that makes double trouble. The ideal is “I choose/love to be here in this pain and learn from it.” (that can be a stretch but it is always the ideal option)
Third Step – Damage Control
Pain is like a virus. If left unchecked it can invade all the seven areas of life as well as others around you. Damage control means compartmentalisation or in other words, big picture thinking. Lets say there’s a financial pain, what most people do is to turn the fire hydrant toward the flames and leave the rest of the village without water for a month. In other words “in the process of fixing one pain, they cause ten more.” Damage control means isolating the pain to it’s single area of life while maintaining absolute zero tolerance for lost respect and balance in the others. All too often people will say “I’m in pain” (stressed or under pressure) “at work” and “THEREFORE….my ignorance and misbehaviour in my health and family life is justified.” That’s a fire spreading to all rooms in the house, rather than being contained and relatively easily dealt with. This is sometimes easier than it looks because although we have a clear understanding of what we think is the main pain – like money – it may have its roots in another matter. But at least by compartmentalising a pain we do not get into the “all or nothing” mindset that “my whole life is a mess” when it can’t be (defies nature’s laws).
Summary of diagnostics
Containment of pain to either its physical or emotional roots is an essential step in healthy self management. We must not allow pain to spread to self depreciation or generic disappointment in all life in general. This involves going down a grade from suffering which is really hard to tolerate and treat to a pain which can be treated and fixed involves accurate diagnostic. Often, those closest to you are the least able to see this and therefore it’s wise to seek one or two opinions on the real cause.
1. PROCESS FEAR
The first level of intervention on any turbulence or pain is fear management. There are many potential solutions for it but I prefer the following:
- Create and define a worst case scenario and accept it. The fear of something happening is often more painful than the something.. We do tend to over dramatise the worst case.
- Learn to be “in the Now” with what’s going on around you. This simply means be thankful for small things right now and in a sense live in the moment. The bigger the fear, the bigger the pain, the more we automatically live day to day.
- Swing the focus onto what you can do rather than what you can’t do so you make the best of your situation.
- Learn to breathe from your abdomen … breathe in longer than out.
- Place a pen between your teeth sideways so it creates a smile on your face automatically (this has a huge impact on brain chemistry)
- Hold your posture so that your back is straight or slightly arched backward.
- Stay amused with activities and do not allow time to feel sorry for yourself while at the same time accepting this situation needs to be worked on.
- Don’t make it worse or let it spread.
2. OVERCOME DOUBT
When pain comes doubt can come. Doubt is as painful as pain.
No matter what the source you’ve diagnosed as the origin of your pain, you have a right to claim the territory that is your pain free ideal. Like “no matter what I’ve done or not done I am worthy of love” or “My financial worth grows with each hour of time I invest in building with thankfulness.” Or “I heal as I grow.” This is hard-nosed commitment to affirming the best. If we weed a garden and don’t plant flowers weeds grow back. Likewise when we don’t stick thoughts into our mind, weeds, like doubt, grow. It can also be a great time to vision the future.
3. REGAIN TRUST
To manage pain one must trust. Trust the healer, trust the doctor, trust the system, trust family, trust the universe. Trust is often the first victim when there is pain. “why me” or “what did I do to deserve this” as if it is a punishment. I use the universal laws but there are many ways to regain trust during the pain management period.
We evolve at the border of chaos and order. If we see the chaos coming, it’s not chaos. If we feel the order we can predict a chaos. Chaos is pain.
At the end of pain there is growth. Whether it is business, personal, financial or family pain, the growth is only made harder by holding onto “how things used to be.”
The more we hold onto “how things used to be” the more pain we experience for longer. I’ve shared a 7 step letting go, evolve yourself process and it’s a foolproof way of fixing pain.
So here’s how I applied it to my own life over the past 5 years of back pain and surgeries.
Step 1. Discard: During this five years I’ve had to let go so many of the things I really wanted and loved to do. Many of them were dreams and hopes. It’s hard work but in the end nothing is ever missing just changes form and so, the realistic approach is to see that there’s nothing to let go of, only an acceptance of a different form of what I loved to do. When my legs went, I paddled a kayak, when my back went, I swam, when my body sank I took photos and spoke at Nepali events. Nothing missing, just changed in form. I learnt to adapt.
Step 2. Cellular: I went from 92 kg of sporting muscle to 82 kg of bone and skin. I dumped low grade fuel and took on super fuel. Cellular health became an obsession rather than muscular. I knew that cellular health is 90% mental and so I searched for beauty in everything, even the passing of a close friend.
Step 3. Environmental: I thinned down my possessions, sold much of my not needed history and cleared my mind as my space. I obsessed with getting outdoors, working outdoors and simply, when walking wasn’t possible, looking at documentaries and videos about nature’s beautiful mastery. This to me was and is a big healer. I learned to love nature as a friend and healer. I went and put myself in the sun, touched the earth, felt trees. and I kept my space and home clean and beautiful. We kept the house windows open all through winter.
Step 4. Values… This was my greatest challenge. It took so much discipline to keep writing articles and doing podcasts when I felt inadequate or exhausted from pain but I knew the value of staying true to my priorities. I think this was a great help in healing the pain. I used skype and all sorts of media systems to communicate with people all around the world and frankly found skype better that working in real flesh for some people.
Step 5. Vision …. I do feel that it is the loss of vision that is the cause of most physical and emotional pain for people. I am no exception. Sometimes it’s just hard to see yourself in a global context when, in my case, my back was screaming in agony. But that’s the beauty of the human body, nature’s bible, she’s a big picture machine with infinitely small gauges. I worked and worked on the “visions” of the future, and of course that is what I recognised as the original trigger for my physical pains.
6. Self Talk … Surrounding myself with books from antiquity, books that have stood the test of time. Books about universe and nature and creation that are not text books but books written with awe. It is easy to find this online on Youtube and vimeo. Stories about great nature, great universe. And these stories rebounded back into my consciousness beautifully. I wasn’t seeking education. I was seeking validation.
Why do we have pain?
Some people don’t live their dream because they’re afraid. They think that one of the seven or all of the seven fears will come true if they live their dream. They might want to sing on stage but they don’t because of one or more of their fears.
But the greatest cause pain is not being inspired and not living your dreams. That will kill you faster than anything else. Inspiration and gratitude heal and empower, and if you’re not doing what you love, you’ll feel ungrateful and desperate. Your illness may be your wakeup call to start living according to your true highest priorities.
Sometimes we are obsessed with approval of others, partner, boss, friends, parents and although we say we’re doing our thing, we do it in fits and starts. We really fear breaking the ethics of some perceived authority (can even translate into universe, religion or partner). Morals are the rules you impose on yourself, and ethics are the rules that others impose on you. Many people let those fears stop them from doing what they love and expressing their mission because they fear that others may not ethically approve of them.
All of this leads us to physical pain.
If an athlete is pushing too hard for the future, they will tear a hamstring. Which came first the thinking or the torn hamstring?
Now I’m not saying we can avoid health problems. My friend ate healthy, did yoga, went to many self development workshops but got breast cancer. It’s not a sign of failure it’s a sign that you’re ready for the next level of learning. Don’t beat yourself up. Life is about learning. Take the hit on the chin, learn, heal, fix and get back on the horse.