Why it is Time to Lean into the Pain!

[The trick is] to realize that the pain isn’t something awful to be postponed and avoided, but a signal that you’re getting stronger — something to savor and enjoy. It’s what makes you better. ~ Aaron Swartz

by Pete Ferguson

I’ve been fighting a cold all week. It is kicking my butt and drains me of all energy by around 4 pm each day.

But last week our family started doing Tae Bo together to get us moving at night instead of sitting in front of the TV or snacking.

To be honest, when I get home, I have completely dreaded the thought of having to exert that much energy, but I’ve made a commitment – and I need to be in much better physical shape – so I do it.

Rather than resisting the pain, lean into the pain.  Resistance is what causes greater pain. ~ Rebecca Miller

And an amazing thing happens, as I start, it is a real drag, but about 10 minutes into the exercise, the endorphins kick in, my lungs open up, and the sweat begins to pour and I start to feel alive again.

Psychologically, I have had to lean into the pain many times. There have been issues at work I’d much rather “ostrich” and burry my head into the sand as the storm blows over. But then I realize I will not learn or grow if I passively “sit one out.” So I dig in, and lean into the “pain.” Sometimes the pain actually comes – of course often it is all just imagination and I get by just fine.

As a kid, I was absolutely terrified of calling someone on the phone I didn’t know. It was sheer torture. In college, I took an “F” on an assignment in a communications statistics class when we were supposed to work in a call center for four hours. I showed up, made two cold calls, and was physically ill. So I checked out.

I’m not sure when or where it happened, but I learned that I could turn on a part of my personality and not internalize the situation and now I have little to no problem picking up a phone and making a call if it is something I understand well. It didn’t all happen at once, but over time the imaginary pain felt subsided. Now I feel it for a second, push it aside and make the call.

After the death of a loved one, leaning into the pain is a daily event. Each new day brings with it new challenges. But we get out of bed, we move forward with the day, and the pain eventually subsides and the heart heals.

When it comes to exercise, it took several good coaches to push me through the pain to where I now can lean into it on my own – but still always appreciate the extra support as I climb faster and stronger.

Oh yeah, Steph was the one who pushed me through the other night and has kept me going each night since. Thanks babe.