Pain: a love story

When I was born, my feet turned in (“pigeon toed,” I believe it is unceremoniously referred to). In 1971, the treatment was to turn my feet in the “right direction” and then cast my legs all the way up to my hips to force the growth like tree branches being bent into pretty shapes.

One of the sets of casts put on my tiny legs at birth.
A set of tiny casts that were on my legs at birth.

My fate was much better than my Mom’s, who had to wear braces, but I was given special exercises to help my feet to grow forward facing.

The result of my deformity at birth and the consequential cures left me with ankles that sprained easily and with legs that would feel full of hot daggers after a gentle hike or night of dancing.

Over time, I started to feel critical of myself. Not realizing that my body had been twisted out of alignment. I was young. I “should” be able to run and jump and do whatever I wanted, so I turned on an inner critic that would badger me every time I felt resistant to being active.

In my late twenties, I had fears that I would be in a walker by the time I was thirty because of the immense pain I experienced from doing fairly ordinary things that other people seemed to enjoy without ever thinking twice.

By grace and happenstance, I read a lovely book on Insight Meditation and started to practice on my own. I started to apply the practice to my own body. I started to breathe into the places where the pain was and to bring love, compassion, and life force with each breath.

Very quickly, I noticed a huge shift. If I was conscious about my knees and ankles and breathed into them while out in Nature or on the dance floor, I felt fine the next day. Over time, it seemed like I had found my way to being “normal,” whatever that means and no longer had to be so vigilantly mindful of every single breath while using my legs and feet.

Later on, as I started to work with plant medicines and Entheogens, they taught me how to, even more deeply, bring my conscious awareness towards my pain, physically, mentally, emotionally . . . and how to do deep healing through being loving, kind, and compassionate towards the pain I held in my body, mind, and spirit. This practice, along with some other deep experiences and training, lead me to the powerful transformational process I now do with clients, which I call “Subconscious Success Repatterning.”

Some people may be surprised to hear that the work I do on the subconscious level started out as a practice for healing the physical body. If you know much about whole being health, you will not be surprised to hear that challenges in the subconscious make their way into everything we do – our thoughts, feelings, actions, and body (health, vitality, movement . . .).

I was able to use this practice in my practicum for my Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology through California Pacific Medical Center, Marin General Hospital, Marin Cancer Resource Center, and the Institute for Health & Healing. I was able to apply this process across many different cases – mothers with labor pains, post-partum depression, women fighting cancer (dealing with pain, fear, grief and other challenges), patients unable to sleep, patients dealing with nausea and pain that was not able to be controlled by pain-killers . . . and since completing that internship, I’ve been able to use it to help people with eating disorders, addiction, depression, and mysteriously stuck and repetitive, painful cycles of self-sabotage, scarcity, and survival.

I received 1600 cumulative clinically supervised hours applying this work to patients and clients and had enthusiastic support from my supervisors to take this work into the world. “You are a TRUE healer,” they told me.

I’ve used this on myself to heal from obsessive-compulsive behavior, an eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and the ordinary human experiences of “not good enough,” and my own survival and scarcity patterns.

So, I thought I was fairly invincible . . .

Fast forward to five months ago. I met this amazing man who would soon open my heart wide with his safe and loving presence, his capable and dependable acts of kindness, and his mastery in communication and navigating challenges.

Ramadin initiated our friendship with an offer for bodywork. It is probably my most favorite experience. A massage, even if it’s not so great, is almost always a welcomed offering. So, when he offered, I was incredibly receptive. But right away, I could feel that what he was doing was more than just massage. I could feel the energetic shifts he was creating.

It almost felt too intimate for someone I was just starting a new friendship with, he was so intuitively dialed in to the origins of my wounding, but I could also feel that what he was doing was incredibly helpful. After the first massage, he sent me a message telling me that my legs were “talking” to him. I said “Oh really? What did they say?” “Help!” was the reply.

He asked me “On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the pain in your legs?” “Um, zero.” I responded with a bit of a question in my reply. He was slightly incredulous and shared that, based on what he could feel going on in my legs, he was surprised I could walk. “?!?!?!”

I shared with him my experience of being in casts and how it had caused an immense amount of limitations and pain early on and that I had done a great deal of healing through my practice. He very lovingly shared that while I may have done some deep healing and been able to eliminate the pain, my legs had hypertonicity . . . probably had since I was very young. The lack of pain was not a sign of being healed.

He said “You could meditate and breathe and do all sorts of visualizations, but it’s not going to loosen up the steel cables in your legs. Only hands on work can do that.” He asked me if I was up for the committed journey to heal my legs. I said “YES!”

Ramadin holding my legs.
Image by Candace Smith
Image by Candace Smith

And so it began. Pretty much every week, I get some sort of focused work on my legs. It has been fucking painful. Sometimes, after a session, it feels like I need to learn how to walk again. The “steel cables” are now getting blood flow and it’s creating sensations of pain that feel like I was in a horrible accident. Sometimes I feel immense weakness from misaligned and repetitive movements that left some parts of me petrified and other parts unable to gain strength.

It is incredibly humbling.

And it has helped me to see on a much more tangible, palpable level, why so many people are willing to just deal with the limitations and the stuck patterns in their lives. I have conversations with people who are not living their purpose, who can’t seem to get out of painful realities. I know I can help them, and even offer them a guarantee I can help them, but instead of moving forward, they get to the edge and back down. I know it’s scary, and now I have an even more intimate perspective on it.

The pain can be ignored away sometimes, or at least adjusted to. We tell ourselves, like I had told myself, “this is the best it gets.” It can feel almost overwhelmingly scary, frustrating, daunting and confronting to think that we can have a better reality, but have let ourselves live in something far far below our Noble Purpose, abundance, and unimaginable happiness.

Admitting to ourselves that we could have a better life is hard sometimes – especially if we have a “not good enough” wound. That realization sits right on that wound a pours the salt in generously. The the realization that we have to go in and feel all the feelings in order to heal them and let them go can feel like too much to take on. It’s easier to just sink back into the denial and the old coping mechanisms and hope that someone or something else will offer a quicker, easier relief.

Since I am who I am, having done the dive into my pain and experienced great liberation, my response was immense gratitude to be shown that I could have better mobility, greater vitality, and a more embodied reality. It meant that I was going to have to step out of the blissful ignorance my body had been in, and it meant that I was going to experience deep pain, but I knew it is worth it.

Every massage has been intense, requiring deep breathing, mental focus, sometimes tears. Each massage leaves me exhausted and feeling, as I mentioned before, like I’ve been in some sort of accident. Now I do feel what’s actually happening in my legs. I can feel the contortions of tendon, muscle, joints and bones all pulling in funky ways, and it is painful. But I can also feel the new life coming into my body. As Ramadin works on me, even though it’s painful, there’s a quality to it, just like the Subconscious Success Repatterning, that lets me know it is the kind of pain that is helpful, healthy, and necessary to move into a more elevated reality.

The work I do as a ceremonial guide requires a lot of getting up, kneeling, bending, squatting, walking, carrying . . . and my body had been telling me it wasn’t sure how long it could do this, which I thought was strange since I seldom had any real pain. Now I know my body was trying to tell me that I needed some serious help. I am so grateful I am getting that serious help before my body seized up altogether.

As I was getting my healing and talking about the huge shifts, my clients started to get work from Ramadin as well, and now we are working together to help liberate our community from the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wounding that is keeping them playing a much smaller game than their spirit knows they are here to play.

If you are struggling with pain, in your body, your mind, your spirit, your finances, or your relationships, we would like to support you in breaking free from the mental, emotional, and physical wounding that has you stuck needlessly suffering.

We would be honored in helping you to live a much bigger prayer for yourself. If you would too, we have a special gift for you . . .

:: CLICK HERE :: to receive your special gift.

I wrote an eBook about Subconscious Success Repatterning called “Unlock Your Success Code” and I also recorded a basic Subconscious Success Repatterning guided journey. If you would like to receive both of these, use the link above to get your very own “Spiritual Success Mentoring Kit,” which has the book and the guided journey mp3. And if you’d like to get personal support in breaking free from any physical, emotional or mental pain, you can use the “Live Your Purpose & Prosper” Discovery Session link to fill out an assessment form and schedule some time to talk with us about how we can help you. It’s a no obligation exploration of the programs and packages we have to help you release the pain in your life.

You don’t have to keep fighting alone. We’re here for you.

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