I Can’t Remember if I’m in Pain or Not.

Memory & the “Moment”. The part of our brain that memorises events could never be said to be reliable; we remember the parts we want to remember (and even then those parts might be inaccurate), we give more importance to some memories than to others, and over time, even those can change – ‘bad’ memories taking on a rosy hue! So with all of that going on, how do we “live in the moment”?

Pain. In the case of pain, we know that something’s hurting (maybe physical, perhaps emotional), but to ‘get out of’ the pain-situation and back into the more comfortable-situation of which we have a vague memory, i.e. to relieve the problem, can be tricky. So, our memories tell us that there’s an alternative, a preferable one that stems from the time before the pain.

Making ourselves healthily more uncomfortable. Plenty of people take up yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, tai chi or qigong in an attempt to improve their health; this could simply be because they want to improve posture or coordination, have 

Hoping for the best. At the start of this term, two people came to try out a class, both suffering from different problems – one from recurring migraines, and the other from ME. As usual, I warned both of them to take things very easily, to sit down as often as they wanted, not to push themselves, and that there was no competition involved – in short, to only do as much as they were able. The next day I received emails from both; one had a sore neck (the person who suffers from migraines), and the other had a hip that was uncomfortable.  Both won’t be returning.

If it sounds as though I’m moaning about this, I’m not – the choice was, and is, entirely theirs; I know that I did everything possible to make their experience a positive one. However, what I do know is that, as soon as you start to try to change stuff about yourself, to ‘improve’ yourself, or to take control of your health, things change, and change can often be uncomfortable, and can happen in parts of you that you didn’t anticipate.


So, how DO you do something about it? If you currently have pain somewhere that, as far as you know, has arrived out of nowhere, how do you relieve it (without using painkillers)?  One moment everything was fine (comparatively again), and the next it wasn’t. Nearly everyone wants to get rid of that pain, but as soon as you 

Falling into the old habits. As an example, I have recently had a pain in my upper back somewhere between T2 & T4.  I wasn’t entirely sure why it started, and because it was tiring I wanted nothing to do with it. So I tried all the usual things: I ignored it, I tried gently stretching it, I breathed into it, I put heat on it, I practiced a lot of Alexander Technique, I took it for a steam & sauna, I focused on consciously relaxing it during everyday actions (walking, sitting, etc.), – all to no avail. Finally the penny dropped and I realised that, because of a number of changes that I’d been working on recently (postural etc.), other things were bound to alter.  It then started to get better… and I realised that this had finally happened because I’d accepted it and thereby brought it into the present – I’d allowed it to be, rather than trying to change it.

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James Drewe teaches Taijiquan and Qigong in both London and in Kent. Details of weekly classes can be found on the website, and there are classes for 2-person Taijiquan on one Saturday a month.

CONTACTS: http://www.taiji.co.uk http://www.qigonghealth.co.uk Email: taijiandqigong@gmail.com Phone: 07836-710281 or 020-8883 3308

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