Just over two years ago I sat in a small hut for three days. It was my writing space to get the book started.
I had been writing bits and pieces, but progress was slow until I isolated myself from distractions.
The content was straightforward in many ways because it was based on my work with people: the conversations, the insights, the teaching, the training, the coaching, the practice.
I needed to get it down in a practical format, hoping it would feel like I was in the room with the reader.
Since the hut, I have added, tweaked, edited, removed, read, re-read…
And now it is out in the world. I have received photos of the book and today I picked up and held a copy for the first time. It took a few minutes to open the envelope.
30 years in a book.
The purpose of the book, Understand and overcome your chronic pain, is to share the insights, skills and strategies to help people firstly understand their pain (key first step — the eightfold path to easing one’s suffering begins with realistic view) and circumstances, and then move onto the practical ways they can shape a positive future.
It has to be about living your best life now. In this moment. The only moment.
Not waiting for some imaginary moment when certain things are in place or have changed–the future is just a thought.
Because you can.
Because it matters.
The traditional way of focusing on the pain, the area that hurts and trying to treat or fix it has proved to be ineffective in sustainably changing a person’s life for the better. The stats tell that story clearly.
Society needs to update the thinking, beliefs and models in order to address this massive issue and cause of suffering.
My aim is for the book to play a role in this transformation.
Turning the model on its head
What’s the plan then? How can you help? This is what people ask me.
Instead of waiting for an imagined time, you live now in the best way that you can, using the skills and strategies, with your existing strengths.
This is in the knowledge that things are ever-changing.
You have a positive history and have been doing your best with the resources available to you so far.
What can you add to them? And create new habits and patterns to follow a path towards your picture of success, from where you are right now.
The second way I turn the model on its head is by encouraging you to focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.
What do you want?
“I want to be without this pain”, many say.
I understand this, but the focus is on having pain. What you focus on governs how you feel.
What do you want?
What kind of life do you want?
This must be clear in your mind, and takes thought and commitment.
What must you believe, be thinking and doing to follow a path in that direction?
Remember that this is an on-going process of living well, using daily skills.
Overcoming chronic pain (this must be defined individually) is akin to learning, as you would a language or musical instrument. It is a route of mastery, driven by habits of thought and action that come together.
Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.
Don’t think of elephants. Exactly.
Key point: live your best life now, knowing it is ever-changing, being clear on where you are trying to go (your picture of success), and take the next step using your skills and strategies. Then, when you need to manage a challenging moment, you have skills for this as well.
pain can and does change
No moment is the same.
No experience can be the same.
This is the truth of impermanence that makes life possible.
Beware telling yourself and others that things ‘are the same’. This is impossible.
Despite how it may feel and how convincing your story is in your thinking.
Examining your own experience soon shows you the dynamic nature of pain and all experiences.
Both the insight and acknowledgement of impermanence gives great hope and helps you focus on the next best decision.
it is not easy, but it is possible
This is challenging work for many reasons, mainly because of its importance to you and the required shift in thinking about pain.
The stuckness with chronic pain is largely driven by a stuckness in beliefs.
That can be hard to believe when the existing model focuses on the body tissues as a cause of pain. Then you learn that the body tissues do not have the ability to generate pain, or any experience.
Yes, you feel it there, but it is not generated there. Much like a film on the cinema appears on the screen, but it is not being generated there.
You know what pain feels like, but few people know why, and even fewer what to do. This is why chronic pain remains the biggest global health burden, and why we must update society’s thinking.
The book is another step in that direction.
Helping people to understand and overcome chronic pain, because it is possible, it is do-able, with guidance, encouragement and support. This is the role of the Pain Coach and the basis of the book.
Maybe it is for you, maybe it is for a loved one or maybe you work with people who suffer chronic pain.
Most of us will suffer come kind of chronic pain at some point, yet it is so poorly understood and treated in silos or based on outdated thinking. This must change.
You are part of the change for the better.
You can order your copy here.
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