Punching Through Bricks

Dear Audy,

Do you know the secret to punching through bricks like a martial arts magician?

You have to aim past the target.

Or, you could try bashing through things head first, but I notice that she doesn’t stand up at the end!

funny gifs

When you hit something with the intention of hitting something, you don’t actually hit it at full force. I guess some part of our intention knows that we’re stopping there and slows down. If you aim to impact behind the brick, you are more likely to hit through it with full velocity.

What has this got to do with anything?

Aim high, aim long and aim beyond anything you have ever imagined that you could achieve.

This applies to everything.

The brick that I have been trying to punch through lately is that of emotional attachment and subsequent upset.

You see, we don’t actually need to get upset. About anything. It’s not a prerequisite for life as a human being. Sounds like a fantasy, right? It’s not, it’s just on the other side of that brick.

As a person with chronic pain, a component of what I would like to not get upset about is physical pain. I am always in pain. If I were to accept pain as a valid source of emotional turmoil, then I sentence myself to always being upset. Sounds like a pretty silly thing to buy into, really.

People in chronic pain stop expressing their discomfort in the same way as people with acute pain. They stop frowning all the time. They might even smile and laugh despite physical agony. To different degrees, we learn to manage around our pain and we learn to tolerate it in ways other than laying down and screaming.

Of course, most of us still do lay down and scream occasionally. That’s the brick that I want to demolish.

Setting the bottom line at “Nothing needs to cause upset” is actually a more liberating experience than one might think.

Whenever I find myself shifting into negative emotions (fear, anger, sadness, frustration, longing…) I have to stop and admit to myself that the emotion is a product of my thoughts, it is within my power to not follow such thoughts through to feelings, and that to not acknowledge this truth is to practise denial that will only lead to further suffering.

Sometimes, letting unhelpful thoughts slide by unattended can leave me with little else going through my mind at all. Killing the negative emotion can leave a period of feeling quite blank. This doesn’t worry me as it never lasts. The mind is a vast space of endless possibility, if left to its own devices, it will always keep producing thoughts.

I have been dealing with an increase in pain and flaring over the last couple of weeks, which has provided me with a lot of opportunity to practise not getting upset about it. I am doing OK, I might have even made a crack in the brick.

Without getting emotionally crushed and deflated (which was my old response to flares), I find that I am able to better recognise and utilise the little windows of opportunity for being able to push through and still be productive.

I am also able to see more clearly when my mind is producing pain driven thoughts that are akin to the nonsense one sees during a bad fever. I am learning not to let this frustrate me, although I find that a disjointed painbrain can be extremely difficult to quiet. In these instances, I try to neither tame it nor allow it space to run free. Mostly, I just try to breathe evenly until a distraction takes hold, or the flare subsides and I can move forward.

I am working on applying this sort of thinking in all areas of my life. There are so many little things that humans worry about and worry never helped a one of them. Sure, the worry might have eventually led to thinking that solved the problem, but imagine jumping straight to that point without the stress and tears…it’s possible.

All problems eventually pass, whether we cry about them or not.

In my experience, the ones that we don’t cry about tend to whiz by more swiftly.

Managing my mind is absolutely the key to managing my physical pain down to a point that I can be a working member of society once more. Pain is unpredictable and hindering, however a clear mind makes it much easier to take advantage of the moments in which I can still do things that have seemed beyond my limits.

Sometimes the bricks will shatter and sometimes I’ll sulk away with sore knuckles, but I am not going to stop throwing these punches until the success rate is 100% – a sky high goal that probably lies in the magical space, beyond the magical space, beyond what I am aiming for.

Love & Determination,

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