FROM Jonathan Lareau‘s Blog:
Don’t fight the pain.
It’s taken me a long time to learn this one. And I have a history of doing or using anything I can to not feel the pain. I know this doesn’t work because when I mask the pain, it never leaves. It just gets stronger, and comes out in other ways.
Pain needs to be acknowledged. And by letting ourselves feel it, it loses its grip, and passes through us much more quickly.
I have certainly not mastered any of these, but underpinning it all is a sense of heightened awareness about the feelings I have, and I’m beginning to recognize where these feelings come from. This is the first step in learning, accepting, and rolling with the changes that life offers up.
I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from his blog post and here are some more thoughts:
I was thinking a lot about boxers, pain and performance in the ring when I read the blog by Jonathan Lareau. In 1992 Oscar De La Hoya was still reeling with the pain of losing his mother to cancer. He was having to perform in the Olympics while navigating the feelings of his loss. To add to his stress, he was often criticized for not being manly enough- for not boxing like a Mexican Warrior.
He won the Gold Medal with all of these things occupying his personal life. It got me wondering about the differences in the way we perform under stress. Then I read Lareau’s blog and realized, it is the boxer, the person who doesn’t fight their pain, strife and discomfort that wins their most difficult matches. It is the boxer and person that can stay present, know what they are feeling and use this awareness to focus and to fuel their performance.
It’s not the actual pain or hurt that provides the fuel, it is the acknowledgment that it exists. That it is ok to feel what one feels. It is human to have pain and to continue moving in the midst of it. It is easier to get the body to do what it needs to do if we aren’t at odds with our pain. The body gets to express everything fully because the mind isn’t trying to convince the body that these things aren’t true.
This is a relieving realization. You don’t need to use emotion, anger, rage or anything of the sort to dig in deep to perform. You do need to be allowed to be yourself to feel what you feel and use your determination and will to have your body perform under duress.