Comfort and Joy – or a Big Pain in the ______??

As we welcome the New Year, it may be helpful to reflect upon the 2019 holidays. 

Did you find yourself striving to live up to unrealistic expectations for yourself and others?  If you experienced a return of, or increase in physical and/or emotional discomfort, you may have neglected to check in with your inner wisdom.  Did you ignore your health and well-being by automatically jumping through hoops that did not serve you?
The following story is about my own self- sabotaging behavior during the holidays:


Recently while attending a festive holiday party, I experienced a pain syndrome I thought was gone forever.   I believe that my experience serves as a metaphor challenging us to remember that “doing the right thing” may not always be right for us, especially during the holiday season.

This party was a large celebration featuring an impressive sit- down dinner prepared by the hostess and her friends. 

There were about a hundred people to serve, and the second course was a lovely vegetable soup.  The hostess was in the kitchen ladling the steaming soup into plastic party bowls, which she very skillfully arranged on large baking sheets.  Each sheet held eight bowls of soup.

I dutifully entered the kitchen hoping to help in some small way…but somehow ended up carrying a huge tray of bowls of soup out into the dining area.  In my effort to “do the right thing” I wobbled around the tables serving soup while trying not to spill anything –  or worse yet, not to drop the entire tray!

I was trying too hard (again).  My neck, shoulders, arms, wrists and hands were clenched and contracted from the effort –  and then…oh no!  –   there it was…….the infamous piriformis pain that had plagued me for so long –  like a knife plunging into my buttocks! 

After decades of forcing myself to always “do the right thing,” my body ultimately rebelled with severe, unrelenting chronic pain.  The return of this monstrous symptom was a huge red flag for me. 

Yet again, I was ignoring myself and my own needs in the effort to please others.  Was it really that important to show others how helpful I can be at the expense of what felt right for me to do or not do in the moment?

My body was shouting NO!

I finally chose to let someone take over for me. When I returned to my seat I was able to chuckle at myself and relax.  In less than a minute all my discomfort was gone.  Nothing was wrong with me. I had not “hurt” myself or triggered a “flare up” of an old injury.

But.…….I had foolishly offered to help (when I really didn’t want to) because I believed it was something I “should do.”

As we begin the new year, I encourage you to practice self kindness, an essential part of your key to healing.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!