What on earth are Pain Sticks? A few years ago, my partner wrote an excellent little book called The Sticking Point. This isn’t an advert for the book but I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post if you are interested in reading it.
A huge part of the pain experienced by people who are approaching death and also for those that love them is emotional pain. This is pain that can’t be seen like a bruise or felt like a broken leg. It is just as harmful and yet because there may not be a physical manifestation it is often ignored or dismissed. But what if you could see emotional pain? What if you carried around a bunch of sticks to reflect that emotional pain you were feeling? Wouldn’t you try and find something to do with the sticks rather than carrying around an ever increasing pile?
Imagine if when you were given bad news, you were handed a pile of sticks; you find out that you are no longer able to do something you once took for granted – more sticks; your pet becomes unwell – sticks. I think you are probably getting the picture.
Emotional pain can magnify the physical symptoms that our body is feeling, so pain caused by disease can feel so much worse if our emotional state is unbalanced. How do we get rid of the Pain Sticks? There are a number of ways, we can share them with someone else who is better placed to deal with them – talking to someone whether a professional or a friend or loved one. We can put them down – practice mindfulness or set aside time to just relax and unwind for a while. We can do something constructive with them, build something that we can leave behind, get creative, use art or music to express ourselves.
There are so many ways to lose the sticks and ease the emotional pain – the first step is recognising that you are carrying them to begin with. Trying to carry all the sticks ourselves is only going to cause us more pain, more discomfort and more upset. We will become overwhelmed by them and eventually the sticks and the emotional pain will take over the things that really matter in our lives.
Have a look at your life – are there sticks? Why not find something to do with them?